Triple Fantasy- behind the scenes

PUBLISHED: 17:09 29 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:51 18 June 2010

AS first night nerves approach and demanding dance practices take hold, you would think the 350 Triple Fantasy dancers may be feeling a little tired. But when I visited some of the talented youngsters this week, their energy and passion encapsulated the r

AS first night nerves approach and demanding dance practices take hold, you would think the 350 Triple Fantasy dancers may be feeling a little tired.

But when I visited some of the talented youngsters this week, their energy and passion encapsulated the room.

The Sidmouth Ballet School and East Devon Dance students have been learning their routines for the two week extravaganza since October, but there is no sign of lacklustre in rehearsals.

Upbeat, chatty and lively dancers bounce around the room in between dances and whatever nerves they may be feeling, are shadowed by excitement.

Jazz and modern dancer Keira O'Connor, 15, will be performing in her second show with the school.

"I'm feeling quite confident about this one as I'm more experienced. I'm a bit nervous but quite excited about it."

More than 800 costumes, some ordered from a specialist company in America, have now been distributed to the cast and this had made the upcoming show feel even more real.

Keira added: "Our costumes are really cool. I'm wearing a strappy top with fluorescent parts on it. I'm looking forward to practicing in it."

For Francesca Aquilina, 18, this will be her last show with the dance school before preparing to move to Oxford University where she will study medicine.

"I find all the shows brilliant but this is extra special because it is my last one- it adds a special flavour to it."

The enthusiastic dancer, who has been with the dance school since she was 11, admits it will be upsetting but she hopes to go out with a bang.

"I will be performing a duet with my dance partner Tim. Rehearsals are going well and we have got some really good dancers. I'm very excited and am feeling confident."

Tim Gale, 16, Francesca's dance partner, is not only contending with school lessons and rehearsals but this week, he also auditioned for a place at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire.

"I was feeling quite anxious at the audition and the competition was really good but hopefully I will find out in the next few days if I have a place."

In the meantime, Tim has his work cut out with rehearsals for the four dances he will be performing in.

"I'm really excited and the choreography is very exciting and exhilarating to do. "Because it goes on for so long everyone's really good friends. My family are proud and they are looking forward to the show."

Seasoned dancer Amelia Bolan, 22, has been dancing with the school since she was three and this year was asked to choreograph a dance for her grade 6 modern class.

"It's going very well so far but it's coming round so quickly! It was great choreographing a dance-a nice change.

"It's really fun leading up to the shows and when you actually do them, but it's so sad when it's over."

Although this will be Amelia's tenth Triple Fantasy show, she admits she will never get rid of the nerves.

"I find when I'm literally in the blackout on the stage that's when I get nervous. For a second I can't remember what the dance moves are but by the time the lights come on I've remembered."

But the "buzz" of performing in front of full audiences makes it all worthwhile for Amelia.

"It makes it more exciting when the audience are really enthusiastic and join it. It's lovely when, at the end of the dance everyone claps and cheers. It's such a buzz."

Triple Fantasy - Sun, Moon and Stars, opens at the Manor Pavilion on Monday, April 27 and runs until Saturday, May 9.

Tickets are available from the Manor Pavilion Box office call (01395) 514413.


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