Triple Fantasy - Power of dance roused emotions

THE discipline of dance met powerful physicality in a Sidmouth performance that roused emotions only real talent can touch this week. BROWSE AND ORDER MORE PICTYURES FROM THE TRIPLE FANTASY SHOW >>>BROWSE AND ORDER MORE PICTURE FROM THE TRIPLE FANSTASY SHOW

THE discipline of dance met powerful physicality in a Sidmouth performance that roused emotions only real talent can touch this week.

Triple Fantasy - Sun, Moon and Stars, enchanted and entertained me on Tuesday, but it was Francesca Aquilina and Tim Gale's Pas de Deux, Written in the Stars, that held me spellbound.

There was something primal about their barefoot dance, choreographed by Lucie-Grace Welsman, that made witnessing it surprisingly emotional. Although this poignant piece made the biggest impression, it was one of a host of sparkling offerings from Sidmouth Ballet School and East Devon Dance - the only thing slightly lacklustre about the evening was the audience.

It was great to see the boys opening the show for the first time, Blame it on the Boogie was a lively number with cartwheels among the stunts which featured the acrobatic Fynn De Sousa walking across the stage on his hands.

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The cuties bumbled on to stage as bees and flower girls with delightful costumes, and some lovely ballet from the primary class with Flowers.

Hot Hot Hot! Picked up the party vibe where the boys had left off, with slick timing in this modern dance with Kitty Harrison among those to have a particularly impressive stage presence.

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Beautiful pastel yellow costumes and impressive discipline from the Grade One ballet dancers in Pastorale D'ete before the primary tap tinies ambled on for a change of tone with The Sun has Got his Hat On in which use of the deckchair prop made for an original piece, choreographed by Rebecca Knight.

The contrast couldn't have been greater as the Grade Five students then performed a mellow, yet rhythmic, ballet with excellent poise and timing and choreography that really tied in the lyrics as the girls looked towards the sun. The projected backdrop worked wonderfully here and in the following performance, Summer Holiday - in which a Triple Fantasy bus motored along - a great touch!

With red shoes that Dorothy would envy, Grade One Modern girls performed an energetic Dancing Shoes before a wistful Aint No Sunshine from the Grade Eight Ballet students, with an elegant piece of choreography by Cassie Hill.

There were some fantastic funky modern moves in Sundown, with the dancers a swathing sea of gold, in a rhythmic performance imaginatively choreographed.

Act two opened with a breathtaking piece of choreography by Lucie-Grace, in a dance in which classic tutus were given a modern black twist reflecting the marrying of classical, modern and Irish influences in this striking performance. These Grade Six Ballet students showed strength and control as they held positions.

Under the Moon of Love was cheeky in the nonchalance that often comes over in tap, it was smooth, slick and fun, even more so because of the great spotty dresses.

The senior students clearly relished the change in tempo in Moon River, as floaty costumes were thrown off for a brilliant energetic dance, which was a particular hit with the audience. Particularly strong, vibrant performances by Grace Fisher and Tim Gale and a fantastic feat by Grace as she was swung, horizontally around Tom Beasley.

The dancers in Moonlight Serenade had a striking stage presence in their red and white dresses with this dramatic ballet piece.

Oliver Harris easily held his own as the only boy in Till the Dawn with a particularly energetic performance.

The Intermediate Ballet students were the picture of elegance as they danced en pointe in Moonlight Sonata, demonstrating a balance of energy and control.

In suitably smoochy velour trousers, the jazz dancers in Moondance made full use of the available space and dramatic lighting enhanced the impact of this strong performance.

With canes and top hats, Fly me to the Moon was everything that is great about tap, suave and charismatic with dancers perfectly in synch.

Serene and delicate, Eine Klein Nachtmusic was made even more enchanting by the girls' smiles.

The magic of the Moulin Rouge was captured by the fantastic costumes, striking lighting and, above all, the rhythm and drama of the Grade Five Modern students' performance.

The third act opened with the feel of a teen movie with the energetic Hanging on a Star by the senior jazz students, this was followed by the celestial Dream Star, in which the girls' dresses were as beautiful and flowing as their movements.

Starlight was strong and uplifting, with great timing and energy and imaginative choreography, in stunning red dresses and tiaras with a great backdrop the grade four ballet students were equally impressive.

She's like a Star was wonderfully animated and once again the projected backdrop came into its own, in this dizzy well thought out number.

Star Wars lent itself perfectly to ballet, and the audience was mesmerised as the dramatic contrasts within this music were mirrored by the movements of the foundation ballet students.

With jilted movements and imposing masks the mannequin like dancers in Star Girl made a bold impact, catching the audience out when they 'died' with the music, only to jerk back to life. Glow in the accessories and wigs worked to great effect in this performance by Intermediate tap students.

After the beautiful Written in the Stars came the rousing Stars and Stripes, followed by the angelic voice of Hannah Thompson who injected real feeling into Shooting Star and demonstrated excellent voice control as she sang while walking down the centre aisle.

Blathnaid McCullagh stood out in the delightful Earth Jig, it would have been lovely if she had greater opportunity for a solo within this dance.

Superstar was a suitably uplifting finale for a frenetic show, in which fast costume changes, fantastic effects and, above all, exceptional dancing, met the high expectations of Triple Fantasy audiences.

The backstage helpers deserve medals for organising the dancers, especially the youngest performers, and preparing them for each number - Liz Morris and Carole Davies deserve a special mention.

It is a shame that the strongest performers don't get more opportunity for solos, but cramming so many students into the evening's line-up while ensuring a great variety of dance must be a near-impossible task. At times the stage looked a little crowded, but again, this is probably the result of ensuring that all students were given as much stage-time as possible.

Costumes were superb and lighting and effects were well -judged with the temptation to overuse the technology available with the projected backdrop wisely resisted.

The Sun, Moon and Stars theme lent itself perfectly to a packed programme of colour and contrast in which the winning Triple Fantasy formula triumphed again.

Emma Silverthorne



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