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13 March 2014

Review of Vorsprung

Vorsprung durch Dance

This unique collaboration between the German and Dance departments, featuring 115 performers, examined the history of the Germany through the 20thCentury, through the medium of dance and narration.  Former Head Girl, Laura Meaton, herself pursuing a performing arts degree, came back to watch the show and wrote the following review:

 ‘The show burst into life with ‘Wilkommen’ and ‘Mein Herr’ from Cabaret, dance numbers that exploded with colour and snappy choreography worthy of a West End audience. This was a perfect introduction as the standard of performance was sustaine, if not increased throughout the show.  We were taken on an emotional journey through the turbulent history of Germany, helped by the extremely competent narrative performance of Bethan who played Elke, an ex Weimar Cabaret Dancer, looking back on her experiences.  She gave a very convincing and mature portrayal and her descriptions helped set the tone for the dance pieces that followed, which was helpful as they were so varied!  There were also fantastic acting performances from a group of Year 8 girls who wrote and performed a scene about Kristallnachtwhich was both informative and heartbreaking to watch.

‘Luckily there were very happy dance numbers throughout the show, otherwise we would have been in tears because, as the subject matter suggests, the theme was serious and very sad at points.  Both ‘Beatle Mania’ and ‘Freedom’ were an absolute joy to watch and the happiness onstage spread throughout the audience, especially when the dancers came up the stairs and danced around us, I was even high-fived by the brilliant vice dance captain. The two tap numbers were also a treat; who doesn’t love an army of tap dancers!? It’s lovely to see how many talented tappers there are at the school now, as it is always so exciting to watch.

‘One of the highlights of the evening was ‘Arbeit macht frei’an incredibly accomplished piece of contemporary dance from Year 11.  It depicted the Jewish community at the end of the war and was harrowingly beautiful, a dance worthy of a contemporary dance theatre in London.  This was accompanied by Charlotte and Mathew, both on the violin, whose impressive performances really added a new dimension to the number.   Another highlight were the two numbers dedicated to Audi (who sponsored the show) that looked as if they could have been taken straight from the opening ceremony of the Olympics. The first number was dramatic and daring, as the girls used hoops to create the Audi symbol and from there performed tricks that had me on the edge of my seat! The second number ‘Automotion’ was absolutely genius in its use of tyres and if Audi do not use this as their new advert they really are missing a trick! It was cheeky and innovative and had the audience laughing from beginning to end at the ingenuity of it all.

‘A special mention to both vocalists, Connie and Allegra, who sang Mein Herr and Cabaret respectively.  Both girls sang beautifully and gave entertaining and engaging performances. Also to Dan, the sole male performer in the show, whose role as the emcee was wonderfully charismatic and cheeky.   The choreography by Ms. Parry, Miss Jenkins, Ms. Pritchard and senior girls, was astounding and Frau Smail’s production skills are as impressive and inspirational as her teaching.

‘The entire cast handled very difficult themes and emotions with maturity and grace showing us that they, like their audience, understood the importance of learning from the past. So when Elke asked “Had we learnt nothing at all?”, unlike those of whom she spoke, the audience could certainly reply with a unanimous‘yes’; we had indeed learnt something from this very talented cast.  That the standard of dance, choreography, music and performance at HMSG might never have been higher.’