REVIEW: UCLU Dance Society 24 Hour Show

The Tab gets in touch with its inner rhythm to review the Dance Society’s 24 hour show!

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Sunday night. That depressing time of the week when you know you have to go back to classes the next day. Most Sunday nights I want nothing more than to sit watching Downton Abbey pretending that Mondays don’t exist, but with no television license what better way is there to escape reality than with a bit of creativity. So I found myself, at 7.30pm on a Sunday evening, sitting in the Jeremy Bentham Room, watching the UCLU Dance Society’s 24-hour dance show, and boy did it put a smile on my face.

From hip hop to tap, Latin to contemporary the night had a little something for everyone, and from the comfort of my front row ‘VIP’ sofa it felt like it was all for me.

Beautiful Liar
Photography by Luke Penketh

The work for the evening had started on Saturday morning, when each of the twelve choreographers received their three songs, of which they had to choose one. The rest of Saturday and Sunday was spent with the dancers, simultaneously choreographing and teaching the routines ready for Sunday evening’s performance. It was evident how much effort and dedication had been put into the show, and the intensity of the preparation only aided in making the night so enjoyable and fun to watch.

Each of the dances lasted around three minutes in length, and were split into two blocks of six, separated by a ten minute interval during which the audience could get some refreshments.  But enough about the atmosphere, what about the dancing?

The first dance was set to the song ‘Stars’, and provided a cheeky and enthusiastic start to the show. Nerves were a little issue when one of the dancers forgot some of the moves near the end of the song, but with audience encouragement this was soon forgiven and still managed to get some heads nodding to the beat. ‘Carry Me Home’ provided some quirkiness to the night, and the all-girl line up held their nerves in well with broad smiles and smooth movement. This was followed by some well received belly dancing to the song ‘Beautiful Liar’, it really was quite mesmerising to watch. One of my personal favourites was ‘Wings’. The dance was punchy and energetic, and the girls appeared quite polished for the short space of time they had been rehearsing for. The first piece of contemporary dancing came towards the end of the half, slowing the pace slightly. With just two performers on stage, a touch of elegance was instantly added to the night. The final dance of the half was another of my favourites. ‘Boys and Girls’ was another energetic and lively performance, full of smiles and attitude. The girls were incredibly polished and perfectly in synch. It really was a pleasure to watch.

Thinking About You
Photography by Luke Penketh

After a quick drink and a chat in the interval, the second half started with a bang…or should I say pop? The body popping to ‘Thinking About You’ was smooth yet sharp. I could almost feel the rhythm pulsing from the performers, who by now had started to relax and let the adrenalin carry them through.

Another crowd favourite was ‘Caliente’, a Latin piece that smouldered and adequately sexed up the evening.

‘We Run This’ followed, and yet again this group of girls executed their choreography almost flawlessly. I was pleasantly surprised to see a tap number next, which was perfectly suited to the song choice of ‘I Feel Good’. By this point I was tapping my feet and doing everything I could to try and stay seated, despite the urge to get up and join in. More street dance followed in the shape of one of my other favourites, ‘Ball So Hard’. The two guys performing brought buckets of attitude on stage, and were also really quite funny. The final song, ‘The Alphabeat’, saw another group of girls who were faultless in synchronicity and style, and ended the show on a real high.

One final boogie and then the night was over, and I found myself leaving with a smile on my face and a spring in my step! In such a short preparation and rehearsal time these performers had managed to not only choreograph dance numbers, but teach them to their dancers and perform them with very few breaks. However the night was not just about the dancing. In fact, what made the night so special was that it was all being done in aid of UCL Marrow, a branch of charity Anthony Nolan that campaigns to increase student and public awareness for blood cancer and bone marrow donors. It added an incredible poignancy to the night and made the great effort of everybody involved all the more worthwhile.
To find out more about UCL Marrow, search for their page on Facebook, or go to www.anthonynolan.org.uk

Choreographers
Stars – Walton Li
Carry Me Home – Abi Smith
Beautiful Liar – Anshita Khandelwal
Wings – Louise Wandsworth
Wait it Out – Aria Antoniadou & Katherine Belessiotis
Boys and Girls – Georgia Bowker-Brady
Thinking About You – Martin Siu
Caliente – Pedram Aryan
We Run This – Erika Teichert
I Feel Good – Sophie Paulus
Ball So Hard – Daniel Ratnaraj & Jonathan JK Kha
The Alphabeat – Chiara Petrosellini