Nine regional schools, 137 excited pupils, four professional dance practitioners and a team of dedicated teachers descended on Cranleigh on February 22nd 2018 for a weekend of amazing dance workshops and performances in the first ever BSME – British Schools in the Middle East Dance Invitational.
The event was themed ‘Seen and Unseen, celebrating in particular the importance of the ‘unseen’ elements that dance and the performing arts bring to young people. Head of Dance, Natassja Williams explains: “Our theme was chosen carefully. I believe a great deal of its power lies in the reminder that the ‘unseen’ element of the creative process is at least as significant as the ‘seen’. For an audience, the ‘seen’ part of a performance is what happens on stage. However, it is when young people are in the process of developing a dance that they go through the most meaningful stages of their artistic journey – both individually and as a group. It is this journey that really helps them think about and respond to the world around them with empathy, tolerance and insight.”
Following a warm up session on Thursday evening, pupils attended a full day of workshops on Friday with some extraordinary professional dance instructors/ choreographers (including Nader Musharbash who has worked with world-famous artists such as Rita Ora and Beyoncé!) who exposed them to a range of dance styles, techniques and approaches. They were then able to put their questions to the professionals in an open Q&A session. The brochure includes biographies of each practitioner as well as a profile of each school dance team who attended.
Saturday morning focused on rehearsals before the public show which saw the Auditorium full and the atmosphere electric.
Rehearsals have been captured in this short film which opened the ‘Seen and Unseen’ Show. It was produced by Year 9 Cranleigh students Beatrice and Joshua.