The Playhouse, Canberra Theatre Centre – Sunday 2nd May 2021.
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
The annual RAD Galas provide the opportunity for dance schools teaching the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus to showcase their student’s accomplishments to an audience beyond the dance studio environment.
This year’s gala had particular significance because it was celebrating 100 years since the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) was established. The first ACT/ Riverina RAD gala was held in 1997, and during her opening remarks Chairperson, Lisa Clark, displaying a program from that event, noted that three of the dance studios which participated in the original presentation, were also participating in this performance.
|"Transylvania Mania" - Legs Performing Arts|
It was therefore appropriate that these three schools were given the privilege of opening and closing the program with the Lisa Clarke Dance Centre getting the gala off to an impressive start with a colourful, fast-moving festive offering entitled “Someone in the Crowd”, choreographed by Rikayla Martin. The Kim Harvey School of Dance provided the perfect finale with their brilliantly conceived and danced, whimsical classical ballet piece, choreographed by Kim Harvey and Simone Dawson entitled “Un Peu Amusant”, while Legs Performing Arts opened the second act with a thrilling acrobatic presentation by its Acro Team
|"ScheiBe" - Canberra Festival Ballet School|
Among the other Canberra dance schools participating in the non-stop succession of twenty-three spectacular ensemble items covering a variety of genres including ballet, Broadway, contemporary and character, were Canberra Festival Ballet School, Classical Ballet Centre, GDance Academy, MAKS Ballet studios, Vieira School of Dance Excellence, Jayz Dance Company, and Monaro Dance Centre, as well as Cowra Dance Factory, Eden Dance Academy and from Sydney, KRS Dance.
|"Through the Looking Glass" - Classical Ballet Centre Canberra|
Throughout, the costuming was colourful, often quite spectacular, with each individual dancer meticulously groomed, well-rehearsed and confident, obviously keen the represent their school to the best of their abilities.
|"Mazurka" - Canberra Festival Ballet School|
Particularly impressive was the inventiveness and sophistication of the choreography, even for the junior presentations, the obvious efficiency of the stage management, and the high standard of technical support with excellent sound and evocative lighting enhancing each item, ensuring that this year’s celebratory gala not only did justice to the important event it was commemorating, but also contributed a memorable highlight to the Ausdance ACT 2021 Australian Dance Week celebrations.
All images by ES Fotografi