Academy show was one of best ever

Whiteleys Academy of Perfiorming Arts: Festival of Dance XV, Victoria Theatre

By Julia Anderson

It seems impossible to say this given Whiteleys’ consistently high standards but this show must surely have been one of the best ever.

Some familiar faces of successful graduates were missed but there are new ones to watch, thanks to the excellent teachers and choreographers who chose the perfect music to show off their students’ strengths at all levels and in all dance styles from lyrical classical ballet on point to jazz, acro, street, contemporary and musical theatre.

Again it was a slickly produced, totally professional show, with dozens of colourful costume changes and spot-on backstage support.

The simple star-studded backdrop had classy transparent drapes which were beautifully lit to capture the mood of the dance on stage.

With 38 different items on the programme and hundreds of dancers from the tiniest tots to the most senior where does one start?

Ribbons characterised the opening numbers, wielded with grace and dexterity.

Some acrobatics, then raindrops, April showers and umbrellas leading to a jungle theme inspired the dances that followed, with the highlights for me being He Lives in You and Will Young’s Jealousy.

The boys shone in Mack the Knife with the girls executing the excellent Drummer Boy choreography with precision and flair. A witty, energetic gospel -themed finale with some wonderfully sexy swaying nuns brought the show to a triumphant close.