Review: Burnley College Creative Arts Dance showcase is a triumph
A visually stunning and unique performance, focusing on the barbarity of capturing killer whales to display them at theme parks around the world, formed the centre piece of this superb show.
The audience was mesmerised as the young dancers from Burnley College performed the heartbreaking scenes of the whales as they are captured and then made to perform tricks in captivity for thrill seeking holidaymakers.
The group, Ilona Browne, Gregor McIntosh, Emily Plum, Emelia Nurse and Luke Whipp, interpreted their message through movement, dance and the spoken word on a specially designed set that was cut with real footage of the creatures being made to perform.
The performance included images of newspaper cuttings on a large screen depicting accidents and fatalities involving the creatures and their trainers.
The students are so passionate about their cause they have adopted a whale called Holly through the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Charity.
Their passion and devotion to the cause was clear to see in this highly charged and moving performance. It was both enjoyable and thought provoking in the extreme.
But this is what I have come to expect from these highly talented students after four years of being lucky enough to watch these dance showcases thanks to my daughter, Jenny who, up until she left last year to pursue a university degree, was part of.
The show brings together students from across a range of dance and performing arts courses to showcase the work they have done throughout the year.
A series of around 30 different performances seamlessly woven together presented the audience with almost every dance style imaginable, from free style and modern to hip hop, jazz, tap 1950s rock 'n ' roll.
To see the range of talent and skill on display from these youngsters was astonishing.
Without exception each and every performer gave their all to the show and it was clear to see they have spent many hours perfecting their routines. I wanted to congratulate them all individually after the show.
And they certainly do not shy away from controversial topics either. The subjects of mental health, dementia, freedom of speech and racism were all covered in the performances.
I particularly enjoyed Ilona Browne's performance of Voiceless which she choregraphed herself focusing on how we take freedom of speech for granted.
Talented and disciplined, Ilona performed superbly throughout the entire showcase.
First year performer Stephen Whitaker also caught my eye as he appeared in almost every segment of the show.
He moved effortlessly in a range of dance styles and his enthusiasm and sheer energy filled the stage.
Imagine a dancer with the power of the late great Gene Kelly coupled with the grace and elegance of another legend, Fred Astaire, and you have Stephen.
The audience consists mainly of family, friends and supporters of the performers and the tickets are free.
Students and tutors ask for a donation of what people think the performance was worth.
I think next year they should promote it more so that a wider audience can see the fledging talent that Burnley has to offer.
Congratulations to all the performers and tutors Sammy Allen and Poppy Olah.
The rest of the performers were: Jade Felipes, Lucy Kelly, Ellie Pepper, Nicolas Pinches, Emily Plum, Emily Reynolds, Courtney Washington, Chloe Bond, Katie Lister, Abigail Mann, Jenny Gilmour, Emily Morris, Jenni-Lea Finch, Samina Syed,