Nayland’s diverse dancing talent gets to put on a show

 <i>videographer: Jana Poleglase and Duncan McKinlay</i>

Last Monday was the Nayland’s Dance Showcase. Although scaled back in terms of audience, it was big on talent and variety. There were 40 students that took part in the showcase, across 12 different acts. There were a range of dance genres, including Bollywood, jive, contemporary, gumboot, musical theatre and kapa haka.

The purpose of the showcase was for senior Dance and Ngā Toi students to be able to achieve their major performance credits for the year. It was also a chance for junior dance students to be onstage, performing to a live audience, and building up their confidence, as  for many of them, it was their first time ever onstage. It was also an opportunity for students to showcase their many talents to their families and friends.

Due to  Level 2 restrictions, the showcase could not be run as openly as usual. For the evening show, each student was only able to invite along one person to support them in the audience. This was the easiest way to allow each student to be represented while keeping numbers under 100 people. 

Jana Polglase, who has recently joined the staff this term as Nayland’s new dance teacher, said that this change made them decide to have an open rehearsal leading up to the showcase.

“Because of these restrictions, we decided at the last minute to put on an extra performance at lunchtime at school for the staff and students who weren’t able to come in the evening,” Ms Polglase said. “This was a nice dress rehearsal for the students and a great opportunity for staff to view the performances that the dance students had been working so hard towards.”

Another special facet of this year’s performance was the inclusion of the Ngā Toi class.

“I believe this was the first time that the Ngā Toi class has been involved in a dance showcase,” Ms Polglase said. “It just seemed like the perfect opportunity to showcase the works of the Māori Performing Arts class alongside our dance classes. We even had students in both groups!”

Year 13 student Ella O’Donohue performed at the event. As well as being happy with the 10 credits she got towards her NCEA Level 3 qualification, she enjoyed the experience of doing it in front of an audience.

“It is better that way. It’s gives more adrenaline and makes us dance that much better as well, which is cooler.”

While she enjoyed herself, Ella did admit to some nerve-wracking moments due to the amount of costume changes during the 50 minute show.

“We had a costume change between every dance and there wasn’t a lot of time between some dances. We were all wearing jazz shoes but there was only one pair in each size so we had to share them with other dancers.” This led to some frantic shoe swapping between numbers.

Ms Polglase said that after a disruptive year, it was great for students to have the opportunity to express themselves onstage again.

“A personal highlight for me would have been the joy that the students got out of being back on stage (or on stage for the first time!) With so many cancelled events this year, we were very grateful that we were able to put on some sort of a showcase and allow the students to do what they love in front of family and friends. All our students have worked incredibly hard this term to get these performances ready for a public audience and they all did themselves very proud on stage.”

By Jana Polglase and Duncan McKinlay