Theatre Review: 022 Dance @ The Regent

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After an enforced two-year break, the area’s Community Dance groups are back to strut their stuff at The Regent as part of 022 Dance.

With participants from the tiniest tots to those of a riper age, the audience was mesmerised and engaged by a production that showcased the pleasure that can be derived from a wide range of different dance genres.

Opened in spectacular style by local choreographer Caroline Sherratt with a piece that involved fire and fireworks, Sherratt compered the various acts in fine fashion.

The opening act was Ray of Light presented by the Garland and Pearce School of Dance and Performing Arts. The piece – choreographed by Annell Pearce and Becky Garland – was a lively production that allowed the dancers to express their joy at being allowed to prepare and perform to an audience again.

This was followed by the pupils of St Werburgh’s C E Primary School who performed excerpts from Mary Poppins. With choreography by Hayley Bloor, the cast looked resplendent as mini Dick Van Dykes and gave a cute performance that whetted the appetite to see the whole musical.

Next up were students of St John Fisher Catholic College. Their piece – with choreography by Rebecca Jones – was hauntingly beautiful as it portrayed how we should be comfortable in our own skin and be able to support each other through difficult times.

Balleton by Miss Phebe is a community group that was established during the pandemic. With Phebe Smith choreographing, the group performed Love Story – a balletic act that captivated the audience. The dancers proved that you do not have to be of a tender age to portray the grace and beauty of classical ballet.

TPS Dance Company presented Love Is All Around which aimed to celebrate the joy and happiness that loving yourself and others can bring. This was a thought-provoking piece that had been largely choreographed by the students themselves.

Rooftop Studios Performing Arts put on a fabulously entertaining piece. Antonia Hayley Bennett, Georgia Twigg and Verity Caddy were the inspiration behind Re-United which was an explosion of joy that included ballet, jazz, lyrical and street dance. All parts were beautifully synchronised with the dancers wearing well-designed costumes. The performers of the street dance section showed all the attitude required while the younger performers did their choreographers proud. They stole the show in their white costumes and delivered a routine that would not have looked out of place in the best of musical theatre.

The show was closed in ebullient fashion by the Sandy Lane Dancers who brought all of the sass and steaminess of Latin America to the stage. With choreography shared by Olivia Corden, Georgia Malaburn and Rebecca Heath, the performance of the dancers lived up to its title of Celebrate the Beat and sent the audience home with broad smiles on their faces.

All performers – not forgetting the choreographers and costume designers – should be proud of their achievements. They showed how pleasure and enjoyment can be conveyed through the medium of dance both as a participant and as a member of the audience. This was a magical evening that was well-received by all those in attendance. It deserves to be seen.

022 Dance continues to January 29th with a different cast of performers each night. For ticket details contact atgtickets.com/stoke or 0844 871 7615