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It’s time for dancers to Move It

move it

After 10 years based at Olympia, Move It, the UK’s biggest annual dance event, relocates to Excel London for its three-day residency, from March 18 to 20.

Move It caters for anyone with an interest in dance, but for those wishing to make dance their profession it is a fantastic resource. Providing unparalleled access to professionals across the industry’s expanse of disciplines, Move It encompasses the breadth of the UK’s dance landscape under one roof. The event is vast and the range of classes, seminars and performances on offer is staggering. Many of these require advance booking, so planning ahead of your visit is advisable. Here’s an overview of this year’s highlights for students, graduates and teachers.

Students

Move It's main stage. Photo: Red Rabbit
Move It’s main stage. Photo: Red Rabbit

With a presence from 35 UK colleges, including Northern School of Contemporary Dance, the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the Royal Academy of Dance and Italia Conti Arts Centre, Move It is a great place for young dancers to speak to teachers and representatives from the schools, watch their current students in action and get a sense of what the schools offer from their courses.

The Move It Pro seminar programme is targeted at pre-vocational students and their parents. Getting Into Dance College (March 18) will be an invaluable opportunity to hear schools talking about the audition process and what they look for in a candidate. Other seminars to look out for are Life in the West End and Audition With Confidence, both taking place on Friday afternoon. After speaking to the schools’ representatives at the exhibition’s various stands, there’s an opportunity to watch performances from the current students at the Showcase Theatre.

Over the weekend, students can work their way across the spectrum of styles, with under-16s, beginners and intermediate classes in ballet, contact improvisation, hip hop, ballroom, popping, boogaloo, contemporary release, ballet repertoire, musical theatre and everything in-between.

Graduates

Got to Dance winner Lukas McFarlane performing at the event in 2015. Photo: Jon Applegate
Got to Dance winner Lukas McFarlane performing at the event in 2015. Photo: Jon Applegate

Graduates should look out for the seminars offering career and audition guidance. On Friday, Flawless and Hofesh Shechter Company are hosting audition-style masterclasses, as well as a seminar on auditions and how to get the best of them.

On Saturday and Sunday there are two graduate seminars: Freelance Dance Success and Get Your Dream Career, delivered by a panel of dance entrepreneurs.

Professional level masterclasses are on offer from Phoenix Dance Theatre and English National Ballet’s James Streeter. For breakdancers, there’s an opportunity to learn how to remain injury-free with Essential Conditioning for Breakers, led by Project Breakalign.

Upscaling your skill set is an important part of increasing your employability, so aim for classes that are outside your comfort zone. Additional techniques and tricks can set you apart from the competition. So whether it’s brushing up on your performance skills with some acting or singing classes, learning some aerial skills or getting familiar with ballroom styles, versatility is a key weapon in the audition room and a taster class at Move It is a great place to start building extra skills and trying out new styles.

A popular add-on skill for many professional dancers is aerial, so find some time to catch the aerial performances from Upswing, My Aerial Home and Natalie James on the main stage. There are ballroom masterclasses on offer from Thomas Michael Voss and Strictly Come Dancing professionals Karen and Kevin Clifton. Rarely taught on vocational dance courses, ballroom is a skill that crops up in auditions from time to time, and in an industry where competition is fierce, you need to be prepared. Every additional skill could push you closer to landing that dream job.

Teachers

Teachers should head to the Council for Dance Education and Training dance teachers hub, where they can meet representatives from the various dance awarding organisations and see dance syllabuses in action with interactive talks, presentations and demonstrations.

There’s a seminar for teachers and studio managers entitled Make Your Dance Studio Stand Out on Friday, and on Sunday Darcey Bussell will lead a teacher-focused seminar introducing her new Diverse Dance Mix programme.

Students, graduates and teachers should all head to Friday’s Optimise Your Training and Performance seminar, presented by One Dance UK and the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science. The workshop will offer vital advise on how small changes in your practice can improve your technique, performance, teaching and longevity in dance. Expert speakers include Robert Parker, artistic director of Elmhurst School for Dance and former Birmingham Royal Ballet principal, and Sharon Watson, artistic director of Phoenix Dance Theatre.

The main stage will play host to two mass movement classes this year. For those wanting to get ahead of the crowd, on Saturday, the Akram Khan Company will be teaching the choreography for this year’s Big Dance 2016, and on Sunday Darcey Bussell will share her full-body aerobic workout inspired by a range of different dance styles.

The stand-out performances on the main stage across the weekend include those from Akram Khan Company, English National Ballet principal Elena Glurdjidze, Breakin’ Convention and Flawless.

Soon-to-be-permanent east London residents, and long-standing favourites at Move It, Company Wayne McGregor make a welcome return. The company are due to take up residency at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park late 2016 and will perform an extract from FAR on Friday.

Move It is at Excel London [1], March 18-20

Win a pair of tickets to Move It [2]