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One Moment in Time

2013 One Moment In Time

Review by Neville Dent, Daily Echo

The disappearance of the Winter Gardens Concert Hall was a tragedy in many ways, but in 1983 the Western Association of Ballet Schools undoubtedly benefited from the transfer to the Pavilion - a lyric theatre with proper lighting and a fly tower, and where, this year, they have presented One Moment in Time.

For nearly forty years the Association has had to find ways of giving shape to a programme containing a string of different dance pieces. Under the creative direction of Juliette Malan, this production was definitely one of their most successful. Sophia Latyntseva and Peter Courtenay, from Direct Theatre School, played out a story involving a history detention and the ingenious use of an i-phone to introduce eight hugely varied dances. The simple staging with projected scenes as backdrops created seamless transitions whilst the use of contemporary recordings and sound effects added atmosphere.

The first half of the programme took us from V.E. Day in the Spotlight School's colourful, lively item in 1940s style, via Rita Jenvey School of Dancing's Noah's Ark, with effectively rising flood waters, to Jan Mizen's Discovery of Flight. Her senior dancers gave us softly floating clouds, balloons and a very beautiful white kite, whilst the youngsters were contrasted as appropriately-dressed early twentieth century pilots - not quite "magnificent men", but nonetheless charming.

The Academy of Dance took us up to the interval with the Miners' Strike, which opened with an eerie scene in the semi-darkness of a mine illuminated only by the narrow beams of the miners' headlights.

After the interval the Wessex School of Dancing (the only school to have been involved right from the beginning of the WABS) gave us the colourful 1967 Summer of Love. This was followed by the most unusual Nativity I have ever seen from the Lawlor School of Dance in which Mary and the Angel Gabriel were outstanding.

In their scene about the Irish Emigration to America, the Carrington Hollywood Academy of Dance showed some sensitive group work to depict poverty and famine. Then, under the watchful eyes of the Statue of Liberty, their strong, polished, Irish Riverdance-style section, in eye-catching costumes with plenty of energy, really engaged the audience.

Finally, the biggest bang I have ever heard on a stage announced the Jane Farrell Ballet School's interpretation of the origin of the universe.

In a final, pleasing detail, the beautifully organised curtain calls were integrated into the linking storyline.

The Western Association of Ballet Schools supports students attending workshops and courses as well as enabling dance schools who could not possibly hire the Pavilion for their own shows to experience performing in a big theatre. Long may it continue.

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