Directions students sing and dance up a storm in showcase

Directions Theatre Arts showcase.
Directions Theatre Arts showcase.

Friends who dance together stay together is an apt statement to be beamed out during a showcase by performance arts students.

The seeds for lifelong friendships are undoubtedly sown as tots taking baby steps in the dance world. It’s a bond which strengthens as the pupils blossom into talented teenagers soaring through exams and landing trophies as competitive troupers.

Friendship plays a big part in performance arts, helping to build up confidence and trust which are vital to productions such as the show which Directions Theatre Arts are staging at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre this week.

This showcase is a triumph of teamwork by performers and the tutors who have coached them and choreographed their routines. Two of the stand-out pieces, an edgy dance sketch inspired by the homeless, and an awesome example of athleticism entitled Tribe, will be pitched against the country’s finest in the national final of Can You Dance? in Liverpool in October.

There’s plenty to marvel at in this thought-provoking selection of dances, not least the poignant depiction of innocent victims of war, the fiery passion conjured up in the choreography for the song Roxanne and the superb display of gymnastics set to John Miles’ epic composition Music.

Broadway babes and a couple of male hoofers turn back the clock with tap-dancing and glittery razzamatazz for a showstopping finale.

But the show is much more than just a vehicle for dance and gives its 120 perforers a chance to show their skills in singing and drama too.

The first half is given over to a panto-style reworking of Dick Whittington, written by former Directions student Jessica Spanier.

Ellie-Rose Walker heads the cast as Dick Whittington with Ashton Harkness playing love interest Alice Fitzwarren. Their signature duet of I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You is beautifully interpreted by dancers Josh Crowther and Megan Hemingway.

Super sprightly Alicia Ottewell makes a terrific Tommy the Cat, ridding Morocco of a plague of rats in a spectacular display of gymnastics.

Zoe Southworth brings powerful stage presence to the part of half-rodent, half-human Queen Rat and Chris Measham conjures up the laughs as bearded Sarah the Cook even ad-libbing his way through a costume malfunction at last night’s opening performance.

This Dick Whittington includes musical excerpts from other shows, including Consider Yourself from Oliver!, sung by Ashton Harkness, and Mungojerrie and Rumpleteaser from Cats, sung by Amber Pickering and Vienna Harkness.

Take your pal along to DTA’s Showcase at the Pomegranate tonight (Wednesday, July 19) or tomorrow and you’ll have a friend for life.