REVIEW: Diane Bradbury pupils dance up a storm in The Greatest Show

Roll up, roll up for the greatest show in Chesterfield this week.

Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 8:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd May 2018, 8:31 am
The Greatest Show, presented by Diane Bradbury Schooll of Theatre Dance. Photo by ian Boler.

All the fun of the big top is generated by students of Diane Bradbury Theatre Dance School in their annual show at the Pomegranate Theatre.

It’s one big celebration from start to finish as the youngsters put heart and soul into making the 40th anniversary showcase a night to remember.

Dancers shine like diamonds in the opening number, The Greatest Showman, with a precision, pin-sharp performance that is energetic, engaging and exciting. The striking black and white costumes add to the circus vibe.

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Tiger cubs in the form of little gymnasts spin around the stage and contort their lithe bodies into artistic shapes.

Tiny tappers create a buzz in the Bumblebee Medley. One little girl stole the show at the opening performance last night (May 21) when she waved repeatedly to the 600-strong audience and added her own moves.

Choreographers must feel like they are treading a tightrope in striving to put on a show which brings out the best in their pupils and satisfies a wide audience - but this one strikes the perfect balance with its mixture of trusty well-known favourites and bold new work.

Girls sing their hearts out in It’s A Hard Knock Life, from Annie, their actions in sync like a well-oiled machine.

The Purple Tap Class students razzle dazzle the crowd with their dancing to In The Money while holding giant coins and Yellow Class Modern get the crowd’s hands clapping and feet tapping to Born to Hand Jive.

Highlights for me in the first half were the Clog Dance, beautifully performed by the Intermediate Pointe Ballet looking radiant in jewel-encrusted ruby velvet bodices with calf-length deep pink net skirts; the contemporary dance performed by Bronze Class Theatrecraft pupils in Pitch Perfect and the Silver Tap students’ edgy performance of St Trinians.

The piece de resistance came from the Gold Class and Senior Tap students who beat together sticks, added percussion with their metal tipped shoes and then launched into a stunning intepretation of Punk Rocker.

High spots in the second half included the Student Tap class’s rendition of Toyshop in which they got the mechanical awkwardness of clockwork toys spot on; the Silver Ballet students looking fabulous in pale gold dresses and holding red roses as they performed Beauty and the Beast and the sassy, streetwise confidence of the Senior and Students Modern Dancers as they interpreted songs by Jason Derulo.

Families whooped and cheered throughout the show, no doubt some mums remembering their own time as youngsters on stage.

The choreographers include Julie Metcalfe and Paula Wilson, who started as pupils at Diane Bradbury’s school 40 years ago, and Diane’s daughter Roseanna Sanderson who dedicates the show to her late gran ‘Aunty’ Gladys. School principal Diane is now a gran herself and brought Roseanna’s seven-month old baby Hayden along to watch his first showcase last night. In four years’ time, no doubt Hayden will be up there on stage, moving and grooving with the best of them.

The Greatest Show parties on at the Pomegranate until Thursday, May 24. Make sure you snap up a ticket.