The Merton School Sport Partnership held its first ever Dance Festival on 2nd April 2019. Thank you to Perseid Upper School for letting us use their superb performance facilities.

6 Schools brought their keen dance troops along to participate and display their well-rehearsed routines to an audience of over 100 family members and friends.

In 2018, the MSSP team were looking for ways to expand the range of festivals and competitions available to young people and schools in Merton. As well as the sporting events we host throughout the year we are always striving to develop the opportunities on offer and to encourage physical activity and wellbeing.

We believe that the performance arts, particularly dance, are valuable activities whether in a competition or just for fun and are happy to be able to add this inclusive festival to our events calendar for 2019 and beyond.

Bond Primary School opened the show in style with a lively routine to Fleur East’s ‘Play that Sax’ which included a variety of dance styles and even pom poms – a great way to start the afternoon!

Up next was Bishop Gilpin taking us to Wonderland and on a trip through the looking glass with their dazzling display appropriately named ‘Alice in Wimbledon’. This comprised of a mix of sounds including harmonic choral pieces, Lou Bega’s ‘Mambo No. 5’ and even the legendary Fat Les with his classic ‘Vindaloo’.

Dundonald filled the auditorium with colour and energy with a cracker of a production to the sound of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’. All their dancers were from year three and they had worked so well, devising the whole piece themselves. Well done on this vibrant performance.

‘Our Story’ is a beautifully produced song that is part of the musical ‘Hamilton’. Merton Park certainly did it more than justice with their wonderfully creative and emotionally gripping choreography. This was a truly inspiring moment to watch and a captivating way of story-telling.

St Mark’s treated us to two delightfully uplifting routines with the first being to Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’. This team was made up of just 5 dancers and they each had such character which complimented the whole dance. The girls are also working on a drama production of ‘Annie’ and we were fortunate to witness one of the pieces from the musical - ‘Hard Knock Life’.

Hatfeild brought a real festival feel with their contemporary mix of music and styles including ‘The Bongo Song’, ‘Run’ by Woodkid and ‘Giant’ from Calvin Harris. It was evident they had worked hard on the formations and shapes and their high energy created a magnificent atmosphere around the auditorium.

Every year, The New Wimbledon Theatre hosts the London regional round of ‘The Great Big Dance Off’ —a nationwide school competition that gives young dancers the chance to perform in front of large crowds and to witness a variety of dance styles and routines.

This year, on 7th March 2019, Merton Park Primary School took part as the only represented school from our Borough and did Merton proud with an impressive display. We were excited to have them perform it again for us at our festival as our final production. The piece was named ‘Feline Fun’ and was a terrific tribute to the musical ‘Cats’ and the song ‘Jellicle Cats’. A huge well done and thank you to Merton Park for bringing us this routine and for the outstanding costumes and make up!

 

All dancers from the six schools received a participation certificate and a rapturous applause from the audience. On behalf of MSSP, thank you to all pupils, choreographers and parents for supporting the festival. Thanks also to the helpful Perseid school team who have gone above and beyond to enable this event to take place. We are looking forward to 2020 already. If you have any comments and feedback on how to improve the festival for the future, please get in touch – info@mertonssp.org.uk.

 

Keep dancing!

 

Nick Osborne

Festival Co-ordinator

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