Seen and Unseen: BSME Dance

Last weekend the British International School Abu Dhabi participated in the inaugural BSME Dance Invitational at Cranleigh School Abu Dhabi. The BSME Dance Festival was an opportunity to bring together schools from across the Middle East to promote an environment for creativity and friendliness. The weekend included a diverse programme of dance styles, workshops and performances. Dancers arrived on Thursday 22nd February to learn the opening dance and to get to know members of the dance companies from other schools.

On Friday 23rd dancers met with the workshop leaders and experienced a physically challenging day. Catherine Haywood who has performed at Disneyland Paris and worked with London based contemporary dance companies such as the C-12 Dance Theatre Company is a musical theatre teacher and contemporary dance specialist. She delivered a challenging contemporary dance class for the students. Nader Musharbash is the only choreographer in the Middle East to have worked with artists such as Rita Ora, One Direction, Beyonce and Pink as well as major TV productions such as XFactor UK, Brit Awards and MTV Awards. Nader specializes in commercial hip hop and worked the students on a challenging piece of choreography, which left everyone out of breath and feeling exhausted! Lise Whitfield is a ballet, modern, jazz, musical theatre, ballroom, world dance styles expert and flying trapeze artists. Lise brought a calming nature to the workshops with her Polynesian traditional dance workshop. Yvette Campbell has over 20 years of extensive professional experience working with Ailey ll Dance Company, Eleo Pomare Dance Company and Elisa Monte Dance Company. Yvette successfully engaged students in a modern dance workshop. After dancing hard and committing themselves to each workshop with enthusiasm and a passion for dance, everyone was ready for the afternoon ice-cream!

Sixteen students ranging from years 5 to 12 represented BIS Abu Dhabi at this inaugural festival. Back in October 2017, BSME released the title of the festival ‘Seen and Unseen’ and it was with this in mind that Mrs Lowe felt inspired to use the paining of ‘Guernica’ by Pablo Picasso. Students were introduced to the history of the painting and an exploration of movement material and an understanding of the meaning of the images from the paining were explored. Part of the rules from BSME were to engage students in their own creativity and allow students to explore their own ideas and choreography. Groupwork and duets formed part of the dance that was choreographed over a period of 6 weeks.

The final dance was performed on stage at Cranleigh School along with 10 other school performances to an audience of over 300. BIS Abu Dhabi were fortunate to take two pieces of work. The second piece was a duet choreographed by Isabella Engles a Year 11 student as part of her GCSE PE practical component. Isabella investigated and researched the plight of refugees and their struggle to find safety in a dangerous world. Both pieces from BIS Abu Dhabi were inspirational, clearly tackled the original title and presented to a high standard. Congratulations to all involved.

To see photos of the BSME Dance weekend click here....

Gaynor Heptinstall – Lowe