Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Let's Face the Music and Dance!

The Wight Strollers are exceptionally lucky; we have a very talented troupe of dancers, ranging from the tender age of eight to the grand age of fifteen - and they really are superb. Many of them attend dance schools outside of the Strollers, and have busy lives with school and other hobbies, but they still find the time each week to dedicate their talents to our pantomimes.

We caught up with them to find out what it is that keeps them coming back each week, each month, each year...

“Everyone is so lovely and it's like a massive family!" says Abbie Knowles. "If you can't do something the strollers will always find a way to adapt a dance to the dancer’s limitations. For example, where I have a stroke they adapt it to make things easier, so I can use my better leg which is easiest to balance on."

Hannah Knowles echoes her sister's sentiments, "We are all at different levels of dance but it is all adapted for your dance ability.

"I am the youngest ‘senior’ dancer but it doesn't feel like it, everybody includes me in everything and I never feel left out...we all feel like we are a big part of the show because we're treated equally - that's why I love dancing in the Strollers."

The family feeling is strong with the Strollers, and everyone has a ball working with each other at rehearsals, that much is clear. When you're in a dance troupe, it's all about teamwork, and our girls have got it nailed!

"We help each other out, we have a laugh with one another and, most importantly, we work so well together," says Izzi Rudd. "We are all really good friends, and there isn't anything better than performing with your friends on stage!"

"It's a really friendly atmosphere," Ruby agrees, adding: "And the dances end up looking really great with the costumes and everything!"

We've been chatting to some of our younger dancers, too, and it seems that, although they might not have been with the company long, they're already well and truly on board in PantoLand!

"It is fun, everybody cares for you, and I have made lots of friends," says Keira Barry, aged 10.

And she's backed up, emphatically, by eleven-year-old Ella Gregory: "I like dancing because it's fun and I like being with my friends I have made through Strollers."

"I like being in the Strollers because it's fun and you make lots of friends," adds Izzy Park, aged 9. "I also like it because I get to act and sing while I dance which lets me do all of the things that I love in the same place!"

As we always say at Strollers HQ, 'once a Stroller, always a Stroller' - and some of our dancers have definitely been here long enough to vouch for that!

“I love dancing with the Strollers because I physically can't remember not doing it," says Lucinda Rigby. "The rehearsals are so funny now I'm actually old enough to understand the jokes and I am always genuinely happy to be there."

"I've been dancing for a long time now," Zoe Lawrence adds. "I couldn't image my life if I didn't! I really enjoy it because I've met so many new people and, if I've had a bad day, it's the perfect way to just let everything go."

They all have their favourite routines, too, and Zoe can't wait to tell us about hers...

"I've been with the strollers for six years now and I think one of my favourite routines was the skeleton dance in Cinderella, but my top favourites are by far-"

Ah-ah-ah, Zoe, were you about to give away some of the music for this year's production?

Actually, when I asked the dancers for their favourite routines, most of them replied with songs from this year's Aladdin - spoiler alert! We'll keep schtum for now, girls!

However, there have been other favourites over the years, and plenty of them.

“My favourite routine of all time would have to be the company song of Snow White in 2008 - 'We Go Together' - because I have the funniest memories of us sat in a circle trying to learn the words!” says Lucinda.

For Ruby, the favourite is more recent: "My favourite dance in the whole time I have been at Strollers is 'Voulez Vous' from Robinson Crusoe."

In fact, Robinson Crusoe produced some very firm favourite routines for a few of our dancers.

"The underwater ballet last year was my favourite, I love ballet I also liked the song and my costume," says Ella.

For Keira and Izzy, 'One Way or Another', also from last year's show, was a definite hit...but mostly because they got to chase Keira's dad, Patrick Barry, around the stage and poke him with spears! Nothing like a bit of Girl Power!

"This is my eleventh panto so I have alot of dances to choose from," says Sophie Croain. "My favourite dances are the ones that we are doing this year; Some are high intensity, others are slower.

"Cheryl, who directs the dances for us, is truly amazing and without her we wouldn't be able to perform the way in which we do."

She adds: "Without giving to much away this year is going to be incredible, and I am looking forward to the shows!"

Meanwhile, for Izzi, this question poses a dilemma!

"My favourite dance...there have been so many!" she says. "Probably 'It's Oh So Quiet' from Sleeping Beauty or this year's-"

Izzi! What did I say about spoilers?

To steer away from spoilers, we caught up with our youngest dancer, Emma, aged 8, to ask her what she reckons to dancing with the Wight Strollers.

"I like dancing with the Wight strollers because it's fun and I love dancing. As this is my first season dancing, my favourite routine has to be-"

Not another one!

Well, alright, since almost all of you named at least one of  this year's routines as your favourite, here's a sneak peek for everyone of just one of our fabulous dances in Aladdin!

There you have it, everyone! A sneak peek into what makes our dance troupe so fantastic - teamwork, friendship and laughter - and isn't that exactly what pantomime is all about?

Book your tickets to see Aladdin by phoning Medina Theatre Box Office on 01983 823884 or by visiting the Medina Theatre website.

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