Lord Wandsworth Leaderboard

Lightingp Up The Stage

Published by The Portsmouth Grammar School on Thursday 27th of April 2023

On the 26th April, after a resounding victory at the heats several months prior, the PGS Dance Live team performed at the finals of Dance Live 2023!


Since the very beginning of September, the team had been working tirelessly to construct and polish a routine to top our 2022 performance, which earned second place in the finals. Although we would have all been more than satisfied by our run ending with the best performance we could have given at the heats, to be selected to go through to the finals meant the world to everyone who had given countless hours to make this a success.


The day of the finals went much like the heats. The morning was spent in a final rehearsal with the stage crew getting everything in order to cart to the Guildhall. Just before lunch, we all walked over to the Guildhall to move into our dressing rooms before taking to the stage to rehearse for the last time, and allowing our superb lighting coordinator, Hannah Watts, to adjust to the new setup.


After two run-throughs we had the opportunity to stay and watch the rehearsals of all 11 of our competitors, or complete a series of challenges set by the organisers, centred around getting ready for our performance. Every one of the other schools had a unique performance, with themes ranging from the Aberfan disaster in 1966 to the damaging effects of paparazzi on celebrities to the everywoman’s search for perfection - and of course our own, themed around the story of Harley Quinn and the Joker.


Gradually, every performer was called back to change into student-created costumes to prepare for the final performance of this dance we would ever do - alongside dazzling hair and makeup, put together by our amazing team. Everyone was doing something, and in the hours leading up to our final performance the areas in and around the dressing rooms were hives of activity.


By the late evening we had all eaten the dinners we had packed and were waiting to be called onstage for our last performance. Everyone was buzzing with nervous energy but stayed silent for the sake of the others performing before us. Before we knew it we were called onto the stage, performers filing into the wings while our “Journey to Dance Live” video played, showcasing the creative processes and backstage magic that had led us to our finished project.


When the music started, every single performer gave it their all for the entire runtime of the performance. The head judge told the audience he was “speechless”, how “vibrant” our costumes were and how we had shown exemplary teamwork and coordination throughout.


Aaaaaaaand… we won!!! First place, The Portsmouth Grammar School! With a framed certificate and a novelty check for £1,000 to put towards our school’s arts activities. When asked to comment on the victory, amidst a crowd of exhausted, jubilant performers, dance captain Lois Mallen could only manage the word, “speechless”


Everyone involved deserves to feel incredibly proud of a brilliant performance, especially those now staring their public exams in the face! It’s been a wonderful experience for us all, and the dressing room chatter never abated or lost its cheerful tone. We are all incredibly grateful to each and every member of the team, from the staff to the Year 7s - without you, this never could have happened.


Special thanks for staff members from the Dance Captains, Lois and Lily:


“Without the efforts of Miss Turrill, Mr MacFarlane and Mrs Farrar, this performance would have been utterly lost. Miss Turrill choreographed all of the individual dances and spurred every dancer to improve their skills, making everyone the best dancer they could possibly be; Mr MacFarlane single-handedly designed every prop and created the screen animations that took our performance to a whole new level, and equally this could not have been done without Mrs Farrar, who coordinated it all from behind the scenes and made sure everything went exactly to plan on the night. These teachers are all incredible and we are just as proud of them as they are of us!”

Lightingp Up The Stage - Photo 1
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