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Students complete dance tour – by barge

The production went from Manchester to Birmingham over 10 days and was part of U. Dance 2016 and the National Youth Dance Festival.

19-year-old dance student, Ryan and acting student, Nathaniel, 18 performed the seven-minute dance piece at Manchester’s The Lowry and the Birmingham Rep. They were two of ten Birmingham dancers offered roles in the tour.

“50 of the college’s students overall auditioned for the roles, so Ryan and Nathaniel knew they were lucky to be chosen,”said Lorraine Foggin, Department Manager at the college. “This has been a valuable performance opportunity for them so early on in their careers. It’s allowed them to work with many different choreographers and performers who have encouraged them to develop their skills in an unconventional but incredibly inspirational environment.

“Although they are continuing their training at university and with acting companies, they couldn’t have had a better springboard from which to launch their professional careers.”

Dance on Water was produced with the Canal and River Trust as a way of celebrating the canals and waterways between Birmingham and Salford. Travelling through the canal networks, some of which are 200 years old helped to inspire the dancers ahead of their performances.

“The whole experience rates pretty high on my CV,”said Ryan from Tamworth who is going on to study at the University of East London. “Projects like these reach out to young performers with different backgrounds, encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone. It was like that for me.

“I’d only ever been comfortable performing urban dance and this is what I’m studying at university,” he continued. “Dance on Water made me step outside my comfort zone. It’s something that’s helped me grow.”

With a background in acting, Nathaniel also overcame performance challenges during the tour. “My lecturer encouraged me to audition for the role so that I’d have the chance to be involved in a piece of ‘physical theatre’ that was script-free,”he explained. “Dance on Water was a first for me in lots of ways. It was my first time performing away from home, being part of a dance festival and getting into the mind-set of a dancer rather than an actor, so I’ve gained all kinds of new perspectives.”

Ryan and Nathaniel’s performances can be viewed here

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