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“Perform for Humanity”

I love the concept of a free performing arts academy, giving a chance to those who may not be able to pursue other avenues to learn all aspects of performance, and was very impressed by the vision and commitment of Katie Ross and Alex Wheeler in setting up and running it, whilst generating a very good standard production.

The music used was diverse, and gave everyone the chance to shine in their particular field, and for the most part the youngsters involved showed boundless energy and commitment to their given roles.

In some cases facial expressions were a little lacking, but with such a short time to prepare and so many items to learn, I could forgive a little too much concentration on the part of the performers, as it showed that they cared enough to want to get it right.

The choreography was both suitable and different, some very interesting movements, shapes, combining different genres, whilst always staying within the bounds of the performers capabilities. Most of the ensemble routines were performed with discipline and attention to detail.

On the musical side it was good to witness a very interesting piano solo from Anis Sajid, whilst the general vocal arrangements were very good, with some lovely harmonies, which I appreciated.

I’m sorry I can’t mention every performer, there were just too many, but suffice to say, they all gave good performances that were pleasing to the eye and ear, and showed just what can be accomplished in a relatively short time.

I was particularly impressed with Zaynab Shahid, who showed a very musical, well-projected singing voice, with plenty of expression, and good all round performance skills.

Assad Akkash also made an impact with his energy, he opened the show, always a daunting task, but one he carried off with panache.

Tasha Wolfe also sang beautifully in her solos.

On the dance side I was particularly impressed by Kyra Spratley and Nicole Clarke, and it was nice to see a guest performance of contemporary dance from the very accomplished Alice Bell.

On a personal note, I was a little concerned that several of the young ladies had unrestrained hair, for me I like to see faces, and long hair pulled forward detracts at times, but that is purely personal!

The ethos behind the Academy was brought to bear in the music chosen and the way it was interpreted, which was sometimes very moving, and I particularly enjoyed the tribute both in the programme and on stage to Gary Bates and Jayne Hodgson.

Very well done to Katie and Alex for their vision and commitment to these young people, and my good wishes for the hope that this project can continue for many years, as performance art is so good for young people from all walks of life to gain confidence, discipline and experience team work, which will stand them in good stead whatever path their lives take.

Vita Artes Academy

PERFORM FOR HUMANITY” date: 24th Nov 2017

Chalk Hill Academy, Luton

Owners/Directors: Katie Ross and Alex Wheeler


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