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MoveIT Judges
MoveIT Judges
Blog Dance News Interviews

Judges are ready for MOVE IT

  • March 9, 2017
  • by Laura Di Orio

The countdown is on for MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships, the highly anticipated dance event held this March 10-12 at Excel London! The energy, inspiration and talent to be found in this three-day competition experience will be like no other. And one factor that makes MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships so unique? The roster of judges, who are all industry professionals and can offer valuable feedback to these aspiring dancers!

Here, we get to know some of the MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships judges and what they’re looking for in the competitors.

What first got you into dance?

Arlene Phillips, CBE, choreographer, presenter and TV judge
“I fell in love with ballet as a small child, started lessons and eventually studied every possible dance genre that I could. There is nothing in the world as exciting as moving to music.”

Ryan Jenkins, creative director and choreographer, founder of iD-Dance contemporary dance syllabus, #werkit
“I did my first dance class by accident and didn’t start until I was 15. I would watch the VHS of Cats religiously and fell in love with the energy and creativity. I knew I wanted to be on stage and wanted to learn something so creative.”

Lukas McFarlane, creative director, choreographer
“I started dancing when I went to a concert and the artist had tap dancers on stage. I was so intrigued by the sounds and rhythms being created that I turned to my parents and asked for tap shoes. This was when I was six years old, and I have never looked back since.”

Vidya Patel, dancer, finalist from BBC Young Dancer
“Initially, it was my parents who enrolled me into Indian classical dance classes from an early age because they really wanted me to learn something of my Indian heritage. My sisters who are older than me already had been attending the classes earlier; therefore, I frequently watched them perform. One thing I always remember thinking is wishing I was older so I could start classes quicker and perform like the older dancers. The more senior dancers in class were a real inspiration, especially when they performed their Indian classical graduation recitals. I can still remember their performances vividly.

When I was younger, I got performance experience through dancing frequently at community and local events, but the point where I started thinking of it as a career was when I joined the Centre of Advanced Training South Asian Dance Strand in Birmingham DanceXchange when I was around 12. The programme presented the opportunity to have workshops with a variety of guest artists which broadened my eyes to a whole new world of dance.”

Did you ever participate in competitions of any sort? How do you think they were beneficial to your career as a dancer?

McFarlane
“I grew up competing my entire life. The competition world is very prevalent in North America, and I believe it was extremely valuable in creating the dancer I am today. It taught me confidence and pride and gave me an opportunity to perform on a stage from a very young age.”

Jenkins
“I did enter competitions. A competition is a preparation for you to go on to a West End stage or any performance or audition, preparing you for the nerves you feel when you step in front of an audience. At a competition, you’re getting feedback, whereas at an audition, you leave and don’t know what they think. With MOVE IT, the judges are industry professionals. I’ve done Wicked, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake and So You Think You Can Dance. I can give them personal feedback on what they’re doing amazing and something they need to work on before that next audition.”

Patel
“When I was 13, I took a part in the junior category of internationally televised Bollywood dance competition ‘Boogie Woogie’. Even though having just won the runners-up prize, I still remember the importance of having the experience dancing on a large stage by myself in front of a theatre audience.

Most recently, I took part in BBC Young Dancer 2015. This was a totally different learning process, as I was much older and at this stage knew that dance was something I wanted to pursue as a career. This competition was a monumental platform which allowed me to perform to so many people, which included major industry professionals, dance lovers and anyone watching the competition on their television.”

Why did you want to be a part of the new MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships?

Jenkins
“I like the fact that the judges are industry professionals. It’s an amazing platform where dancers can get feedback from the people who have lived and breathed the industry. We’ve made it and can give back to them. It’s the only competition in the UK of this calibre.”

McFarlane
“I believe this is such a great opportunity for young dancers to showcase their talent in a healthy, competitive way. It will give these performers a chance to be on stage representing the best versions of themselves but also a chance to be inspired by all the other incredible performers who will be a part of the competition, further fuelling their drive!”

Phillips
“More and more dancers need the opportunity to show off their dance skills and, in doing so, use the publicity as a platform to be recognised. As a choreographer, I’m always looking for new, exciting talent to feature in the works that I create, so I love having the opportunity.”

Patel
“MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships provides an extraordinary platform at the biggest dance exhibition for performers to share their talent. The competition stands for a lot of what I believe and brings together dancers from all backgrounds, levels and styles. It’s the first time for me to be judging a dance competition, and it’s a real honour to be able to watch and be part of this championship in this role.”

As a judge in this competition, what are you looking for? 

Phillips
“I’m looking for ‘the whole dancer’ – technique, style, power, passion but also a dancer who can tell a story with every part of his/her body.”

Patel
“I hope to see the performers really enjoying what they’re performing whilst making the choreography their own. Coming from an Indian classical background, use of rhythm, facial expressions and technicality is key, so those are a few things I would look out for. I hope to see dancers making the most of the opportunity and giving all they can in the performance!”

McFarlane
“I am always looking for technique, as that is just my training, but more importantly, I am looking for genuine performance quality and a solid understanding of the music and musicality choices in regards to intention and dynamics.”

Jenkins
“I want dancers to come on to the stage and demand an audience to watch them. I just want to feel excited. You’ve got to capture my attention. You come out on that stage and you electrify that stage, lifting people’s souls, connecting with music, connecting with someone. And that’s what a performance is, and that’s what a competition is. It’s what you’re practising to get on that West End stage.”

What advice do you have for dancers who are competing in the MOVE IT & Capezio Dance Championships?

Patel
“Try to not think about the people in the audience as judges who are sitting on a pedestal, regardless of how great they are in reality. Perform for yourself with sincerity and just think about all the hand work you’ve put in. I remember before going on the stage for BBC Young Dance competition, my duet partner, Shammi Pithia, who was a musician and composer, said to me, ‘Think that you’re the best in the world for that moment in time on stage.’ I knew that it wasn’t true, but believing it for the moment really helped me before going on stage that day for the category finals. Finally, I’d say enjoy yourself; you’re doing what you love!”

McFarlane
“I say the exact same thing to my company every time we step on stage: first and foremost, enjoy being on stage. Be present, and don’t leave regretting anything! You never know when it will be your last time on stage, so enjoy every single second!”

What do you hope dancers will take away from this experience?

Phillips
“I hope the dancers will have enjoyed the work that they have put in to enter the competition, and take away any advice given, using it to help them achieve their goals in the future.”

Patel
“I hope all the participants take away what they learnt from the process of the competition. For me, the journey leading up to the performance was the most important. The experience is something you’ll remember and no doubt will be able to use it to help you in future endeavours. The performance is the moment when you give everything you’ve learnt and practised in a way which will come naturally to you. Show everything you have in those few minutes!”

Jenkins
“I really hope that they will have learned and taken away some advice and praise from their peers and people they look up to, and that it’s something that can help them move forward. I hope my words can inspire them. It’s not just for the people on the stage; it’s also the people in the audience listening to every comment that a judge gives. It can be personal to them, and they can use the feedback.”

McFarlane
“I hope dancers take away a new kind of drive and inspiration from the experience, as these will be some of the best people in the country all in one place. It is bound to make for one incredible competition!”

Article produced by Dance Informa.

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