Richmond prepares for RichDance Festival


The event, which takes place this weekend, will see individuals, schools and dance companies from across the region converging on Hampton School.


By Andrew Murray

Prepare for pirouettes, body pops and more as Richmond hosts its annual RichDance Festival this weekend.

The event, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, will see individuals, schools and dance companies from across the region converging on Hampton School.

This year, over 30 dance and youth groups will participate with styles ranging from ballet and contemporary jazz to hip-hop and street dance.

The climax of the festival will see a special performance from Blueprint Bursary Award Winner Cathy Waller of East London Dance.

RichDance is organised by Richmond Council Arts Service and Anna Ramsay, Arts Events and Development Coordinator, states the importance of the event in offering aspirational opportunities to young people wishing to pursue a career in dance.

She explains: “This event is important in allowing young people from the borough the opportunity to perform, learn new dance skills as well as see professional dancers and choreographers at work.”

One of the groups taking part in the festival is Vital Signz Dance, a street and hip-hop dance school that offers classes around the South-West and Surrey.

The company, founded by three friends in 2009, will bring 25 dancers to the event with ages ranging from seven to 25.

Choreographer and performer Sophie Henzell, who has been dancing since the age of six, explains how the routine has taken two months to put together and will involve a mixture of different groups from the company.

With dancers from as young as three participating in classes, Ms Henzell feels the multiple benefits that dancing brings are crucial in attracting new participants.

“It obviously gets them fit, is a lot of fun and it builds a lot of confidence,” she said.

“We encourage (the students) to free style and try their own things.”

Given the variety of performances on offer, RichDance 2012 should offer enough up-tempo performances to get event the most rigid of spectators cutting a rug.

RichDance 2012 is on from 3pm on Saturday and 2pm on Sunday at Hampton School, Hampton. Tickets are available from Richmond Council’s website.

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