Last year with the explosion of all the TV dance shows and through the disappointment of how contemporary dance was represented, I was determined to give it a go. So I did.... kind of. I sent my Cando2 company to experience it for me. Like a 'Show Mom'.
The journey began after Cando2 performed at Go Islington last summer for `BIG Dance 2010. A producer asked the group to apply for Got to Dance. So we did, and we got through to the filmed auditions. Where our journey ended with only one star from Ashley. Needless to say he is now our favourite.
Before going on I was mostly concerned with how the show would make the group look as we are an integrated group. From past experience we sometimes get people coming up to us saying "what you are doing for those poor children is amazing". I like to call this the dreaded 'Awwwww factor'. Yes, they are amazing but like many young people they are just in a youth dance company doing something that they enjoy.
However my experience with GTD was the totally opposite. I am eating my words and thoughts. Pause- Sarah remember, the show hasn't gone to air yet and IF you end up on it- you may be forced to regurgitate, but lets stay positive- Play. The application was a pretty positive experience for us and although at the same time as they were striving for diversity in style, I think the producers were also really wanting to be open to applications from people of all ages and abilities. This could have been a bit of a patronising situation but it was fine and I was determined to show them what we can do.
When the day came the only unwanted comment made was from the security man when we first arrived "Aww are you dancing lass? Bless- good for you". However, everyone else was great. Davina McCall was awesome. Her questions were funny. She really is an amazing person.
After they went on and did the piece for the judges, the comments were about the structure of the piece and how they were dancing it which I must admit I did take personally at first. The ball suddenly dropped as I realised the risk I was taking without realising I was taking it. I think if I dare admit it I didnt expect them to really get it and the truth of it is- it was me who didn't get it. Before going on the show, we only did a 3 hour rehearsal and picked 90 seconds out of a 6 minute piece that we hadn't touched since July.
The other contestants in the show had rehearsed for months really wanting their lives to be changed and their talent to be noticed, where as I had seen it as a really fun thing to do and a great experience for the dancers. So when Kimberley commented about the structure needing a bit of work she was right and even if I was to argue that I was going for the framing look (when you just see bits of the the dancers upstage through the downstage dancers) I have to admit I didn't take it seriously enough. I really wish I had now. It wasn't until we were waiting for the results as the ball was dropping that I realised that this is a competition and I was being judged. My choreography was up for scrutiny.
I know I kind of cheated in getting someone else to do it for me and I really didn't go for it myself. However I now respect the people more for doing it. It is tough as you are really putting yourself and your work out there. My only advice for anyone who wants to do it would be to really believe in what you are about. You need to know that you are putting yourself out there. If you care about your work you need to be sure and confident about what you are presenting.
I would love to enter next year with a Moxie Brawl piece. However I am not sure I could handle it fully. With Cando2 it was a safe bet for me. I know my Cando2 lot are already thinking about next year.
What am I doing producing star hungry dancers? Ha I secretly love it. Along with respecting all the other contestants I also found a whole other level of respect for the Cando2 dancers. They really do inspire me.