22 of over 100 youngsters from 12 schools across the region came together to form a dance troupe. This week they performed a curtain-raiser routine before each of the three performances of ZooNation's Some Like It Hip Hop at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
The lucky few were selected by ZooNation's Teneisha Bonner, who stars in the show. Funded by Inspire Carillion, the troupe performed a routine to Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" and they all proved that they did indeed have the moves. Education Officer Louise Bent, who co-ordinated the project said "I was amazed to see the array of skills on display during the week. For many of the kids it was the first time they had danced on a professional stage. It's given them a taster of what it is like to be a professional dancer because Teneisha has really put them through their paces!"
Chief Executive of the theatre Peter Cutchie said that "this is the first time in 12 years that the Grand has hosted a professional dance company and what a fantastic show this has been to re-introduce Wolverhampton to the world of dance."
Over the two nights, the theatre was full of local press, photographers, guest Tweeters and young reviewers. There certainly was an exciting atmosphere in the theatre. There was a pre-show drinks reception for invited guests and also at the interval. The final night in Wolverhampton was also the final night of the UK tour which launched at The Lowry in Salford following a short residency at the Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre. To mark the final night, Aston Merrigold of boyband JLS was spotted in the audience and was there to show support for his girlfriend - cast member Sarah Richards.
Chairman of the Friends Of The Grand Gordon Hands said "Very fortunately I get to see every show that comes to theatre. If I didn't this probably wouldn't have appealed to me at my age. How very wrong I would have been. There really was something for everyone, and it was great to see the whole audience up on their feet dancing along at the end. I've certainly learnt some new moves!"
Me and fellow blogger Fran Richards with cast member DJ Walde
The after-show reception was very different to most weeks, usually a civilised, calm welcome and chat. This was a loud hip-hop party in which the young dancers mingled with the cast who posed for photos and signed posters of the show. The Friends of the Grand, the second largest theatre friends group in the country, offer a welcoming party to the cast on the first night of any show. As well as the regular friendly faces, this week it was refreshing to see so many enthusiastic young people at ZooNation's reception. DJ Walde who is the composer and musical director for Some Like It Hip Hop confirmed he had thoroughly enjoyed the tour and that the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre had been a great venue to finish.
ZooNation have a few exciting projects in the pipeline and Some Like It Hip Hip makes a return to Sadler's Wells in 2013. My hope is that ZooNation return to the Grand Theatre in any future tours - they're sure to be a huge hit!
You can read my previous blog, a chat with the show's producer here: http://scottbirdonline.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/some-like-it-hip-hop-uk-tour-word-from.html
The Grand Theatre's Backstage Blog has an update from marketing manager Kate Evans:
Pictures from the event feature on the theatre's Facebook page:
And as if that wasn't enough dance this week, Angelina Ballerina the Mousical takes over the theatre until Saturday. Tickets can be booked here: http://grandtheatre.info/WhatsOn_focus.asp?ShowId=634&sC=page10