DANCE Woking hosted four events at Rhoda McGaw Theatre when more than 360 students and dancers took to the stage. Three community dance platforms were held either side of a performance by professional dance company Tavaziva.

On Monday (15 November) and Tuesday, 240 students from 11 schools and colleges performed at the Dance Makers Platform. In response to the UK hosting COP26 in Glasgow, the theme was Our Precious Planet as the students highlighted their concerns through imaginative and dynamic dance pieces.

The choreography, costume and lighting design was the responsibility of the young dancers with some help from the Dance Woking team.

Monday’s groups included Horsell Junior and Horsell Village School. Horsell Juniors’ piece Stop the Chop focused on rainforest deforestation and its impact on wildlife, soil erosion and greenhouse gas emission.

Horsell Village School based their piece on Oliver Jeffer’s book Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth,  asthe students travelled through space, visited the sea and explored humankind’s basic needs.

On Tuesday came the turn of Sythwood Primary and Woking College. Sythwood took their inspiration from Greta Thunberg and Sir David Attenborough with How Dare You! From The Future Generations, discovering their voice to protect their future planet.

Closing the platform on Tuesday evening was Woking College with The Garbage Patch, highlighting the build-up of pollution in the oceans.

The High Sheriff of Surrey, Dr. Julie Llewelyn, attended on Tuesday. She praised the students for their performances and presented certificates of achievement to each of the groups.

Sam McCaffrey, chief executive and artistic director of Dance Woking, said: “We were thrilled to be back at Rhoda McGaw Theatre presenting live dance on stage.

“The standard of the dances was exceptionally high, with every student excelling. Being able to use dance to express and highlight their worries and fears about the effect of climate change, and its impact on their future, has helped them start to discover their voice.”

After Tavaziva had performed Boy’s Khaya, a powerful reflection on injustice, on Thursday, the dance week ended on Saturday with students from community dance schoolsacrossWoking and Surrey joined by guest groups from further afield.

Chair of Dance Woking, Alan Sutherland, said: “This is the first time I have attended Innovate Dance Platform and I was blown away by the standard.

“There was a diverse mix of age groups on stage, the atmosphere was electric, it was happy, it was exciting, a joy to watch. The support Dance Woking has from the dance community is visible. The platforms work on so many different levels.”

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