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‘Chaos’ places Kuranui in top 3

Kuranui DANCE NZ MADE Team: Kuranui College Dance Team 2020. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Eli Hill

The Kuranui College contemporary dance team placed third in the Dance NZ Made national finals in Palmerston North.

The group’s piece ‘Chaos’, was choregraphed by Anna Laybourn and Maaike Smolnicki and involved nine students from across the school.

This achievement came after a highly successful regional round, where this year’s cohort of Kuranui dance students also gained top three placings in their categories including Florence Cater and Lola Armstrong who were named Champions in the year 11-13 duo/trios.

Both Rilee Scott and Olly Penman were first runners-up and Sorcha O’Donogue and Georgina Birrell second runners-up in the same category, while Lilli Rogers was placed third in the year 11-13 solo group.

Given the interschool competition took place during alert level two, it was a challenge for Kuranui’s dance students to avoid the obstacles the pandemic presented, Laybourn said.

“Covid’s been annoying because the competition was postponed, but then we did get extra practice.

“Also when we were at the competition, all of the groups were divided up and you couldn’t go to the theatre until half an hour before we performed.

Normally students would be able to go to the changing rooms and use the little rooms to practise, Smolnicki said.

“But we were in the parking lot and practising, and then we got ready and did our make-up in the shopping mall.”

Kuranui College dance teacher Karin Melchior was delighted the competition was able to go ahead under level two, but there were a few key changes to format.

“We were allowed into zones, one zone was the backstage, then we were allowed to watch in a different zone and then swap over.

“Usually during the regional competition, it takes a whole day which includes workshops, so the students are able to mix with all the other schools and other age groups. This time they just had a two-hour slot.”

The pandemic certainly shaped the students’ dance themes, which centred around concepts of chaos and disruption by using changes in tempo and energy.

“It wasn’t so much about the competition this year, we were really pleased to just be there. We kept it fun, we didn’t over-rehearse and make it like a chore and we still performed well,” said Armstrong.

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