DanceFest at Medway Park as CYD? hits town

The Can You Dance? roadshow made a successful debut in Kent recently, with schools and colleges from across the south east making their way along to Gillingham to take part in masterclasses, workshops and a showcase.

I toddled along to indulge myself in the dance madness, chat to a few people and even attempted a couple of videos. So I now have a Youtube account (Google  at work again, see this post. Don’t you just love a drag and drop function?). Click on the photos to enlarge and yes, I do know to turn the phone to landscape for videos from now on!

Matt and fellow judges (Alistair Postlethwaite, Charlie Bruce, Lee Alexander and Darren Carnall) had a tough decision to make in choosing the winners and runners up in the Showcase Finale, which featured a high standard of performances from both seniors and juniors.

Top: Alistair, Matt, Lee. Bottom: Charlie, Darren

Dance Connection were clear winners in the senior category, with an incredibly dynamic, intense and tight performance with plenty of attitude, although runners up LDT could have stolen it with an emotional, believable and mature performance.

In the junior category, Jordanleas Dance Company placed ahead of Dance Connection, although their ethereal, beautiful piece – the detail in the hand movements was exquisite – was my personal favourite in this section. The Choreography Award was won by the Daluca school for a cool and snappy jazz number, while Edie from Let’s Dance was declared Most Promising Dancer.

Runners Up – Dance Connection Jnrs (green) LDT Seniors (White

Mums Tracy and Amanda were there with their daughters, who dance with Oxford based Dance Connection.  After a two hour trip down, they said the combination of the workshops and the colleges performance showcases had been really good and well worth the journey – and that was even before the results were announced!

Lucas and ShelleyLucas (right, above) and Sherry were also with Dance Connection, supporting their daughter. Lucas said: “We actually moved to the UK from America and settled in Oxford, where our daughter found Dance Connection. She has been dancing and participating in the workshops and so far it’s been really impressive and well organised. It’s a really great opportunity for our daughter to expand her dance experience and learn new things. And the best part is she having a lot of fun with her friends and meeting other dancers.”

Razzamataz with Tom

Razzamataz with Tom

The Medway branch of the Duncan Bannatyne (Dragon’s Den) backed Razzamataz Theatre School were there enjoying the masterclasses and workshops. The older group joined co-founder Tom Shilcock for a photo (above), while four of the younger girls were happy to share their dance journey with me:

For the organisers, it’s another step on their journey to bring dance to a wider audience and encourage young people with the right aptitude to seek a career in dance. Matt was thrilled to see how well received the convention was, while Tom has words of advice for aspiring dancers and Charlie explains what winning Series 1 of So You think You Can Dance did for her career:

While we awaited the results from the Showcase, we were dazzled by the skills of nine year old KavMan (below), a Patron for Dance Aid. Kavman dances at Taboo in Gravesend and helps to raise the profile of the charity through his demonstrations. He’s in good company – Peridot, Flawless and inaugural Got to Dance winner, Akai, are also involved.


There’s a sense of togetherness when dancers congregate, even when there are prizes at stake. The first Can You Dance? convention in Kent was no exception, with many tired but glowing faces in evidence during the mass selfie Matt Flint took at the end of the final presentations.

Mass Selfie

I look forward to welcoming them back next year 🙂

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