Press Report “The Dance Goes On”

A glittering outline of a special 2016 Quicksilver performance that was the celebrated result of many enjoyable and rewarding months of dedicated team work.

“The Dance Goes On”
Riverhouse Barn/Arts Centre – Saturday 25 June

There were smiling faces all round as the audience applauded the debut sell-out revue given by Quicksilver, a Surrey-based dance group for the over 40’s, celebrating its second anniversary. Brought to Riverhouse by producer and host/performer Celia Andrews and professionally directed and choreographed by Angela Hardcastle, the performance offered a rich variety of music and dance styles interspersed with poetry and readings, beautifully voiced and performed by Globe actor Philip Bird, which left its audience uplifted and invigorated.
Quicksilver was founded to inspire and entertain older members of the local communities , and to encourage all those who are able, to enjoy throughout life the many benefits of dance for body and mind . The eight-strong troupe, with their eye-catching costumes and deft comic touches , performed the imaginative choreography with remarkable skill and energy. Highlights included a spoof Oldie-Hop performed to the Original Dixieland Jazzband; two pieces on flight beginning with the poem, Starlings in Winter leading into a soaring dance piece, El Condor Pasa; a slick and funny 1960’s beach scene choreographed by Lisa Lee and, the climax to the evening, a beautifully danced toe-tapping set of Gershwin numbers. The professionalism and joyful enthusiasm of the whole show touched audience and performers alike.

To find out more about Quicksilver, to make a booking or to join their ranks, visit their website on: www.quicksilverdance.co.uk

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Our Featured Dancer: Andrea Bird

The June blog is a chat with one of our Quicksilver dancers, Andrea Bird.

Do you have a favourite style of dance?

Ballet was definitely my first and over-riding love until knee trouble put paid to that, but I love experimenting with all types of dance – except perhaps Indian. I was rubbish at that at school, never seemed to have supple enough hands and wrists. I’m not very good at tap either. For ballet you need strong ankles for pointe work but for tap you need loose, floppy ankles; I think I wasn’t a natural tapper! But jazz, modern, contemporary, jive, salsa, Latin American – I just love dancing per se.

What made you want to be a dancer?

It wasn’t a conscious decision, dance was just something I’d always done and enjoyed.
Aged 3, I remember a white ballet tunic, with a red belt, white ankle socks and red ballet shoes – an outfit I loved – and lots of skipping, jumping and spinning and – a highlight: pretending to be a frog leaping the length of the room. From the age of 5 or 6 I was entered for the All England Dancing Competitions which, being a matter of fact child, I wasn’t too bothered about though I do remember losing my sense of direction during the Finals on the vast Drury Lane stage and having to go off and start again! When I was 9 my teacher said I should apply for ballet school. I was lucky enough to be spotted by Beryl Grey at Arts Educational who awarded me a scholarship and off I went into full-time vocational training. There I received inspirational training from top teachers not only in dance but also in mime, voice, drama and music. A highlight was dancing with the Royal Festival Ballet in The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. I also went up for films, TV & radio jobs, proudly reading POSTBAG on Radio 4 with John Dunn!

What has been a highlight for you while performing in the theatre?

I have been in some wonderful shows: Noel Coward’s BITTERSWEET at the Northcott in Exeter was one of the most romantic ones; MR CINDERS which started at the King’s Head and went into the Fortune Theatre, London; DRACULA with Terence Stamp, and playing Wendy in PETER PAN with Jane Asher both at the enormous Shaftesbury Theatre were great experiences. Learning to fly in Peter Pan was an exciting but extremely painful business – but I met such lovely people everywhere.
It was through dance, however, that I earned my Equity card. I landed a job at a well-known nightclub in Plymouth which proved a fantastic learning ground. Many famous names toured there weekly and we were the support dancers. We performed 7 days a week, putting in new, incredibly varied, routines each week, taught by a fantastic choreographer. The styles ranged from ballet, to the Can-Can to Charlie Chaplin to a Beatles medley and many more in between. It was like weekly rep for dancers – during the hottest summer on record – and is actually not dissimilar to working with Quicksilver now!

What’s one piece of advice that you wish you had been given earlier?

Believe in yourself.

What do you like most about performing?

Rehearsing!

 

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Our Mascot: Mama Killa

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Say “Hello!” (in the Quechua language, its “Napaykullayki!”) to our Quicksilverdance mascot, Mama Killa.

It was Mama Killa’s destiny to be brought to rehearsal by an excited Sonia after discovering her around the time we were learning a routine evoking the atmosphere of the Andean mountains to El Condor Pasa by the Peruvian composer Daniel Alomía Robles, written in 1913 and based on traditional Andean folk tunes. Impressed by her smiling yet serene face and glamorous stage make-up, she was embraced immediately as Quicksilverdance’s good luck mascot and has been back stage for every performance since.

Mama Killa was the original celebrity VIP for the Inca Empire of the Central Andes during the 15th Century. She was the most important and most beautiful female Inca deity represented as a circle of silver, (reference to quickSILVERdance?!) and had a temple in Cuzco served by priestesses. She was the goddess of the moon and of time, the goddess of festivals, a defender of all women and in her spare time was the wife and sister of the most important male deity, Inti, the God of the Sun. You may have heard of him though as he has graced the flags of Peru, Uruguay and Argentina over the years.

Although Mama Killa is known for sometimes crying tears of silver, (perhaps she forgets the steps now and again!) we think that she would approve wholeheartedly of our love for dance and that spirit may have played a great role in her worship and observance of the various Inca festivals throughout the year.

The Inca made some beautiful objects and Mama Killa is carrying some of her own. She has a set of pan-pipes, the most emblematic instruments of Andean music. She is holding a reel full of wool. Cloth made out of an extremely fine wool from wild alpacas was valued more highly than precious metals although her brightly coloured dress and cloak are perhaps made from llama wool. Juggling home life with work life means that baby comes along too and perhaps we would all enjoy a refreshing cup of coca tea after class or maybe a good luck toast to our group with a glass of chicha! Cheers!!

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Our Featured Dancer: Angela Hardcastle

The February blog is a chat with our Quicksilver dancer, director, main choreographer and founder member, Angela Hardcastle.

Do you have a favourite style of dance?

Good dance! In the hands of a good choreographer, Ballet can be wonderfully expressive, and technically breathtaking, Modern very powerful, Tap and Jazz exciting and fun. Ballet was my principal training, so the physical vocabulary is in the body, but I enjoy dancing the older jazz styles, too. ‘Street’ isn’t me, somehow!

With your choreographer’s hat on, what inspires your routines?

The music: something in the rhythm and atmosphere that speaks to me, at the time. Comic possibilities also attract me a lot. Here, in Quicksilver, I get free range to choose music from any era and style, with widely differing musical colours, which is wonderful: anything that I feel will suit our dancers and our audience.

You are a director as well as a dancer, have you gained any insights into dance from this perspective?

Working as much with actors and singers as with dancers has reinforced the view imbibed with my very early training -that theatre is all one thing. Techniques may vary but attention to detail within the artistic whole, and truthful, clear expression are universally important.

What’s one piece of dance advice that you wish you had been given earlier?

Believe in yourself and be bolder.

What do you like most about performing?

After a lifetime of directing others, it is a joy to be dancing again, as part of a great company, and sharing our work with an audience.

Next month’s blog: Find out about our mascot, Mama Killa.

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January 2016

“Dancing through life!”

A Happy New Year from Quicksilver for 2016!

In 2015, I went to see the Broadway show, Wicked. It’s a great show! One of the toe-tapping musical numbers takes place in the sparkling Ozdust Ballroom and includes the phrase “Dancing through life!”

If you ask any of our Quicksilver dancers (and that includes those dancers behind the scenes!), we would say that we would describe ourselves as doing just that! We could relate our own life-long connection with dance to how important it is to our well-being, to be so bold as to say, absolutely essential to our constitution. We just can’t stop dancing!

If you have an eagerness within to get up and be part of a dance adventure that belonging to group like Quicksilver delivers then don’t be shy and take a step onto that dance floor. We will be there waiting for you!

This particular song is about recognising that “It’s just life!” and making sure that its possible to put aside your cares and worries and concentrate on the things that are important to you.
All best wishes for an exciting dance-filled 2016!

“Dancing Through Life…
…And the strange thing:
Your life could end up changing
While you’re dancing through!”

*Look forward to the February QS blog that will be sharing a chat with a featured dancer.*

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November 2015

Welcome to our very first Quicksilver blog written after what will probably be our last performance of 2015 but it feels like we have just begun to hit our stride.

On Monday 30th November we were lucky enough to perform in the Main Hall at The Avenue Club, St. Luke’s, The Avenue, Kew TW9 3NR. Situated in the next road to Kew Gardens, we danced in the redesigned former nave of St Luke’s Church built in 1889, with its atmospheric high ceilings, Victorian arches and pillars.

With a revised running order and additions to the spoken links, we were delighted to receive some most welcome positive written and verbal feedback.

“The programme has such variety and the dancing is so all-round accomplished with very much a Company feel to it.” – Audience member

“Would you recommend Quicksilver to others? Yes, Yes, Yes!!!”-Feedback form

Well done everyone involved and special thanks go to the backstage debut of our supportive, proficient and invaluable team member, Adrianne Gatland.

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Hello everyone!

Welcome to the new Quicksilver Blog!

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