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StepUp is getting ready to take to the stage in SHOW STOPPERS!

360 students, from classes across 6 StepUp locations, are working hard to get ready for the annual end of year performance which will be held on Saturday the 23rd of June at Nord Anglia School!

This is StepUp’s 4th year running a large scale end of year production and each year it gets bigger and better!

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Past year show themes have included the Four Seasons in 2015, At the Movies in 2016 and Around the World last year in 2017.

This year’s theme of ‘Show Stoppers’ will see students across a wide range of genres of dance and gymnastics performing to hit songs from musicals and famous stage shows – from Westend to Broadway! There will be well-known favourites that will have the audience ready to jump up and dance in the aisles, and some lesser known gems too.

A lot of time and effort is dedicated to putting forward the best show we can and ensure a happy stage experience for our students.


Theme and Song Choices

The first step in preparing for our End of Year Show starts with picking the theme, this is decided between our teachers in team meetings as early as November and December. We then decide on the class grouping, often joining classes together from different locations into one dance, and then the all important song choice. Music is searched, cut, edited together and sound effects added to fit with our vision and ensure our timelines are met so each group gets the amount of stage time they deserve.

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Once show registrations have closed our show groupings and numbers are confirmed and the teachers get to start on the fun part – choreography!

Dances are choreographed, formations and staging patterns discussed and then we get to work in classes getting students ready to hit the stage!

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Our teachers search far and wide for the perfect costume for our students. Ordering from the UK, arranging tailor fittings for costumes to be made locally, trawling the markets and malls for the perfect accessory; hair piece, mask, face paint, brooch, jewels, shoes or crafting props to finish the look!

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Once costume fittings are completed and dances are learnt we need to set the stage. We are lucky enough to be back at Nord Anglia School in Al Barsha for this year’s show and will be able to take full advantage of their fantastic projection screen. Teachers will select images to reflect the theme or song for their performance, which will need to be set together with the music, and coordinated with the stage lighting, to really add to show experience for our audience and the onstage experience for our students.

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Photos from last year’s ‘Around the World’ show at Nord Anglia School

A lot goes into coordinating a successful show and making sure everything runs smoothly on the day, but there is nothing quite like the buzz of performing on stage, and seeing our students coming off after their performance beaming from ear to ear really does make it all worthwhile! We can’t wait to see how our students progress in their dances over the coming month ready for the stage, keep up the hard work!

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6 Tips to help you prepare for your upcoming dance examination!

Stepup Academy Ballet

The countdown is on to exam day! Maximise your practice time with our tips!

1. Take notes

Teachers are often repeating the same corrections for students class after class, reflect on the feedback you have received from your teachers and write them down. Did you need to remember to stretch your feet more in your sautes? Make sure you are turning out from the tops of the legs in plies or keep your shoulders down in port de bras? Remember your corrections and go away from class and practice them. Muscle memory requires repetition of the correct movement pattern before something can become habit, keep practicing and it will come! Not sure if you are still getting it correct? Find a mirror, class mate, or a phone that you can video yourself practicing with, so that you can check.

2. Perform

Performance makes up a large section of the marking scheme in dance examinations. Like most aspects of dance, performance – for most – comes with lots of practice. Make sure you are performing in every class the way you would in the exam, this way your teacher can give you suitable feedback on your performance and it will become a habit that will be more natural. Once performance becomes like second nature it is one less thing you will need to focus or be distracted by in your exam.

3. Musicality

Know your music inside out and back to front. Try listening to the music with your eyes closed and imagining the movement to the music. Pay special attention to the changes in music and the quality, imagine the movements reflecting the quality of the music (e.g. soft, sharp, energetic). Visualising the movement to the music is a small thing you can fit in to your day, even on days that you are physically very tired, that will really help your confidence in the examination. Try fit it in while you are travelling in the car or even whilst you are brushing your teeth and getting ready in the morning!

4. Take extra lessons

Talk to your teacher about options available to you to attend additional lessons in the lead up to examinations.
Don’t forget StepUp are also offering extra classes over the Spring Break – if you are staying in Dubai be sure not to miss them! Contact our team for the scheduling details on 

5. Look after yourself

Make sure you don’t burn out right before your exam. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, get lots of rest and try not to stress about the exam. Keep practicing and preparing for your exam, but don’t suddenly and drastically increase the amount of physical activity that you are doing right before your exam as this could cause you to get overtired and also increase your risk injury. Keep up the extra practice, but don’t forget to look after yourself too!

6. Smile and get ready to shine! 

Consider your examination as a performance, you are on stage the whole time you are in the exam room and the examiner wants to see you do your best! Be sure to act like you are ‘onstage at all times, remember no chatting, fidgeting and always standing up tall, even when it is not your turn to dance. Keep smiling and keep going, even if you make a small mistake, stand up tall, keep breathing and keep performing. You have worked hard for this so be sure to enjoy the performance and exciting examination experience!