For some 50 Middlesex University dance students their final year show at the Arts Depot in Finchley signalled a coming of age in their fledgling dance careers – an experience which for many has helped shape them as dancers.
The students received five months intensive training from their expert tutors, guest artist Scarlett Perdereau, and legendary New York choreographer Robert Cohen in the build up to the five dance show in north London.
Final year dance performance student Roseanna Polley said: “Working with Robert Cohen was the chance of lifetime – the guy is a legend. We all started off at different levels, but the training and rehearsals have made us stronger, we look all together as one level of ability.”
For dance studies student Isabella Efstathiou the training and performance was a “phenomenal experience”. While Bryony Cooper added: “It’ll be something I’ll never forget.”
Fellow student Bryony Billingham said: “The experience can only enhance you as a performer. I noticed such an improvement in my own dancing with the intensive training we’ve received. This is the main turning point in our careers.”
The show was also seminal for Lithuanian student Urté Skrodenyté who was given a unique opportunity for a dance she’s choreographed, called ‘Without’, to be performed. Brought up on Lithuanian folk dancing, coming to Middlesex three years ago was Urté’s first experience of contemporary dancing.
Urté Skrodenyté said: ''It is very exciting to see my piece performed at the Arts Depot - I am very grateful for such an opportunity. I appreciate everything the University has offered me, the experience has definitely helped me grow as a performer and choreographer. It was more than a pleasure working with the most amazing teachers - this will not be forgotten.''
The performances included Robert Cohen’s emotional dance ‘Stabat Mater’, based on the 13th Century hymn of the same name, depicting Mary’s sorrow at Jesus’ death and sacrifice.
In the programme Robert Cohen said: “The motivation for choreographing Stabat Mater came from the first line. I was deeply moved by the concept of actively standing still and sorrowing. For me all the women represent parts of Mary’s experience rather than being attendants to her.”
View an album of the dances on Facebook.