College’s talented students hot foot their way into prestigious dance final

YOUNG dancers are hard at work rehearsing for the final of a prestigious competition after wowing judges on the way to winning a hotly contested live heat.

The year 1 and 2 dance, performing arts and enrichment students from Richard Taunton Sixth Form College in Southampton will take to the stage at the Guildhall in Portsmouth on May 3 for the Dance Live! final after winning their heat against eight other schools and colleges from the region at the same venue.

The team, which also won their heat’s best costume award, performed A Life Without Art, a dance choreographed by students and teachers Lisa Fernandez-Adams and Kirsty Dunne. It tells the story of a world deprived of art and then relates the colour and joy of discovering it. The routine uses props and an LED background featuring a virtual art gallery to make its point.

Mrs Fernandez-Adams said: “This year we set ourselves a personal challenge as a creative team to create a dance different to our nine previous years’ entries, we wanted to present a dance that shared joy and light after the darkness that Covid has presented us all. We are delighted that this was so well received and enjoyed by the judges.

“This academic year has presented many challenges thanks to Covid-19 and meant we did not have a rehearsal with our full team until the performance day.

“But despite this our team of dancers and crew produced a beautiful performance that we are incredibly proud of. We look forward to performing the piece again in the final and in sharing the joy of dance with many other schools and colleges.

“We’ve been entering both Dance Live and Rock Challenge for ten years and we have had success in one or the other every year. That’s a testament to the hard work that goes into giving the students a professional grounding in performing and setting high standards for them so that they really make the most of their talent and passion for the arts.”

One judge said in their feedback: “Lovely concept idea, a great choice and it has educational value too. Loved this theme, a really cohesive well thought out piece. I thought the way you told this story and even gave us a twist or a surprise ending was nothing short of masterful.”

Now the team are working hard on refining their dance for the final against seven other teams from across the region. The competition’s eight heats have featured more than 80 school and college dance teams.

The college, which was recently graded ‘Good’ after an Ofsted inspection, has a well-established track record in producing young dancers and performers, with previous alumni going on to perform with major dance organisations including Rambert and studying at the Royal Academy of Dance, Laban Conservatoire and prestigious dance universities such as Chichester and Falmouth.

Read the full Ofsted report at