Arts Reviews

NU Dance Showcase: Turning Points @ Nottingham Lakeside Arts

This year marks the 3rd time that NU Dance has won ‘Best Overall Club’ at the biggest inter-university competition in England. They are, by all accounts, a pretty big deal, but back home on Uni Park Campus is where they continue to do us proud. Watching them perform their annual dance show, this time themed on turning points in history, it was not hard to see why they have such success. The NU Dancers are vibrant, multi-talented and exhibit amazing expertise and they have a great laugh doing it: it is this infectious group energy that makes their annual show an absolute must see.

As the bleachers filled at Lakeside Arts this afternoon, there was a noticeable buzz of anticipation in the air as parents, friends and students waited for the lights to go down. The performance began with a clip showing the Natural History Museum – soon the stage was swamped with dancers brandishing torches, who then began to bop along to the theme tune from The Big Bang Theory by The Barenaked Ladies, in a bid to dance us into the creation of the world. This initial creative flair was a joyous taste of what was to come. Throughout the show this collaboration between popular culture, musical revolutions and history proved a daring success.

“The performances of the dance leads will blow you away, from lifts to twists, it was a haunting performance to watch”

As NU Dance’s performance is so richly varied, the highlights from the show are numerous. The ‘Fire of London’ performance, where ballet dancers flawlessly re-enacted the 1666 tragedy, springs immediately to mind as technically and aesthetically wonderful; the mixture of beautiful costumes and ethereal dance ensured the audience was transfixed. This scene then transitioned into a contemporary dance performance, where a booming voiceover educated us about the origins of the Illuminati and contemporary dancers sassily strutted to a techno-fusion of Queen B’s ‘Formation’.

Next NU Dance mixed it up again, plunging us into a flashback of secondary school nostalgia with an Evanescence track, where dancers performed fluid ballet to simulate the horror of 1700’s asylums. Here the performances of the dance leads will blow you away, from lifts to twists, it was a haunting performance to watch. From this snapshot alone it is evident that this is no ordinary dance show – nothing was done in half measures, every move was intensely felt. With 30 points of history represented through a harem of group and solo performances, NU Dance’s ‘Turning Points’ can be best described as a feature film brought to life by several stomping feet – and it was brilliant.

“This performance was not simply a show but a celebration”

If you’re reading this and you’re not sure if the dance choices seem up your street, wait until you see the second half. From Gatsby to break dancing and The King of Pop’s ‘Thriller’, and a quick pit-stop for an exuberant tap dancing performance to Justin Timberlake, there is something for every viewer. There’s a sense that you learn as you watch (if you’re doing a history degree is definite ‘research’), this performance was not simply a show but a celebration; of history, dance and film as well as the groups achievements this year.

Fancy a break from revision? Catch NU’s Annual Showcase this evening (Saturday 30th) at 19.30 or Sunday 1st May.


Sophia Harris

‘Turning Points’ is running at Nottingham Lakeside Arts until Sunday 1st May. For more information see here.

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