M.A.D.D Boys Workshop review by participant Robert McAuley.

Robert McAuley review of MADD Boys Workshop Saturday 24th March 2018

I just wanted to say as a disclaimer before I got into details, I am NOT a dancer. Before today, I had not done any professional dancing (I’m better at acting and singing) so if you do that to a high standard, you may have enjoyed the day more than me.

If you don’t know, MADD is the Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama, and aims to provide young adults with the tools to go into the industry of musical theatre and dance over a three year course. Everyone on this boys only open day seemed very friendly and passionate about what they were doing; it would be a lovely environment to work in.

…. very friendly and passionate about what they were doing…

Now, onto the day itself. The first session was on contemporary dance, and we spent most of the time on learning a dance to “Saturday Night In The City” from The Wedding Singer. I think because it was the first thing we had done with this group of 25 strangers, the atmosphere wasn’t very relaxed and we might not have enjoyed it as much as we could. But by the end, it was a very fun session.

Next was the Musical Theatre workshop which unexpectedly and unfortunately (for me) was more dancing, this time to “Money To Burn” from Half A Sixpence. Although the leader of the dance was a choreographer for the West End named Andrew Wright, I found it almost impossible to follow and learn. I want to say this is because I’d never heard the song and I’m not a practiced dancer but they went through it very quickly (I even saw one current member of MADD struggling with parts). This was probably my least enjoyable session, but it wouldn’t be as bad as I say it is if you are a talented mover.

After lunch was ballet with a twist (yes, more dancing). We were performing a section from the second act of the Nutcracker when all the males were dancers from Russia. This was surprisingly fun and easier than the previous two dances, and everyone seemed much more relaxed. It’s also worth mentioning that instructors and students continuously mentioned that to be a professional dancer, you have to have a good base in ballet because everything stems from the basics of this.

The final two sessions I felt much better about due to the lack of dancing! We started with acting, which involved many exercises based on being able to concentrate fully on a performance and a small bit of improvisation. Everyone seemed to enjoy this, especially trying to create a short scene within 4 minutes! We finished off with singing two songs, “It Must Be Love” from Our House and “A Beautiful City” from Godspell, a song which I hadn’t heard before but was so beautiful, especially sung by a chorus of boys.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable day and would  be an amazing experience with high end workers of the theatre industry if you were hoping to become a dancer.

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