Celebrating love of dance

Dance teacher Linda Mills and her academy are back with their bi-annual production at the Guild Theatre, and to celebrate Mills’ 30 years in dance, it has been promised that this Shrek-themed dance extravaganza will be bigger than ever.

FEEDING A PASSION: Members of the Step Ahead Dance Academy prepare for their show tonight Picture: SINO MAJANGAZA

The production kicks off tonight and features dancers of all ages.

Mills said dance had always been her first love. She established her first Step Ahead academy in King William’s Town in 1987. Seven years ago she moved the academy to East London.

“I love dance. It’s been a passion of mine since I was five. I’ve always known that this is what I wanted to do. My interest and keeness have never waned.”

She said the Dance Extravaganza featured three main acts.

The first is an adaptation of the story of beloved Dreamworks Animation ogre character Shrek who is on a journey to save his beloved princess Fiona. There are many fairytale characters he meets along the way and the act ends with the wedding scene where Fiona becomes an ogre.

“Audience members will see Puss in Boots and the kittens, the Gingerbread Man, Little Red Riding Hood, to name a few. I initially wanted something more contemporary but my kids were bewildered when I mentioned my ideas. They were excited when Shrek came up. It’s up-todate and relatable to kids.”

The second act in the show is an amalgamation of dance genres. The academy’s 160 dancers all participate in the production, and they’ll entertain the audience with their hip-hop, ballet, Spanish, and modern dance moves.

Mills said close to half of her dancers were under the age of five.

Managing a team of this size, she explained, had been chaotic. “It’s hectic, but I’m stern. They understand me. And they love being on the stage anyway.”

The final act of the production will be a celebration of Mills’ 30 years in the dance industry.

Mills said members of the public could expect to be blown away. “Nobody will be bored. They will be dazzled by the amazing costumes, the music, as well as the backdrops. This year we’ve brought in some dialogue, and this is something we’ve never done before.”

“It is world-class fun for the whole family. Even two-year-olds will want to sit through the performances.”

The Dance Extravaganza is on at the Guild Theatre from tonight until Saturday evening. Tickets are R110 and are available from Computicket.

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