Dance drama success

03:01, May 29 2013
Stage Challenge
Tragic performance: Flames dance around the sleeping occupants of a house in Kaikoura High School’s Stage Challenge performance. From left, Emma Rae, Tammy SmithKerr, Georgia Cotter and Savannah HoleManawatu. Asleep on the floor are Milly Keri-Keepa, left, and Stacey Guthrie.

A dance drama performed by pupils from Kaikoura High School won second place in the RAW Division of the Christchurch ASB 2013 Stage Challenge and J Rock.

The school also picked up nine awards for production aspects.

First place went to Burnside High School. Darfield High School was third.

The Kaikoura group, coached by teacher Sarah Holswich, performed The Hero I Love, a dance drama about firefighters which has a tragic end.

The story opened with a couple, deeply in love, dancing together. They are interrupted by a fire call and the man has to rush off, leaving his girlfriend worried and anxious about his safety. At the scene, the hero is among the firefighters who run into the flames to rescue a child in the house.

The child survives, but the hero dies as the fire burns ever more fiercely. The house collapses and he is found in the rubble. The performance ends with a "ghost dance" between the lovers, with the hero drifting off stage.


Mrs Holswich said 51 students were involved in the production - 47 performers, one who introduced them and three crew who operated the lighting.

Work began on the production in the first week of this school year, when students were invited to register their interest and a theme was chosen. The next few weeks were spent on putting a story together, choreographing the dances and selecting music.

After five weeks this was all finalised and the whole cast was rehearsing.

The RAW division of the Stage Challenge is one in which no sets are required - it's all about dance, Mrs Holswich said. Last year it attracted seven entries and this year there were five.

"Our goal this year was to get the prize for choreography, because it carries the most points, and we did it," she said.

Living in a town with a volunteer fire brigade, many students at the high school have a personal interest in the subject chosen for this year's production.

"We all know someone in the fire brigade," Mrs Holswich said. "Our head boy Zach Cuff, is a member.

"One rehearsal was just about to start when the beeper went off and he just had to run out as fast as he could."

The students were lent rescue overalls by Kaikoura fire chief Ian Walker which helped make their production even more like the real thing. Other assistance came from the Kaikoura Lions Club and Kaikoura Seaward Lions Club which helped with the cost of hiring a bus to get to Christchurch.

A public performance of the show was put on a week before the competition and the gold coin entry donation was used to treat the participating students to pizza.

The nine awards picked up by Kaikoura High School were:

Three Awards of Excellence for performance skill, for choreography, and for health, life skills and creative thinking,

The Canterbury Community Trust Award of Excellence for concept,

Southern Trust Award of Excellence for drama,

The Edge Award of Excellence for soundtrack,

ASB Award of Excellence for school community,

Ministry of Youth Development Award of Excellence for environmental or social awareness,

5 + A Day Award of Excellence for school initiative.

Kaikoura Star