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UEL dance talent takes centre stage at COLL!DE

COLL!DE is part of annual UEL performing arts festival FUEL

An impressive array of talent took centre stage at Stratford Circus during COLL!DE – the University of East London’s (UEL) annual dance festival.

A series of powerful pieces explored themes ranging from police brutality to how the brain works to the immense stresses of peer pressure. Dancers displayed their skills in styles that included hip-hop, krump and bharata natyam. 

The finale was a piece performed by UEL dance group Collective, which highlighted the benefits of fitness for young people. Created by noted choreographer Kenrick Sandy, the work is part of a collaboration between the University’s dance and public health programmes.

COLL!DE is part of UEL’s FUEL performing arts festival. The event showcases the University’s talented dance and music students as well as those studying drama, applied theatre and performance.

Dr Laura Robinson, lecturer in dance at UEL, said, “'FUEL is a fantastic showcase for our performing arts students. 

“COLL!DE, in particular, allows our ‘Dance: Urban Practice’ students to demonstrate a breadth of skills across choreography, technique and arts management.

“In many ways, the showcase is a sign of the great things we expect of our students as they move forward in their careers.”

COLL!DE is produced and promoted by second-year dance students, but performers and choreographers span all years of the programme.

Student Jack Manley, a second-year dance student from Bournemouth, said the festival was a “brilliant opportunity” for dancers to be seen by both industry insiders and fellow performers within the University community.

He said, “It’s such a great platform and a great opportunity for you to perform and get out there and network.”

Jack praised his studies and lecturers in the ‘Dance: Urban Practice’ programme. 

He said, “We learn everything from how to dance to nutrition, anatomy and history. We learn the business and arts management side of things.

“We learn how to be an artistic mind, a creative thinker, how to create our own pieces. They don’t make us dancers – they make us artists.”

Third-year student Donae Willis, from Birmingham, said a placement he did with Collective at the start of the year helped him hone his promotion skills. Donae said the experience would be a huge benefit as he makes his way in the world after graduation.

“I’m feeling great today,” Donae said when asked about performing in COLL!DE.

“It’s a great feeling to get up on stage and be in front of people and perform.

“With COLL!DE, there are all different kinds of pieces. It gets you out there performing. It gives you the right mentality and confidence. You just get out there and you have fun.”