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Dance Society 25th Anniversary

UCL Dance Society celebrated 25 years of strutting its stuff with a party at the Jeremy Bentham Room on Saturday February 12.  Founder Je Henwood was at the event.

"It's hard to believe that 25 years have passed since I begged, borrowed but definitely didn't steal £100 from the union to put on the first Dance Soc show in 1987. To be back at UCL celebrating a quarter of a century of dance and meeting some of the thousands of students who have enjoyed being part of such a vibrant society, was a real honour.

Current president Philippa Horne contacted me back in October asking if I would like to get involved in a 25th anniversary event and together we attempted to contact as many past members as possible.

The evening was a huge success and Philippa invited me to kick off the event with a short speech. This was followed by a showcase of work from the last twelve months including some hip hop, contemporary, tap and jazz and a special rendition of a piece, choreographed by me, from the original show, Got Rhythm?! I worked with nine dancers from the 2011 society to recreate my contemporary piece There are Bad Times Just Around the Corner by Noel Coward.

To prove that there is life in the old dog yet, I travelled to London with A Handbag of Harmonies, the choir I have choreographed for the past eight years. Sharing my Terpsichorean celebration we performed a selection of songs from our current repoertoire including Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, Fame! and a medley of Beatles songs.

Time to cut the cake, catch up with some old friends and make some new.

Original members included Kirsty Taylor (nee Thornton), Suky Pether, Stacey Pether (nee Shippey), Jayne Rumsey (nee Griffiths), Jo Chate and Ruth Sealy.

Ruth went on to be president in 1988. Other alumni included Sam Ogunsalu (1988), Tamsin Hellier (president 1996/7), Tim Chew, vice president 2006/07, Nicola McCartney (co-president 2004/05), Emma Cavalitto (co-president 2005/06), Victoria Davis (2006/07), Helen Scott (president 2009/10), Chiara Petrosellini (President 2007/2008) and Catherine Cox (president 2008/2009).

The society has gone from strength to strength over the years thanks to the dedication of those students who have taken on the mantle of president or other committee posts. It is now one of the union's largest societies and its members regularly win inter-university competitions. I believe they now even have an office! I am so proud to have been there right at the beginning and so proud of everyone who has taught classes, booked teachers, mounted shows and entertained since then. Long live the UCL Dance Society!"

If you are a former member of UCL Dance Society and would like to help archive the past 25 years and receive information about future alumni events, email JoHenwood@talktalk.net.

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