Press Report


Tiverton Gazette


August 16th 2005

Up The Narrow Staircase
"The Joy of Innocent Talent..."

  The joy of The Willow Tree each year is seeing the progression made by the infants struggling with co-ordination and in awe of the lights and audience, to willowy and enviably fit teenagers tackling complex routines.

All the children are challenged and no one is excluded, a notable lesson to us all.

Up The Narrow Staircase started with the younger groups singing and demonstrating all styles of dance and progressed to the seniors where some exceptional talent was evident.  A well received addition was a pas de deux performed by Luke Hurtle, now training at The Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and Ella Brown, now at The Royal Academy of Dancing.  As ever, much of the choreography was exciting enough to have the onlooker on the edge of the seat, feeling cheated at not being able to undertake such feats of physical excellence.

The singing this year seemed to stand out.  As well as talented soloists, large groups of children and teenagers executed songs in perfect harmony and a wide range of styles, enhanced of course by the contributions of Tuxedo.

The confidence needed by some of the younger participants who delivered solos with competence and obvious pleasure is a credit to teachers at the centre.

  Having attended this event for several years now, I can honestly say that I thought this the best so far.  It brought home the knowledge that we constantly under-estimate the abilities of our children and how lucky we are having such an outstanding facility on the doorstep.

The quality of achievement is particularly notable in the light of the relocation problems the centre experienced this year and the disruption that ensued for staff and students.  They are clearly comfortable in their new home at Tiverton High School and a valuable contributor to the specialist art status of the school.

It comes as no surprise to discover that five of this year's graduates have secured places at London dance schools, but it is disappointing to think that two may not be able to take up this opportunity as funding is a problem.

Once again, a big thanks to Irene Holland and her staff for providing such an uplifting experience.

By Ali Lucas