Better When I’m Dancing

Usually my blog is about running, but this time I’ve chosen to write about a recent local dance show because it was just so fantastic… I had to put it down into words!

Fame Factory Dance Academy based in Ashford, Surrey performed Better When I’m Dancing last week at Magna Carta Arts Centre. My 7 year old daughter Izzy trains once a week with Fame Factory and I had seen snatches of her dance moves at home as she is always asking me (or Amazon music) to play Little Mix, True Colours (J Timberlake version, obvs), Hairspray or Shania Twain and showing me how high she can kick, usually in the kitchen.

So although I had a vague idea of what her class had been practising, I really had underestimated the sheer amount of hard work and dedication that had gone on in that humble church hall and Staines Rugby Club over the past few months! As I ironed the umpteenth name label into Izzy’s jazzy costumes, I wondered what the show would be like.

My mum and I took our seats on the Friday evening at Magna Carta, and from curtain-up to the grand finale the stage was an explosion of colour, energy and professionalism!! I wasn’t prepared for a literally show-stopping performance from such a wide range of age groups. From the little ones in their penguin suits up way past their bedtime – yet full of energy and enthusiasm – oozing cuteness and confidence in front of bright lights and a full house, to the older girls’ golden tassled rendition of Show Me How You Burlesque (WOW!), every single girl and boy gave it their absolute best. Admittedly I don’t know too much about dancing but you know a good thing when you see it.

Super well done and thank you to the teachers and directors Nicky, Diane, Carrie and Jade who evidently work their dance socks off to get the children and young adults to such a standard. They all had a lot of choreography to remember and a lot of costume/hair changes, some even singing as well as dancing, but everyone smiled throughout and owned that stage.

I had a tear in my eye several times (and not just from the wine) as every act engaged with the audience with dazzling, beautiful and funky costumes. The routines were so well-rehearsed and varied… Gloria Estefan’s latin-pop conga, the toe-tapping country cowgirls, the mini James Bond doing the Floss, graceful ballerinas contrasting with dramatic Coldplay, it was entertaining in every way. A big shout out to the Tap and Chat ladies who glittered in their dance shoes – you were fab. The lighting and sound was also flawless and slick. In fact, I was rapt from start to finish.

It was great to see modern, tap and ballet mixed up with sports acro, singing and boys’ groups. And to perform it three nights in a row is a big task. As a parent, it’s fantastic to see the progression that my daughter could make at Fame Factory. Both mum and I noticed that everyone looked like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves (literally, ‘better when I’m dancing’) as they performed, disguising the effort and concentration like professionals.

We also took away that there is no one ‘type’ of dancer – all heights, shapes and sizes can perform with poise, grace, rhythm and power – boys and girls. If you read my blog regularly or follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I’m really behind the initiatives to get people more active and break down the barriers to participation. This made me think that more children should give dancing a go. Basically, you don’t have to be Little Mix to pull off Power!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, you’re a credit to your dance school and I’m sure your teachers are immensely proud of you all. If it was your mission to make ME want to get up and dance… then you totally smashed it.

We can’t wait for the next show! Keeeeep dancing 🙂


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