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Still dreaming after 35 years of dance success

Dare to dream, was the latest production by the Gibraltar Academy of Dance, celebrating 35 years of dance.

Producing hundreds of dancers for more than three decades the success of the school is as much about dance as it is about teaching and preparing young girls to become well rounded members of our community.

Principal Paulette Finlayson has always believed this to be just as importance as the dance itself.

The production ‘Dare to Dream’, an original work by Ms Finlayson, was staged at the John Mackintosh Hall and proved a mixed bag of new choreographies with traces of previous pieces from earlier productions all reworked for the young dancers who now make up the academy.

And this was the beauty of this production for in the pieces where there were echoes from the past they remained as fresh as when they were first presented. Today’s young dancers, some experiencing the stage for the first time, as excited, passionate and committed, as all the dancers who have come before.

The stage was filled with dancers of all ages.

The show was simple with effective lighting throughout. It needed nothing more than the beautifully created backdrops to accompany the dance.


On an empty stage Act I and II opened with a series of messages from past pupils paying tribute to their teacher Ms Finlayson and the academy highlighting how their ballet training had helped them become the young men and women they are today. Most of those featured are either training or working in the profession and this certainly underpins the success of the academy in its 35 year history.

Mostly, they showed their gratitude for helping them “live their dreams”, instilling in them lessons of commitment and discipline, whilst affording them life-long memories and friendships.

The show was beautifully pieced together. The storyline simple depicting the journey of a young girl introduced to the world of ballet... the foundation of dance. It is a world where the studio, the music, the costumes, the make up... the passion, the dreams all play a part and come together... embarking on a journey where everything is possible if one dares to dream.

Ms Finlayson’s musicality always impresses me. Her knowledge of music is vast. She proved it again in this production – Sean Saint, Delibes, Webber, Penguin Cafe, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Marquez – can it get any better?

Like the appreciative audience on the night I enjoyed all the dances – the choreographies by Ms Finlayson but I must highlight ‘Waltz of the Hours’, the beautifully crafted ‘Finding My Soul’ and ‘Light Another Candle’ jointly with Jordan Bautista, and the mesmerising ‘Dance to the beat of your heart’ choreographed by Jolene Gomez.

But my favourite, I must admit, was a piece created several years back – and which in its original version with flowing white dresses still comes to life in my mind. Where the music and the dancing become one - both exhilarating and breathtaking. ‘I finally know who I was meant to be’ choreographed by Ms Finlayson is performed to the music ‘Danzon No.2’ by Marquez... on this occasion the costumes were in red. This is a dance worthy of any stage and one which I could watch again and again.

This was a night of solid dance with plenty of fire in ones belly.

Congratulations to everyone for a worthy 35th anniversary celebration.

Pics:John Napoli

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