I WAS mystified by your correspondent, Margaret Winchester, and her comments about the Ore Stage Festival in last week’s paper about what is, in my experience, the best dance festival around.
I am pleased to be able to say that I have attended the Ore Stage Festival since it started in 2008. In all that time, I have only ever heard people say they enjoyed it, and that it is one of the most friendly and pleasant festivals around.
Like your correspondent, I am always offended when choreographers and teachers include inappropriate steps and actions for their children to perform, and this does happen at some festivals. Of course, people’s ideas of what is inappropriate differ. Had my own daughter been required to perform any inappropriate steps, I would not have allowed her to perform that dance, and would have considered removing her from the dance school. A parent always has the final say in this matter. If your correspondent was offended by any of the routines, her issue is with the teachers and parents of those children, and not with the festival or it’s organisers.
In the baby classes that offended your correspondent, every child left the stage with a medal. In the classical class, only four dancers performed, so it would have been difficult for the adjudicator to award anything other than the first, second third and fourth places that are awarded in all other classes. In the non-classical class, after the gold, silver and bronze had been awarded, all the remaining competitors were awarded a medal. This is not something you see at any other festival I’ve been to, where children do leave the stage with nothing. In that respect, the Ore Stage Festival is much better than others I’ve been to.
The medals themselves cost a lot of money, and that money comes from the entry fees paid by competitors, and the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters who come to watch and buy a programme. Some of the groups have considerable numbers of members, and to give a medal to everyone on stage would increase the expenditure. That in turn would increase the costs of entry and attendance. It would also jeopardise the educational awards and bursaries that are made to dancers in recognition of their efforts at this excellent festival.
I will be back next year to watch the dancing; it remains one of the highlights of my year. Long may the Ore Stage Festival continue, and well done and thank you to Miss Cameron and Laura Mitchell for organising it each year.