Wow, what a day! The South West Regional Final, held on Friday the 15th in the Barbican theatre was truly a fantastic and unique experience.

The day was kicked off by a small icebreaker, with all participants, staff, shadows and coaches on stage saying hello to everyone, shaking hands, and staring each other in the face whilst attempting to clap bounce and count! Next up was some spoken word by our very own South West coaches and shadows. This was a massively important performance for me especially as it was my first!!! We had poetry about first love, beauty and the beast, bad ass little sisters and the ‘joys’ of being unemployed!

 

The first workshop of the day was led by the one and only Jonny FluffyPunk. In groups we all made and performed a short list poem of ‘thank you’. The thanks ranged from the heart felt to sarcastic and satirical thank you! Next Jonny got us all practicing the alphabet by bringing out our inner ninja’s with us all shouting out letters and punching or kicking the air!

Through the day all groups had rehearsal times in separate spaces to get their pieces to perfection. Gina, the south west Apples and Snakes co-ordinator made a open mic session. WOW. I was blown away by everyone’s talent and just how brave and very cool each person was! We had beautiful singing, amazing beat boxing, poetry of all kinds and rapping. The atmosphere was brilliant, with everyone cheering and applauding those who took part. It really was a great show of the diverse talent amongst us that day.

 

THEN…Dinner time hit. Noodles were passed around in their boxes as we slurped and chatted. The evening was upon us. The room was a mixture of excitement, nerves and passion as we all took our places in the auditorium. The parents and audience arrived and soon the lights were down.  Elvis, was our host for the evening and we were all excited to hear the judges(Hannah Silva,  Callum Mitchell, Steve Murray) perform. It really got the crowd going!

All five groups are: Voices for Change, Stoke Damerel, Sir John Hunt, Brooke Green and Tor Bridge High.

The first set of performances was the Truce round.  Each team had great new flavours of voices and different kinds of choreography, sounds and stories. About what Truce meant to them. After the quick interval was the ‘free’ round. Each group brought a new theme to talk about, from dreams, taking chances, friendship, fears and family. We had breakdancing, beat boxing, rhythm and rhyme and lines of words that blew you away, made you laugh and made you cry.

Each team really worked hard and all their efforts were rewarded by each winning a trophy for different things. The past months with Shake The Dust have been challenging, memorable, inspiring and creative and everyone involved has been changed in a positive way by Shake The Dust!

Good luck to Stoke Damerel who will be going on to London to represent us in the South West!! May the Poetry be with you!