Wizard a colourful spectacle

By Paul Brooks

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All 160 students of the Shirley McDouall School of Dance turned the Opera House into a colourful spectacle.

Staged over two nights, the show celebrated the school's 60th anniversary.

Choreographed by principal Melissa Tate, the production used the soundtrack of the 1939 film that starred Judy Garland as Dorothy.

Lip synching Judy's voice but adding a grace and style of her own was Leila Collinson. The packed Opera House loved her!

Accompanying "Dorothy" and adding a dimension of fun, was Kennedy Tate as Toto.

We know the story of the Wizard of Oz, but this was about people: the vast range of dancers, from oh-so-cute little ones to gifted, graceful older girls - and a couple of young gentlemen.

Others played adult roles - Carey Knapp, Andrea Harper and Mike Street.

The show started with a hoedown and after a parade of fluffy ducks, little poppies and school children the story began, told in a sequence of dances with bluebirds and a rainbow ballet followed by a dark, dramatic storm that scooped up Dorothy and Toto and deposited them in Oz.

Dorothy went on to meet Scarecrow (Hannah Lewis), Tin Man (Anna Durning) and Lion (Niamh Hogan), all superb dancers. Adelaide Hodges (the Wicked Witch) and Elena Forlong (the Good Witch) made appearances throughout. Bunny rabbits, poppies and soldiers made an appearance until everyone gathered for the finale.

The costumes must get a big mention - they were magnificent!

Overall a show that Melissa Tate and Shirley McDouall must be proud of.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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