How do you celebrate 50 years of teaching dance in Whanganui? You put on a show, of course.
Sharyn Underwood School of Dance presents Moving with the Times, a dance spectacular at the Royal Wanganui Opera House on April 10 and 11.
Sharyn has been teaching dance for 53 years, but she has had a Whanganui studio for 50 years.
"I started a Whanganui studio in 1971. Geoff [Sharyn's husband] was transferred from his job in New Plymouth to Whanganui and we bought a house, part of which was suitable for transforming into a studio. I first started teaching in the big lounge of the house."
She started with about seven students and it grew from there.
Sharyn also taught at the Wanganui East School hall, which burned down so she shifted to the Wanganui East Community Hall.
"I was teaching between there and the home studio, then shifted to Amdram maybe 30 years ago."
She still uses Amdram as well as her purpose built studio in Great North Rd, built about 26 years ago, next to their home.
"The students love it because it's their space, and it's away from everything else."
The show this year has no story, but the theme is time.
"The best thing about the show is that I have asked my past students overseas who are still dancing to choreograph a dance for my students. So Mark Lace [London] has choreographed a dance, Sarah Seville [London] has choreographed a dance, Nikita McDonald in Sydney... Joana [Simmons] has choreographed dances.
"I asked Mel Holly to choreograph a dance and she said, 'Yes, I'm choreographing a dance, but not for your students. Is it all right if I ask if any of the past students want to join?' She put it on Facebook and there was massive interest, right back from my original students."
Mel's choreography has attracted about 29 past students who want to dance for Sharyn's show. Sharyn does not want to see the dance until the first performance.
The 29, including Mel, are coming to Whanganui from all over the country. Sharyn's first pupil, Ann-Marie Harper, will be dancing in the show. Some of the participants won't have danced for a long time.
"Some I haven't seen for years," says Sharyn. "Mel made up the dance and she has been giving Zoom lessons to all the people involved. On a Monday night Tori [Rivers] has been taking a big class here and I teach at Amdram, so I come home, all the cars are still here, and I think no, I'm not going in there: I don't want to see this dance."
Mark, Sarah and Nikita have provided tutorials for the students.
Sharyn's advanced students Lauren Phillips, Abby Squire and Emma Henare are helping with the studio work. "Between us all we've got a show!"
The dancers are all 10 and older, with no juniors performing.
"It's just full-on dance," says Sharyn.
What: Moving with the Times
When: Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11, 5pm.
Where: Royal Wanganui Opera House
Tickets: Adult $18, senior $15, student $15. Tickets can be purchased from Royal Wanganui Opera House Booking Office or online at https://RWOH.sales.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/8471