The theme of this year’s Marlborough Dance Festival was songs from film and TV - but to the blessed relief of parents there was no Let It Go from the Disney's ubiquitous hit Frozen.
Instead, 16 dance troupes from 13 schools took the audience at Theatre on the Hill through two 90-minute performances of history of Hollywood, from Calamity Jane and Half a Sixpence to Harry Potter and 2016’s hit animation Sing on Saturday.
After a cockney knees-up from Chilton Foliat’s Consider Yourself, from Oliver!, the audience were treated to a dance by the youngest performers, as Marlborough St Mary’s infants interpreted Tommy Steele’s Flash, Bang, Wallop from Half a Sixpence, featuring a bunch of cheeky jokes they won’t understand until they’re much older.
Easton Royal donned checked shirts and cowboy boots for the theme from Footloose, and there was more of the same from St Katharine’s, who performed The Deadwood Stage from Calamity Jane.
Oare Primary urged the audience to Rock Around the Clock, while Ogbourne Primary went Ghostbusting, with some very scary makeup, and Burbage Primary took us Singin’ in the Rain.
Great Bedwyn brought the theme from Fame back to the St John’s stage, and Shalbourne Primary School channelled Bollywood for Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire.
There was plenty of animal print for Aldbourne Lower School’s Lion King medley, and Preshute Primary turned 21 dancers into a dragon for Something Wild from the 2016 reboot of Pete’s Dragon.
Marlborough St Mary’s juniors gave us one of two interpretations of the Harry Potter theme. Year 9 girls from St John’s also chose the franchise for their ribbon-twirling performance inspired by The Quidditch Match, while St John’s Marlborough boys performed zombie-inspired breakdance to a pounding dance beat.
Full marks to the youngster from Baydon Primary School, who introduced the flamenco Malagueña Salerosa from Kill Bill Vol 2 in Spanish, and to Aldbourne Upper School, who incorporated basketball dribbling into their baller and cheerleader inspired medley from High School Musical.
Finally the entire cast of more than 200 boys and girls joined together to perform Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande’s Faith from last year’s Sing – a routine they’d only had a couple of hours to practise.
Six weeks of rehearsals paid off for all the performers who, when they weren’t on stage, were clapping and toe-tapping along to the routines of the other schools. And there wasn’t an Anna or a Queen Elsa in sight.