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NPTC’s Visionary Approach to Dance

Over the past decade, the Department of Dance at Neath Port Talbot College has grown from strength to strength and yet again the results are excellent with a 100 per cent pass rate on both the A Level and BTEC courses.

 

NPTC offers a huge range of dance courses including specialist teaching in contemporary dance, ballet, jazz, tap, choreography and other dance-related disciplines.  The courses have an excellent reputation for producing high class dancers from courses such as the A Level in Dance, BTEC Extended Diploma in Performing Arts, BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts and GCSE Dance.  In 2012, the Department piloted the first BTEC Dance Company called One Vision, and the students toured to the Gwyn Hall, Pontardawe Arts Centre and performed at the College’s in-house theatre Nidum Arts Centre. 

 

In recent years, students have progressed onto the countries best higher education courses for dance.  Universities include Bath Spa, Roehampton, Middlesex and Kingston.  Many students have gone onto study for their Bachelor of Arts degrees at vocational dance conservatoires such as Trinity Laban, Body Works, LIPA and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and some are now performing professionally. 

 

NPTC student, Cerys James, left College last year after achieving excellent results on the GCSE, BTEC and A Level Dance courses.  She has gone onto dance with the National Youth Dance Company Wales and is now studying at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.  She states:

 

‘My time at NPTC was incredible.  The lecturers not only taught me the skills I needed to get into a dance school, but also the knowledge and ability that enabled me to stay there.  Everyday I am reminded of the fundamental dance skills that remain the core of my technique and I remember the joy that NPTC brought into my dancing.  I am proud to have trained at such an excellent College.’

 

Currently, Craig Coombs is the Subject Leader for Dance and over the past eight years he has worked hard to build a solid dance department, which now involves a dedicated team of dance lecturers.  He enthuses:

 

‘Being a lecturer at NPTC is one of my proudest achievements to date.  After completing my training at Laban and then continuing to dance on the contemporary dance circuit, I am now able to bring my wealth of dance and educational knowledge to my students.  My own professional development has been key to the Department’s success too.  After achieving a Master’s Degree from Roehampton University last year, I was able to return to the College with an up to date approach to dance studies.  I always encourage my students to fully explore their dancing bodies in order to contribute not only to their own development as a dancer, but also to the dance industry itself.’

 

Mr Coombs, aged 30, once shared a stage with Kylie Minogue and was a semi-finalist on Got to Dance in 2010.  He has devised a diverse programme of dance activities in addition to the many courses on offer at NPTC.  This includes X Dance, which incorporates a number of specialist dance training classes and theatre visits throughout the year for the students.  He also co-ordinates the boys’ dance programme at the College known as BLAST, which has proven to be an enormous hit with the male dance students performing in over 25 venues in 2010. 

 

Of course, it is no secret that the dance department has rapidly established a strong reputation in performance circles with thanks to the success of LIFT Dance Company, created in 2005 by Craig Coombs and Vicky Burroughs, Head of School: Creative Visual and Performing Arts.  LIFT celebrated its tenth performance this year with a performance gala at Swansea’s Taliesin Arts Centre.  Andrew Davies, Chair of the National Dance Company Wales’ said after the 2012 showcase:

 

‘What a wonderful performance LIFT Dance Company gave at the Taliesin recently.  I have seen a great deal of modern dance over the last 20 years or so and it was great to see young dancers perform so well, with such interesting and enjoyable choreography.  The College has every right to be very proud of what the lecturers and the young dancers have achieved.’ 

 

Nia Collier currently co-ordinates the ballet programme at NPTC and one of the highlights of the last academic year was the continuing partnership between NPTC and Ballet Cymru.  The dance students spent a week rehearsing and creating with the company dancers, which culminated in a sensational performance at Swansea’s Grand Theatre last June.  Miss Collier states:

 

‘Working with Ballet Cymru has been fantastic for the students.  They have learnt so much off the professional dancers and this is going to help them with their own dance technique.  I am already looking forward to next year’s collaboration with the company.’ 

 

In September, NPTC will see a brand new intake of dance students; so watch this space.