Grantham, 11th January 2009
Grantham saw the launch of the WGUK 2009 competitive season, and the revealing of the majority of the UK's offerings. There were some remarkable first show performances in all classes this year, with historical high scores galore, proving that this is going to be another magnificent season for those making the effort to get to a show and watch. I dare you not to be entertained! There is something for everyone to enjoy with originality really shining through. A great British spectacle in full swing! Get to a show and support everyone, you will not regret it. You will do if you miss out on this season. It's going to be a cracker.
The first of the Guards onto the field of competition for Northern Academy were our very own NAPA Nippers, competing for their third consecutive year in the Cadet Class. This years show is performed to the Music from the legendary Musical Film Spectacular Mary Poppins. From the moment that they started, the crowd began to clap along and encourage our youngest group, and they responded brilliantly with a performance level that was a joy to watch. With so much still to go into the program, gaining a magnificent 3rd place position at their first show was more than we hoped for at this early stage. Designer/Instructor Debbie Nicholson said "They performed their hearts out and really did well to achieve what they did today. With more work to do, the sense of fun and enjoyment that we were looking for really shows. They were great!". In addition to a Bronze medal for the day, the NAPA Nippers also scored the highest in the Equipment Caption! Another first for the group in a first outing. Well done everyone associated with this group for an excellent achievement!
Also in their third year and next up were the Northern Academy A Class Guard. With a show entitled "DJ Number 9" the A Class Guard had been working very hard in the closed season in all areas of performance and boy did that show on their first outing! The music was racy and flowing and had a beat to it that you just can't help tapping your feet to, making the whole package an all round entertaining offering from this extremely talented young Guard. Gone were some of the nerves that were a challenge for this group in the past, and in was an all new approach to what will become one of the neutrals favorite programs for the 2009 season I am sure. Excellent body work, control and equipment work, coupled with some cleverly staged choreography has created a total package that the group really enjoy performing. There is a spark about this group that has not been there before, and with an outstanding 1st place overall in the class, they have started the season against some of the best A Class Guards in the country in fine style. Lots still to do and achieve, but with the new approach and training that is being focused on everyone involved are looking forward to a really enjoyable season, whatever that holds. Designer/Instructor Jason Wallace comments "I am more than pleased with this first outing and the members proved to themselves that they can perform and compete at this level. With the planned program evolution over the season I am delighted at what they achieved at Grantham!"
The last of the three Northern Academy Guards up were the Open Class with a show entitled "US" which pays tribute to human statues artists around the World, and uses the amazing music of Regina Spektor. Guard Director Nicola Garlick commented before the show "This years Open Class program is designed to build on the learning's from the previous years, and the team have put together both an enjoyable, but extremely challenging program for the members to enjoy performing. It is important for us here at Northern Academy that we build programs that are new, fresh and accessible, but at the same time, really push the members to achieve higher levels of performance each year. I am really pleased with the progress of this group on that front, and we will continue the learning process to develop and entertain at this level going forwards into the season". The moment that the Open Class started to come through the arena doors you could see that the characters that each are making their own were looking forward to entertaining a now packed Grantham. The design of the program was clearly improved on their 2008 achievements, and the responsibilities on each member greatly enhanced, which at times caused issues with equipment control, however, there was no mistaking the energy levels of each of the characterizations. They were individually intriguing but superbly well orchestrated within the ensemble moments throughout. It was clear that Northern Academy Open Class had been working very hard in the close season to produce this package, and were rewarded with 2nd place by tenths to a much more controlled performance by Mayflower, who took top honors for the day. Designer/Instructor Ian Kirk said "As a first outing I am really pleased with the performance levels, and with the program development plans it was important to get that right today. Lots of work to do within the control of equipment, but that is planned and so I am delighted with the members for what they have achieved today!".
NAPA would like to extend it's congratulations to all three guards on a truly wonderful start to the 2009 season and also to the days class champions Mayflower Cadets (Cadet Class winners), Guardsmen (Junior Class winners), our very own Northern Academy (A Class winners) and Mayflower Open (Open Class winners).
See you all
at Halifax on the 1st February! You don't want to miss it!
Images from the day