Company director Marian McDermott established One Step Beyond (OSB) in 2008. As well as to encourage young people to actively participate and enjoy dance, her aim was to foster talented and motivated dance students in the hope that some of them may continue towards careers in contemporary dance.
Already this mission has become a reality with former OSB members in full time contemporary dance training at Unitec. Grace Woollett graduated with a Bachelor of performing and Screen Arts majoring in Contemporary Dance in 2012. Grace is well on track for an outstanding career in dance. She currently teaches and choreographs for OSB. She has had several of her choreograpies accepted for Tempo Dance Festival. Her work, We Caught Me was performed by OSB to critical acclaim in Scotland at the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival. Grace was awarded the best female performer prize at the Short and Sweet Dance Festival 2014 and Mother Jaw a work in progress she co-choreographed with Jahra Regar won the Judges Prize. Grace has performed in Italy in an opera The Juniper Passion and was accepted for and attended Deltebra Danse in Spain. We believe Grace's experience in OSB helped prepare her well for a career in dance.
In 2014 another former OSB member, Monique Westerdaal graduated from the same course as Grace and Alayna Rennie-Cook started her full time training there in 2015.
In 2015 Emma Lane commenced training at the prestigious London based - Trinity Laban Conservetoire. Alanna Main has been accepted as a contemporary student at The New Zealand School of Dance and Emma Clavis will study Commercial dance at Wellington based Whitireia.
OSB work with professionals from the contemporary dance industry and are given opportunities to choreograph dance works as well as perform. The standard in the company is very high and each year we are impressed by what these young people achieve. They are constantly given new challenging projects to work towards.
One Step Beyond Acclaimed at the Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, YDance, Glasgow, Scotland 2014
This year in July OSB travelled to Glasgow, Scotland as they had been honoured to be invited to perform and participate in the very first ever Commonwealth Youth Dance Festival, YDance. They were chosen in a competitive selection process and were the only company from New Zealand.
The company participated in a series of workshops and performed at the festival alongside 35 other groups from around the Commonwealth including Canada, India, Australia, Namibia, Malta and the UK.
One Step Beyond presented “We Caught Me’ a work choreographed by Grace Woollett, a Marian McDermott School of Dance tutor and also a Unitec contemporary dance graduate and former OSB company member. The work was acclaimed both for its extremely well crafted and beautiful choreography and also for the high technical standard and performance by the company members. Everywhere they went people were stopping the company members saying how much they loved the work. People were telling them how impressed they were and asking about the training methods and the dance programme we offer at our school. They all felt a bit like celebrities at the festival.
Photos above of One Step Beyond performing "We Caught Me" by Nina Gastreich
Some Very Positive and Affirming Feedback From the Festival
Iris Tomlinson – former director of “The Young Place” programme at “The Place” London writes “Grace created a delightful work for 'One Step Beyond' demonstrating maturity and clarity of intention as a choreographer, together with an ability to showcase the individual strengths of your young dancers. It was a pleasure for me to witness the fruit of your many years of passionate hard work. You have developed a rich dance programme, combining rigorous technical training alongside opportunities for individual creative expression through your improvisation and choreography classes. Congratulations”.
Anna Kenrick – Artistic Director for YDance writes: “The performance by One Step Beyond showed how talented your dancers are and there was fantastic feedback after the show. Your dancers are truly gifted performers and the choreography by Grace Woollett was inventive, beautiful and clever. The innovative movement and contact work allowed the dancers to excel and showed that they have excellent technical skills, strength and physicality.”
Exciting New Relationships Formed
Now One Step Beyond has formed close relationships with other international youth companies – Quantum Leap from Canberra Australia, Quicksilver the youth company of London’s famous Rambert Dance Company and Rutherford Dance Company Youth from Birmingham England. Collaboratives and exchanges are in the pipe line which is very exciting for everyone involved.
After the festival OSB travelled to London where they were invited to visit Rambert and join a class with their youth company Quicksilver. Quicksilver Company director, Laura Harvey was also impressed with One Step Beyond commenting that they were very strong dancers and she would like to be able to keep them.
One Step Beyond were again selected to perform at the Tempo Dance Festival as part of the Secondary Colours show and performed "We Caught Me".
Photos of OSB above by Kelly and Rick McZany of McZany Photography.
The One Step Beyond special fund raising show "Escape Artists" held at the Torbay Community Hall on September 21st and 2nd 2014 was a huge success. The young dancers performed extremely well and feedback was very positive. The show was very entertaining with the dancers confidently performing well considered, thought provoking choreography. Interspersed between were some very funny vignettes pertaining to the theme of "Escape" so the audience were well satisfied. Support for the upcoming trip to Scotland was fantastic and audience members were very generous making donations, buying raffle tickets and bidding for our auction items. Thank you all for your support of these young, talented dancers.
Recently OSB spent the day with a professional film crew making two videos. "Take Control" can be viewed above and"Unembrace" follows below.
Unembrace explores the idea of escape, the physicality of it and the different layers of daily encounters around escaping - in particular, from commitments. It almost seems all too easy to undo what we said we would do. But what are the consequences of this?
Choreography by Georgie Goater
Director/Editor: Arthur Gay
Director of Photography: Konstantin Tanner
Camera Assistants: Lachlan Justice, Liam Atkins
About One Step Beyond
To foster the creative spirit, inspire and extend a select group of dedicated, committed and talented teenage dancers so they continue to grow and develop as performers and choreographers.
One Step Beyond was founded in 2008 to create opportunities for a group of talented, committed and dedicated senior students at Marian McDermott School of Dance in Torbay, Auckland. The selected students have studied both contemporary dance and ballet for many years and regularly attend 6 or more dance classes each week. Till then these students were limited to the whole school performances and it was clear that they needed to be extended more and given more performance opportunities.
The company members are taught by professionals from the dance community and so far have been fortunate to work with Katie Burton, Colette Arnold, Julie van Renen, Janine Parkes, Georgie Goater, Grace Woollett, Zahra Killeen-Chance, Jessie McCall, Kilda Northcott, Vivien Hosking-Aue and Lyne Pringle.
Being part of this company provides an avenue for these students to develop their creativity, technique and performance skills. They learn how to create and perform dance works in a wide variety of community settings both indoor and outdoor. They learn to create and adapt their work to suit the different audiences and locations.
Our hope is that with this extra encouragement and opportunity some of the company members will decide to further their dance education and enter full time training. Already we can proudly say that several OSB members have chosen to make dance their career and been accepted to study dance full time at Unitec.
The official launch of the company was held at 7.30pm on Sunday August 3rd 2008 at the Torbay Community Hall. The performance included a diverse programme of works which showcased the talents of this creative group of young dancers. Three of the company members choreographed works with expert guidance from choreographic tutor, Katie Burton. The company also performed pieces choreographed by the company faculty.
Since then the company has performed at numerous commuity events including the launch of the new Shore Space Arts Portal for the North Shore City Council, Tempo Dance Festival, The Festival of the Roses , Capetown to Cairo Festival , Kingsway School Gala, The Celebration of Age Show and Carols By the Sea. They performed with Lyne Pringle and Clare O'Neil in the show Lily as part of the 2012 Tempo Dance Festival.