I think it is safe to say that this year has been a year like no other that any of us have ever experienced! Let’s cast our minds back to last September which seems like such a long time ago…
With the usual crazy busy start to term, welcoming lots of wonderful new students, we had a very exciting opportunity in September when our students were asked to be part of the UAE’s first Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards. 12 lucky Diverse students were selected to dance live for Jason Derulo, Walid and Marita at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards in Abu Dhabi. Students performed alongside professional dancers from LA and had an absolute blast. There was much excitement when Jason Derulo came to the studios to rehearse, even our staff members were completely star struck. 100 students were part of the live audience at Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and watched the show being filmed live, there was fun, noise and lots of slime!
Our lucky students pictured with Jason Derulo at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards
The new year brought the usual excitement not only for our annual shows at Swiss International School and Dubai Opera but competition season was upon us. A first for Diverse, we were asked to compete in two competitions, the first being Urdang International Competition in which our students gained 15 Gold, 8 Silver and 8 Bronze trophies, meaning 15 pieces are now entered into the world championships to be held in London, in July 2021. The second competition was the Dance Experience held at Lapita Hotel and this was another very successful weekend with 17 High Golds, 23 Golds and 4 silver medals, with the senior group piece ‘The Joker’ choreographed by Scott, being awarded the highest marks in the whole competition.
Our super talented competition winners!
February saw the return of our Musical Theatre show on the QE2 which this year, was ‘We Will Rock You’. This was a spectacular show full of talent and technical wizardry. The students enjoyed every second of the rehearsals and performances and us audience members thoroughly enjoyed rocking out to all of our Queen favourites. Here are some highlights of the show:
Our year as we know it ended abruptly on March 8 th when we were forced to close by the KHDA due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the UAE. This was a distressing time for our students and staff and still continues to be a worrying time for so many families throughout the region. However, in true Diverse spirit we ploughed on and took our classes online which enabled us to carry on training our lovely students. During the toughest times of lockdown this was an outlet for the students and staff alike as we immersed ourselves in something we love during such a difficult time for everyone around the world. To try to keep spirits lifted we offered weekly online classes free of charge via Instagram and numerous competitions and giveaways for free online classes. We came together online to create some great work
At the end of May we were given the news that we could re-open our doors for students aged 12 and above and we spent the next few days tirelessly getting the studios ready and in line with safety precautions to welcome back some familiar faces. We had our first KHDA inspection during opening week and we scored the highest of any training institute that they had visited that week. They were so impressed with our safety procedures and video (below) that we have been used as an example to show their KHDA colleagues and other training institutes.
Whilst our students aged under 12 are still working online, we are ever hopeful that this restriction may be lifted soon.
Although we have not been able to perform at Dubai Opera this year, some of you may have seen the recent collaboration between Dubai Opera and Diverse. We are offering weekly challenges with videos by our teachers in which students have the opportunity to win free classes either online or at the studios.
You can upload your video using the hashtag #DiverseDubaiOpera for the chance to win free classes.
Many of us have disrupted or uncertain travel plans during the summer so we will be offering camps right through until August 13th. Our camps will cater for all ages both online and in the studios. For students aged 12 and over we are offering weekly intensive courses in Musical Theatre, Commercial, Hip Hop and Ballet & Contemporary. All classes will be offered online via Zoom (for those of you travelling) as well as live at the studios. Each week will finish with a streamed online workshop from an industry professional choreographer or star of West End or Broadway. Please see below for details on the summer intensives:
5th – 9th July – Musical Theatre Week – Hamilton- https://youtu.be/5snjgB9PO48
12th – 16th July – Commercial & Hip Hop Week – Workshop Guest Casie “Tynee” Goshow https://www.instagram.com/bgirltynee/?hl=en
19th – 23rd July – Ballet/Contemporary Week – Workshop Guest Dane Bates – https://www.instagram.com/danewilliambates/?hl=en
26th – 30th July – Musical Theatre Week TBC
2nd – 6th August – Commercial & Hip Hop Week – Workshop Guest Josh Wharmby https://www.instagram.com/joshwharmby/?hl=en
9th – 13th August – Ballet/Contemporary Week Workshop Guest TBC
Plans are still being finalised but this is a fantastic way to keep up everyone’s training during the summer.
For students aged below 12, we are hoping that attendance to camp at the studios will be permitted, however if this is not the case, online options will be offered. We are offering daily rates (for under 12’s only) as well as weekly sign ups and each day will include singing, dance, drama and arts and crafts. Our regular classes will also run until August 15th, after which we will close until 6th September ready to start a new year.
Looking ahead to the September term, we are hopeful that life will have resumed as normal and we can have all of our wonderful students back at the studios. Our Born To Perform show held at Swiss School will take place during this term and we look forward to starting the year with a bang! Updates from exam governing bodies are still coming through and we are optimistic that many students will be able to take their exams next term.
We would like to thank all of the families who have supported Diverse during this time by signing up for our online classes for enabling us to continue doing what we love. So far we have managed to keep all of our staff and we could not have done this without the support of our extended family.