First formed in 2006, The Blue Angels, are celebrating ten years of success this month. The prosperous track-record of the team mirrors victories from Scotland through to Italy. Comprised of thirty-one dancers, the team will be hosting A Decade of Dance at the end of the month, in honour of the members as well as their profound achievements.
With various competitions from around Europe, the team pride themselves in some of their most notorious achievements. The IDF World Dance Competition 2015, in Bellaria, Italy, featured the Advanced team, who did not fall short of prizes; placing first in over half their entries.
2016 continued to be successful for the group, who took part in the Dundee Dance-Fest, Durham Dance Fusion and the Manchester Dance competition. Again, a growing trend was seen in St Andrews placing as Best Overall Team, as well as Best Female Dancer and Best Male Dancer. Looking at their successes for this year alone, the team did not fall below third place, with the majority of achievements distinguished as first place.
Only three months into the new year and the team have already gained four first places at the EUMDS (Edinburgh) Dance off, placing first in Advanced contemporary, Advanced Ballet, Advanced Jazz and the Wildcard piece. In the same event, Mariella Fortune-Ely also gained second place as the Best Female Dancer.
It is of little surprise that the Blue Angels are so successful. The team, members chosen by audition only, covers a wide variety of dance styles, including; ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and tap choreography, along with the most recent addition of the hip hop team, which began competing last year. Their enthusiasm drives at least three rehearsals a week, with more on the lead up to competitions.
The Vice-captain for the Intermediate Team, Anna-Leigh Ong, commented on the progress and commitment of its members: “Angels know how to work hard, and when the going gets rough we know how to hustle. Extra rehearsals, reviewing choreography videos; I know that when I push them the Intermediates will do more than meet expectations.”
It is apparent that personal success and gains are equally, if not more, important as medals. Anna-Leigh added that “our greatest success is the team’s growing pride and confidence. We’ve all bonded, we have each other’s backs, and we know what we’re capable of. We’re a great inter-family, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
The Blue Angels’ defined and well-known name is not only notable outside of St Andrews but also within the Bubble. They have performed at large events such as the Graduation Ball, the Dance Society’s annual ball, the Dance Society’s end of year showcase, the St Andrews Will & Kate Wedding Gala, and The Great Big Dance Show in Dundee. More recently, they have performed at On the Rocks, Label Fashion Show, St Andrews’ Got Talent and the Women in the Arts event.
The next big event, is the Blue Angels tenth Anniversary Gala on Tuesday 28th March at 19.30 at the Byre Theatre. Tickets for the event can be bought online.