Students at Panthera Dance Company took to the stage last weekend (22nd and 23rd April 2022) for their biggest show to date.
650 people poured into the Blackledge Theatre at Godolphin School for the sold-out performance. To entertain the audience, 128 dancers took to the stage to perform a show around the theme of ‘odyssey’.
Talking to Love Salisbury, the founder of Panthera Dance Company, Hatti Dawson said, “Our theme was ‘odyssey’, so a journey, or an unbound adventure and it followed the journey of a balloon which started in our studios.
“One of our little ones took it from Jerry, our Managing Director, and the balloon flew across lots of different scenarios and settings and ended up back with Jerry in our studio at the end.”
The show explored lots of different places including a school, a cruise ship, and the sea. It even explored the topic of pollution and the effects of plastic balloons in the ocean.
Different styles of dance such as street dance, commercial dance, contemporary dance, jazz, and musical theatre were showcased.
“All of our students performed from the age of four all the way up to the age of 60. Each student had at least three dances each, it was two hours and it was fabulous,” said Hatti.
The show was not only a huge achievement for those involved, but it was also a proud moment for founders Hatti and Anya Dawson.
“These types of performances are good for everyone, not only have I been able to give them the opportunity to show off their talent, but the kids have also had something to work towards.
“For Anya and I, we, as sisters, have gone from performing little dances in our living room every Sunday to Mum and Dad, to finally having the opportunity to express ourselves and also influence and be role models to other people – giving them the opportunity to shine professionally in front of their parents.
“I am not afraid to say that I am incredibly proud of both of us for the planning and execution of the show. I am glad I was able to give that joy and freedom of expression to everyone that was involved.”
Panthera Dance Company started in Amesbury in the Bowman Centre in November 2018. A small start-up dance school, Hatti and Anya began with 10 students in a class on a Sunday evening.
In April 2019, the pair had the opportunity to move into a unit on Churchfields Industrial estate, where they built their first state of the art studio. In July 2021, they opened their second studio next door.
Now, Panthera has two state of the art studios, nine teachers of various styles and relationships with Wiltshire Creative and multiple schools across the country.
“After graduating and travelling around Europe for a bit performing, I decided that I wanted to come back and make a difference here in Wiltshire and that’s exactly what we did with the help of my family,” said Hatti.
“We are a family business and we have had the experience of me and Anya being dance students when we were younger and Dad having to taxi us around and not being able to watch.
“Our unique selling point is we have both the opinion of the parent and the child. In the studio, we have an area for parents with TV screens where they can see what their children are doing in class. In terms of the show, we wanted to make sure it was inclusive, fast-paced and good viewing, rather than just watching your child for one dance routine – I think we succeeded in that!”
“We offer free taster lessons so pick a class and send me an email to book your free taster. Whether you are 4 or 64 there is something for everyone,” added Hatti.
Photography by Max Cheshire.