City of Plymouth Festival

2020 Festival of Dance, Speech & Drama, and Music.

at City of Plymouth Festival

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City of Plymouth Dance Festival Performer

The 106th City of Plymouth Dance Festival is running from 18th July through to and including July 26th 2020. As in previous years it is being held at the Muse Theatre, Lipson Co-operative Academy, Bernice Terrace, PL4 7PG.

We are pleased to announce that our Dance adjudicator is:

Gemma Summerscales-Heard
Gemma Summerscales-Heard

Gemma is an approved tutor and a duel fellowship member of the ISTD.

She trained at Summerscales Performing Arts and went on to Tiffany Theatre College for a graduate course. Her professional performance experience started as a child, first modelling for various international brands including Coca-Cola. She then went on to perform as a child in UK tours and in the West End including productions with the New Shakespeare Company. She was also invited to appear as a singer/dancer at the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000. Gemma then started to choreograph leading her into teaching. Passionate for passing her love of the arts to students she continues to extend her knowledge of theatre and dance with recognised and respected practitioners in the UK and USA.

Gemma is delighted to be recognised as an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals and is looking forward to adjudicating at the Plymouth dance festival in July.

The Festival Experience

The festival experience differs from an examination situation in that it offers participants the opportunity to dance in front of an audience.

The adjudicator will therefore look for a complete performance which includes: technique; presentation; musicality; costume; make up and entrances and exits.

Classes are competitive. All entrants are marked and the dancer achieving the highest mark is awarded a trophy which they keep until next year’s festival. Dancers placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd are presented with a medal. All competitors receive a report highlighting personal strengths and offering advice for improvement.

Of course, it is only natural for everyone taking part to be nervous but we hope all competitors thoroughly enjoy their opportunity to dance on a stage in front of an audience and can’t wait to return and take part again next year.

A Second Performance Area

The City of Plymouth Festival is committed to offering all entries a chance to perform at our festival and we are very lucky to have the use of a second performance area.

Over the last 2 years, in order to accommodate an increase in the number of entries received it has been necessary for the festival to engage a second adjudicator and provide performers with a second performance area. The only alternative to this was to cancel nearly a quarter of all entries. This was something we were not prepared to do.

Should the number of entries we receive this year be as high at last year we will not turn dancers away but will engage a second adjudicator and use the dance studio as a second performance area.

The name of our second adjudicator will be announced once entries have closed.

We are proud that the City of Plymouth is a festival for all and will take every step to ensure everyone enjoys their experience.

The 2020 Dance Syllabus

The 2020 syllabus can be accessed from this page. A quick reference to the key points regarding this year’s Dance Festival are outlined below and can be found on pages 4 and 5 of the syllabus.

Age to Determine Class

Over the last four years we have worked to make classes age specific for the majority of dancers. Not only does this reduce the size of classes but also enables children to dance in their age group and with dancers of a similar age.

With the aim of personalising the age for class entries to suit Plymouth Dance Festival, ensuring that the majority of children and young people are dancing in age specific classes, as last year the 2020 class entry age limit will be taken as the age of performers on Wednesday 22nd July 2020.

Time Limits

To make it easier for Teachers, we have adopted the All England Dance required time limits for dances. The new timings also bring Plymouth in line with both the Exeter Festival, the Torbay, South West of England Festival and other regional festivals. Time limits can be found on page 11 of the syllabus.

Time limits for dances will be timed and should not be exceeded. As last year, times will be checked from the first note or word of the music, or – if it should occur first – the first movement of the dancer to the dancer’s last movement at the completion of the dance. A musical exit may be included on the recording, provided it falls within the time limit.

The 2020 Syllabus

One of the aims of Plymouth Dance Festival is to provide opportunities for young dancers to perform the style of dancing they are learning in lessons.

Each year we review our syllabus and make changes that we think will enhance dancers’ experiences and offer opportunities for new styles of dance being taught at local dance schools to be performed.

In 2016 we introduced Irish Dancing and Hip-Hop classes. In 2017 we added classes for Tap Duets and Novice Lyrical. We also split the Modern Groups into separate classes for Modern, Tap and combined Lyrical and Contemporary styles. And after receiving 41 entries for two contemporary classes we split the age groups to make three classes.

In 2018 we reintroduced Scottish Dance and Mime classes and following a family request, we offered two Bollywood classes. BW1 is a group class for dancers 10 years and under and BW2 offers a solo class for dancers 7-10 years.

In 2019, following a request from a parent, Class 4b, a street dance class for dancers aged 5 years and under was added.
To fall in line with ballet and modern age groups classes, Class 37 Tap 14 and 15 years were split into classes 37a 14 years tap and 37b 15 years tap.

Finally, taking advice from a group of parents, we amended and added an extra age group to trio and quad classes.


To ensure all competitors can access their backing track, may we remind you that music needs to be on a CD that is ready to play. Only one track should be on the CD and tracks must be MP3 format.

It should be marked with the competitor’s name, class and the number they are dancing (permanent marker pen is best for doing this).

Please remember that CDs should be of a high quality and that it is highly recommended a spare copy is available, just in case!

More information regarding music can be found on page 5 of the syllabus and festival rule 22 on page 10.