Morningside Dance Academy dedicates entry to inspirational choreographer

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A FLEET-FOOTED dance troupe competing in the final of Edinburgh’s Got Talent say they will dedicate their performance to a former instructor who died earlier this year.

Heartbroken members of the Morningside Dance Academy will have the memory of Raymond King at the forefront of their minds when they perform their flamboyant take on the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean at the Edinburgh Playhouse on Friday.

Mr King, who used the stage name Raymond Kaye, was a stalwart of the Morningside academy before succumbing to cancer of the oesophagus in August.

The 36-strong dance team – aged between 12 and 20 years old – will compete in his honour, having raised more than £1000 for cancer charities.

“We want to dedicate our performance to him because he’s done so much for the school,” said Laura Proudfoot, 35, a choreographer at the academy.

“He influenced so many people in Edinburgh and all over the world though dance and was just an amazing person.

“Raymond worked closely with us and was my teacher when I joined the academy as a young girl.

“Everyone knows of him and he meant a lot to us so it would be great to do it for him.”

The act, called A Pirate’s Life for Me, aims to put some toe-tapping panache into Pirates of the Caribbean and features music from the Hollywood blockbuster.

Dancers in the academy, who are trained in a mix of ballet, modern dance, jazz and tap, are no strangers to performing in large venues having previously wowed audiences at the Festival Theatre, among others.

However, Ms Proudfoot said she had to increase the size of the cast for the Evening News contest to ensure they filled the expansive Playhouse stage.

She said: “Originally we had a smaller cast but because we knew it was going to be on such a big stage we increased the numbers for the performance.

“The act shows our dancers’ dynamic ability and hopefully captures the characters of Jack Sparrow, Captain Barbossa and Elizabeth Swann. It’s high-energy yet also conveys the story well.

“We hope we can give a diverse performance with a bit of variety.

“It’s not just a dancing piece, it also tells a story and is hopefully a bit different to the other acts. But everyone is extremely excited to be performing and representing Morningside Dance Academy. They feel really proud of themselves that they got through to the final.”

Asked what it would mean to win the competition, she said: “It would mean everything to us. We have worked so hard and had many extra rehearsals to perfect it. We are really working hard together to make it the best it can be.”

Thousands of votes have been registered for the event, which will have a panel of judges, including Evening News arts and entertainment editor Liam Rudden.