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Strictly Star Tristan McManus joins the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards judging panel


Professional dancer Tristan MacManus is set to bring a splash of sequins, samba and Strictly Come Dancing moves to the 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards.

The Wicklow native is the latest judge to be named on the 2016 expert panel which includes actress Amy Huberman, playwright Marina Carr and author Sarah Webb.

Tristan has appeared in successful stage shows including Dirty Dancing, Burn The Floor, and Floorplay, along with films such as Ella Enchanted. He was a regular on hit US TV series Dancing With The Stars for five years and partnered celebrities such as Pamela Anderson and Gladys Knight. Most recently he partnered popstar Jamelia on Strictly Come Dancing.

Commenting on his role as judge in the Student Theatre Awards, Tristan MacManus said; “I am really excited to be involved in this year’s awards. This is a great opportunity for young dancers and choreographers to show off their talent on a national stage. I started dancing in Dublin when I was very young and competed in a number of Irish and European competitions. They are fantastic for boosting your confidence as a dancer and improving your performance.

"I'll be looking for original and innovative routines that tell a story and of course the accuracy, confidence and ability of the performers will be key. But most of all, I want to see dancers enjoying themselves on stage. If the performers are relaxed and having fun, the audience will too!"

This is the third year of the highly successful awards which were set up by Bord Gáis Energy to recognise and reward participation in drama in schools. The awards are open to primary school students from 3rd – 6th class and all secondary school students. There are 12 categories ranging from group categories such as best overall school musical, best overall school play and best set design to individual categories such as best short scene script, best dramatic critique and best performances in a leading role (male and female).

The best choreography category gives students the opportunity to impress the judges with their original moves and dancing skills. This category is not necessarily school-show dependent, stand-alone performances can also be entered. Last year’s winners in this category were; St Brigid's Girls' School Killester, for their performance of Cats and Gorey Community School for their performance of Born to Hand Jive from Grease.

Irene Gowing, communications manager, Bord Gáis Energy said: “The best choreography category is really fun to judge. We were blown away by the energy, enthusiasm and originality shown by last year’s entries. We’re accepting group and individual entries in this category so whether it is an entire class doing a big musical number or a solo dancer captivating the audience,make sure to get the entries in!".

Shortlisted schools and students will be invited to a special awards ceremony at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on 5th May 2016. Winning schools will share a prize fund, and receive a commemorative trophy and plaque for their school.

All class entrants will be automatically entered into a competition to win a class trip to Annie at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and individual entrants could win a family pass to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

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Twitter: @BordGaisEnergy #BGESTA