As the Loughborough Women’s Network International Women’s Week comes to a close today, Lizzie Fenner looks back to the start of the week and shares her take on the Women of Loughborough Festival that took place on Monday 9th March. 

Monday saw the launch of International Women’s Week here at Loughborough University, kick-started by the Women of Loughborough Festival in Room 1 in the evening.

Melanie Hani's presentation
Melanie Hani’s presentation

Starting with an inspirational talk from Melanie Hani from Healing Education Animation Research Therapy (HEART) on her work treating abused and detached children, including Romani gypsy’s in Slovakia, the night saw women and men from across Loughborough take to the stage, be it dancing, singing, spoken word or the hosting of the show itself.

Whilst I could argue the event was more of a showcase than a festival, it was still beautifully put together by the Loughborough Women’s Network. Full of entertainment, the evening highlighted the sheer talent from many different women across the university.


With an audience of 100 plus, I was particularly thrilled to see a strong male presence at the event, mostly watching, but some even taking part in the performances of the night, in both the Breakdance Society and LSU Dance Hip Hop 2. Whilst adding to the performances, they were choreographed in such a way that the males were not taking attention away from the performance on to themselves; they were there for support.

There was a clear range in levels, from beginning to advanced performers, yet despite the inexperience of some taking to the stage, their bravery was clearly commended by the audience lapping up the performances, and they become just as entertaining as the more accomplished acts of the night.

Belly Dance
Belly Dance

There were several standout performances from the night. Tzarina Payton-Cooper added a beautiful innocence to Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire; the Belly Dance Society brought the international to the stage with their sultry Shakira number; Milly White singing Still Hurting from the musical The Last 5 Years was simply passionate, and Vidhu Sharma reading some of her own poetry, was enthralling, fluent and humorously honest.

Yet, the highlight of the evening for me was the flawlessly executed tap dance from LSU Dance. Dressed as penguins, the intricate dance was incredibly entertaining for the entire audience and resulted in the biggest applause of the night. What was most refreshing for me, however, was the fact the dancers looked like they were enjoying the performance too.

Tap Dance
Tap Dance

Although the hosts were slightly flat, I am nonetheless glad they got the chance to give it a go and represent the team behind the organisation of the event. Overall, the evening set out to celebrate the Women of Loughborough and it did just that; the Loughborough Women’s Network should to be proud for what they managed to achieve.

Lizzie Fenner

Photography  by Till Sieberth


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