A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Marion, South Australia
Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Dance - Edition 1 - 2019

NY/USA Dance tour

Plans are well underway for the fourth Westminster School New York/USA Dance tour, departing Friday 26 July 2019. Fundraising took place at the end of last year with a movie night and wine drive, and further activities will occur throughout the semester, along with finalising our plans for Dance workshops, performances and master classes by leading Dance teachers, choreographers and companies when in New York. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to enjoy an immersive experience in dance both in New York and at the renowned Jacobs Pillow Festival in Beckett, Massachusetts.

Dance-Students-outside-the-Joyce-Theatre-in-New-York-City
Dancers from the inaugural New York Dance Tour of 2011 - many of these students are now currently involved in careers in Dance and the Performing Arts.

Student Achievements

Luke Rigden ('18) was accepted into AC Arts Tertiary Dance training program and commenced his three year course last week.

Rhianna Barney (Year 11 Clark) and Sophie Sibbons (Year 12 Fereday) were chosen to be part of the 2019 Australian Dance Theatre Youth Ensemble. Rhianna and Sophie undertook a rigorous state-wide audition process to gain a position with the ensemble and will partake in classes, workshops and performance experiences.

We congratulate all these young dancers on their wonderful achievements.

An Interview with our Dance Captain

2019 Captain of Dance - Sophie Sibbons

How long have you been at Westminster School?

I have been at Westminster since 2015 when I started in Year 8.

What was a highlight of your summer holidays, performing arts or otherwise?

One highlight of my summer holidays was travelling down to a small town called Wandiligong in Victoria for Christmas. My family, including one set of grandparents, my great-uncle and aunt, one set of uncle and aunt, my second cousins, and my third cousins, all make the trek down to Wandi every other Christmas to celebrate together, where we spend our days bike riding, gold panning, swimming in the creek, and of course the hours upon hours spent playing cards! It is always so nice spending time with everyone all at once.

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

I am looking forward to getting to know the dance students even more, and understanding the kind of movement each year level and person wishes to create and explore further. As I am working towards completing my Advanced 2 Ballet Examination this year, I am really excited to get into training and advance my skills and technique further than I have before. Along with these aspects, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Australian Dance Theatre Youth Ensemble for the third year in a row, and am looking forward to the amazing performance and learning experiences to come.

What has been your most memorable performance experience as either a performer or audience member?

My most memorable performance as a performer was in 2014, when I was given the opportunity to dance overseas in Disneyland (Paris and Hong Kong), as well as in Sadler’s Wells (London) with the Australian Classical Youth Ballet. Although I was only 12 at the time, I still remember being completely in awe whilst performing at both these prestigious places, thinking how amazing it would be to do something similar as a full-time job!

What other interests do you have?

I absolutely love to act, as well as draw and paint. I started drama here at Westminster in Year 9, and completely fell in love with the way I could transform into something or someone I was not; similar to what I feel when I dance. My love of art only emerged recently, within the past few years. I love sitting outside on the grass and trying to mimic what I see around me on the page; I find it quite relaxing.

What do you hope to do when you complete your schooling?

After I complete my schooling at the end of this year, I hope to be accepted into a performing arts university, where I can further pursue my dream of becoming a professional dancer.

Who or what are you inspired by?

I am inspired by so many different performers, but the thing they all have in common is the commitment to their art form. I find myself constantly amazed by artists of all ages who are working hard and pursuing their dreams. I use this as a constant source of inspiration for my own journey.

What does the Performing Arts mean to you?

For me, the Performing Arts means being in front of others and giving yourself up to the movement, or the story, or the sound, and just completely and utterly letting go. People often talk about the fact that there is a lack of appreciation for the courage and strength it takes to be a performer, however, they forget about the power it can give you too. To completely entrance an entire audience and take them on a journey they will hopefully never forget, that is what is so special and unique about the Performing Arts.

How do you plan to contribute to the Performing Arts at Westminster through your captaincy? What legacy do you hope to leave?

I hope to inspire other artists in the school to express themselves through the Performing Arts. I hope to be the type of leader that all students feel comfortable seeking guidance and support from. The legacy I hope to leave for all dancers at Westminster is to believe in yourself and do what makes you truly happy.

Co-curricular commences in Week 3

Co-curricular dance classes will be underway next week for 2019. Westminster students have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of dance genre beginning with Creative Dance for the Preparatory students and expanding in the Senior School with the Westminster Dance Collective, Ballet, Acrobatics, Aerial Silks and Commercial dance styles such as Jazz, Musical Theatre and Hip Hop. Co-curricular dance classes are designed to complement the contemporary based, Curricular Dance program, which commences as an elective subject from Year 8, progressing through to Stage 2.

Students-dancing-on-stage

Adelaide Festival Excursions Term 1

In the Curricular Dance program students are given the opportunity to view live dance performances each semester. Year 8 to 12 Curricular Dance students will take advantage of this year’s Adelaide Festival of Arts by attending performances of Carmen by the Dresden Seperoper Ballet, Zizani by Adelaide’s Restless Dance Theatre, and, for more senior students, Grand Finale by the Hofesh Shechter company. The Festival provides a wonderful opportunity for our students to gain exposure to the work of world class, international choreographers and performers.

Carolyn Obst
Head of Dance