In the recent school holidays, 20 students and three staff members embarked on the triennial USA/New York Dance tour. From the minute we departed from Adelaide airport, each moment of the day was filled with exciting activity and constant learning.
Daily dance classes were taken at some of the most prestigious dance venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, such as the Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey dance studios, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance and The Mark Morris Dance Centre just to mention a few. Students enjoyed taking class in Contemporary, Ballet, Jazz , Hip Hop, Yoga and Gaga by some of the best teachers in the world.
At night, we ventured out to see award winning musicals on Broadway or Dance Theatre productions. Shopping was enjoyed at Macey’s, and students were overwhelmed by the dazzling lights and excitement of Times Square. We explored Central Park, riding the subway and travelling via Ferry to Staten Island to view the Statue of Liberty. We viewed the city skyline from the Empire State Building and payed our respects at the 9/11 Memorial.
Students fell asleep to the sounds of the city and woke to the Starbucks conveniently positioned across the road from our hotel. We enjoyed dinner on one of the dancer’s birthdays at Ellen’s Stardust Diner whilst being sung to by aspiring Broadway performers. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge and continued to immerse ourselves in all aspects of both the Dance and New York cultures.
After 10 days in the ‘big apple’ we took a bus to the Berkshires, a two hour drive, which is home to the infamous ‘Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival’ a thriving community of dancers, choreographers and artists. The Pillow, as it is commonly known, is a place where only Dance performers of the highest calibre are invited to present work and teach. We were the first group of Australian high school students to ever attend the festival and we felt very privileged indeed!
We returned to New York after a day trip to Boston, and the city was beginning to feel like home. After a few final days and with reluctance, we returned back to Adelaide with a very welcoming group of family and friends to greet us.
The opportunities that this trip provided to further enrich the attending students technique, and broaden their dance horizons were extensive. While in New York the students were dancing amongst aspiring dancers who were trying to make dance their career. The driven culture of the New York dance community was particularly inspiring for all.
I believe the memories of this special trip will last a lifetime, together with the close friendships that were made by this wonderful shared experience.
During Week 2 this term, our annual Australian Made concert was held in the Michael Murray Centre, to a warm and supportive audience. This production showcased the choreographic works (a SACE requirement for the subject) created by our 13 Stage 2 dancers. The evening was a joy, as the Stage 2 dancers finally saw their hard work culminate in short two or four minute dance works that reflected their creative imaginations. The dancers explored themes such as Envy and Hypnosis, Being Trapped and Doubt, Struggle and Searching for Happiness, Hope, Alzheimer’s Disease and Being Chased in a particularly mature manner. Some dancers emphasised their choreographic intent through props such as tables, mirrors and fans and others utilised lighting options to enhance meaning. I congratulate all the Stage 2 choreographers for such innovative work and commend all the dancers for their efforts and participation in the long rehearsal period throughout Semester 1.
Our next Westminster School Dance production with be ‘The Blue Book’, our SACE Examination performance. Please see the image below for details.
Head of Dance