A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Head of Dance - Edition 9 - 2021

Convergence by The Australian Dance Theatre

On Tuesday 4 May a group of our Indigenous students attended Convergence, a dance production of independent choreography, showcasing the work of one of our dance staff Adrianne Semmens. Maggie Tonkin writes ‘The program concludes with the longest work, Adrienne Semmens’s Immerse. As the name suggests, the work is inspired by water, with particular reference to indigenous relationships to fresh and salt water country. Yarn, unspooled and pulled across the floor, represents watercourses and songlines that the dancers follow as they mimic the motions of water. Dressed in aquatic tones of blue and grey, the entire ADT ensemble wrap themselves together languorously in groups from which individuals are expelled like liquid jets; at other times they move in waves and counterpoint like the currents of a river. Exquisite slow-motion ensemble work is a high point, as are sequences of flicking water from hands and wringing it from hair. Semmens uses Sascha Budimski’s watery soundtrack to great effect, and is clearly a choreographer of great promise, able to realize complex ideas through movement’. We were delighted to share in this experience and grateful we have Adrianne working with us in the Dance department at Westminster School.

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Reconciliation Assembly Performance

On Wednesday 2 June, the Contemporary Indigenous Dance class performed a dance choreographed by Adrianne Semmens as part of Westminster School's 2021 Reconciliation Assembly. The theme for Reconciliation Week this year was More than a Word: Reconciliation Takes Action. It was great to see these dancers performing and supporting our students to develop an understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.

The Contemporary Indigenous Dance class is part of the co-curricular dance program at Westminster, for students who are looking to connect with culture, as well as develop friendships and a sense of belonging through dance. This class includes a fusion of movement inspired by Aboriginal Dance practices. The students in the class are involved in the creation of movement content and direction that the group itself initiates.

It was lovely to have Gemma Trueman ('15), NAISDA graduate and one of the inaugural dancers at Westminster's Reconciliation Assemblies, visit the dancers during their class this week. Gemma is currently dancing with Adrianne as a member of Adelaide's First Nations Dance Collective.

Sophie Wilson
Senior School Dance Teacher

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Dance Allsorts 2021

On Thursday 3 June, the annual Dance Allsorts performance was held in The Michael Murray Centre for Performing Arts and approximately 80 curriculum Dance students took to the stage. The evening was a celebration of dance that highlighted the talented students at Westminster from Years 7 to 12. We felt incredibly grateful to hold Dance Allsorts this year as we had to cancel in 2020 due to COVID.

A large and warm audience supported the dancers as they presented a program featuring two contrasting performance works from each year level class. We welcomed for the first time our Year 7 students who danced a work titled Fly Away. The dance choreography seen on this night and the accompanying music was varied and the themes ranged from loss, isolation, journeying, the Milky Way, friendship and a tribute to Michael Jackson, with inspiration from paintings, the use of a hat and the notion of fight or flight. Many works included choreographic contribution by the dancers themselves. The performance also presented a work in progress by the Westminster Collective and a Reconciliation Dance by our Indigenous dancers. Our 11 Stage 2 dancers were introduced to the audience at the beginning of the night and performed a short demonstration of contemporary dance technique during the show.

We are very proud of the commitment, work ethic and achievement of all the dancers who performed in the Dance Allsorts Concert this year.

All in all, we have enjoyed a busy and exciting Term 2 in Dance.

Carolyn Obst
Head of Dance