Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Dance of Champions
Science Theatre, University of New South Wales
September 11 2011
By Linda Badger.
Once again, Dance of Champions was a night to remember. The best of the best from the dance sections of the Sydney Eisteddfod (20 dance troupes in total) competed for a People’s Choice Award and a Juror’s Vote, both worth $5000 prize money.
In the audience we got the distinct feeling that we were watching the stars of the future. This year each talented troupe got to go home with at least $500 prize money, so everyone went home a winner regardless of the voting. And winners they were, as we were treated to feast of exceptional dance across a variety of dance styles and ages from all the troupes.
McDonald College’s 12/U Classical Ballet group was full of youngsters with outstanding talent. The young boys blew us away with their seemingly endless pirouettes (I think I saw at least 6 achieved at one point!), and the young girls had strength, grace, technical achievement and maturity for their age. Shore Prep School’s all boys dance troupe was a personal favourite of mine, as their performance captured the energy and personality of the boys, and was a fun number to watch. Another highlight was Urban Dance Centre’s ‘Youth Dance Project’. They are always a very entertaining and mature troupe, with young dancers that not only understand how to compete, but how to grab an audience’s attention.
Every once in a very rare while there is a dance item that seems to reach beyond the confines of competition or concert, an item that truly captures the soul of movement and music, and takes your breath away. Dubbo Ballet Studio’s ‘The Last Gasp’ was a deserved winner of the People’s Choice Award. The item was outstanding in so many ways. The synergy of costume, props, choreography, music and passion created something unique and changed the atmosphere in the room. For a moment we were transported. We weren’t necessarily aware of whether each dancer pointed their toes, or had perfect alignment, as the piece took us away from focusing on these things (not that the dancers were lacking at all). The work stayed true to where dance can take you, and in doing so, was truly captivating. The dancers proved that you don’t always have to create an item with the latest death defying tricks, or fastest, multiple turns to capture your audience. It is important to just create, in a way that really shows how beautiful dance can be. Congratulations Dubbo Ballet Studio!
In another deserved win the Jurors Prize went to Dance Junction from Seven Hills for a tap number called ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’ by Shayne Allen. It was a very entertaining and theatrical piece, and it was wonderful to see tap dance highlighted.
Ending off the night were the stunning vocals of Kelsi Boyden, the 15year old winner of multiple awards in the vocal section of the Eisteddfod. She is already a seasoned performer in her own right. Kelsi is definitely one to watch.
Dance of Champions was fun for all ages. If you didn’t make it to the night, don’t miss it on television – Sunday November 6 at 2:00pm, Channel 10.