Adelaide’s Australian Company of Performing Arts (ACPA) is a hive of activity right now, as students complete their first semester with a mind-blowing mid-year showcase.
ACPA is renowned for its Performing Arts High School, conveniently located in Thebarton just outside the city, and its full-time dance offerings of CUA30111 Certificate III in Dance and CUA40120 Certificate IV in Dance (RTO #31624). In 2022, ACPA will also be offering the CUA51520 Diploma of Professional Dance (Elite Performance) that can be taken as a one-year full-time course, or two years part-time.
The dance industry seems all but forgotten when it comes to government funding and support, but things are beginning to change, ACPA excitedly tells us, with the announcement that students may be eligible to receive up to $4000 in grants when studying the CUA40120 Certificate IV in Dance and the CUA51520 Diploma of Professional Dance (Elite Performance) at ACPA in 2021 and 2022.
“We’re so excited to have this opportunity and thrilled about the fact that there is finally some support for our students,” says Meagan McLaren, management at ACPA. “What we’ve found in the past is that there are a lot of students who have considered joining our courses, but they say, ‘We would love to; however, we just can’t afford it.’ Hopefully, this means that there’s more opportunity for people who are considering this as part of their future.”
The funding is so welcome, as it comes at a tough time for the performing arts industry and when parents have been questioning an investment in performing arts training for their child. However, there is a limit for the number of students to receive the funding; therefore, it will be handed out on a first-come basis.
“Twenty students state-wide will be eligible for funding for the CUA40120 Certificate IV in Dance and 30 for the CUA51520 Diploma of Professional Dance (Elite Performance),” shares Alexis Koukouvitakis, ACPA full-time course coordinator.
With limited places, and only two years of this support guaranteed by the government, now is the time to audition for ACPA to prepare for a career in dance and theatre. There are many full-time dance programs across Australia, yet there are not many options for pre-professional training in Adelaide and surrounds, and that’s where ACPA fills the gap with several courses to choose from.
“We started the program here in Adelaide initially with the Certificate IV because we know that not everyone’s ready to move interstate straight away,” says McLaren. “With our full-time course, we specialise and focus on becoming that triple threat. Singing, acting and dancing in all genres. Our Academy program is definitely a stepping stone and link between leaving the state of South Australia, and then heading over to an interstate program.”
With the costs and logistics of moving interstate to pursue full-time dance, as well as the maturity needed when living away from home, ACPA offers the highest quality training and exceptional performance opportunities for those who’d like to stay living at home in Adelaide while they dip their toe into the industry and prepare themselves for that next step.
“We have been so successful in preparing students for success interstate,” says McLaren proudly. “With all of the students who leave us and head interstate, the feedback is that they’re either snapped up with a scholarship or they do exceptionally well. They’re in demand. Not only do they have a great work ethic, but they’re trained across the board, and they have a skill set in every genre.”
And for the younger student, passionate about a career on stage, ACPA’s Performing Arts High School is an exciting option. The high school is open to students in years 10, 11 and 12 with a combination of academic studies and performing arts training.
“Students have two days a week with a focus on their academic studies and three days training alongside our full-time students,” explains Koukouvitakis. “We are in partnership with Thebarton Senior College for the schooling component. Thebarton Senior College is purely dedicated to ensuring each individual student is achieving their SACE certificate. They have created a special interest program specifically for our students and we have seen this combination of dance and school work wo well together.”
With so much on offer at ACPA, it’s no wonder the studio’s reputation and reach are growing. “Clearly, the word is getting out there,” says McLaren, who points out that students are coming from far and wide, including from Roxby Downs and regional NSW, to join ACPA. “We’re more than happy to assist dancers coming from regional communities or interstate to make the move and supporting them on the full transition.”
First round auditions for 2022 are on August 6. Students can also apply online, particularly if they are regional or interstate.
By Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.