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North West Dance Company: Changing with the entertainment industry

North West Dance Company full time dance

COVID’S impact on the arts and entertainment sector highlights the continual evolution that performers and industry bodies need to undergo. 

While old school methods of cold church halls, hard barres and harder dance teachers still have their place, the 21st century performance sector needs training methods and approaches that are updated to modern industry requirements. 

Addressing the changing training and performance needs of aspiring performers is the guiding philosophy of North West Dance Company. 

North West Dance Company is the labour of love of Naomi Bishop and Donna De Paoli – two dance veterans with over four decades of industry and performance experience under their belt. North West Dance Company came about as a dream, a shared love of dance and, most of all, nurturing the future of dance. 

Both Bishop and De Paoli have taught and managed leading full-time Institutions. They stepped back from the fast pace (for a moment) to design what they saw as their “ideal course structure with communication being in the forefront and not letting students’ needs fall through the cracks.” 

They established North West Dance Company in the northwestern area of Melbourne “because we have recognised the lack of industry-recognised full-time training institutions in the Western Suburbs of Melbourne,” says Bishop. 

North West Dance Company’s directors believe in “nurturing our artistic performers of the future; in a personalised, supportive, and positive environment,” Bishop continues. “We consider it very important to foster the growth that all dancers require and need. The school adopts a biopsychosocial model, where dance training is used to foster a holistic development of performers and artists.” 

She adds, “Students not only gain recognised industry qualifications and are given the tools to thrive in the modern performing arts environment. They are also encouraged to maintain healthy practices and mental wellbeing. North West Dance Company will inspire you to reach the excellence you deserve.” 

The studio offers a broad spectrum of courses, including Cert I and Cert II qualifications for students still at school and training with their own teachers. They also provide teacher training for up-and-coming dance teachers, and Diploma level accreditation for the next generation of industry professionals and performers. And there are personalised training programs for aspiring dancers, singers and performers with a classical or a commercial stream on offer too.

All courses are nationally recognised and meet quality assurance requirements, ensuring that the course is aligned appropriately to the AQF where it leads to a VET Qualification. Participants may study full time over 12 months or part time over two years, and North West Dance Company courses all provide pathways to Higher Education, including: CUA20120 Certificate II in Dance, CUA30120 Certificate III in Dance, CUA40120 Certificate IV in Dance, CUA51520 Diploma of Professional Dance (Elite Performance), CUA50220 Diploma of Musical Theatre and CUA30320 Certificate III in Assistant Dance Teaching.

Bishop and De Paoli’s knowledge and experience across Melbourne’s vast performing arts network provides an environment that develops a love of performance and teaching, to arm the students with the necessary tools to increase their opportunities to enter the performing arts industry.  And they have assembled an exciting and experienced faculty that includes Barbara Warren-Smith, Alana Scanlan, Sue Ellen Shook, Dana Jolly and Julie Fleming, who are all at the forefront of performing, teaching or training within the industry. 

With a summer school set for January, students can experience the life at North West Dance Company.

“We are excited to return to the studio after COVID with a wonderful summer program involving dance, voice, drama and modelling classes, with a photoshoot to top it off, ” says Bishop. This summer program will be taught by the various full time teaching staff with daily classes led by the directors. 

“The summer program is a great way to taste what North West Dance Company offers as a full-time training environment, and full-time auditions can be arranged during the Summer Programs,” Bishop notes. “So if you are a dancer/performer with dreams of getting industry-wide recognised qualifications in an up-to-date and supportive environment, we look forward to you joining us.” 

North West Dance Company’s Summer Program will be held 17 – 21 January 2022. For more information, visit www.northwestdancecompany.com.

By Elizabeth Ashley of Dance Informa.

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