The joy of dancing

Last week I had the absolute joy of watching our choreographer, Dalena Ebadi, working with 60 highly motivated Middle School students to develop the dance sequences for our Middle School Musical Strictly Ballroom. I find it a real privilege to be a witness to the process. Firstly, it is a wonderful exhibition of good teaching. We start with whatever skills the group present with and, over the hours and days of work, we add layer after layer of complexity. As each stage is mastered, we add more and more, challenging the participants to memorise the sequences, co-ordinate their movements and to add style to the sequences. The process is highly creative with plenty of opportunity to develop ideas in the moment and to allow for individual skills to be displayed. With a terrific musical score, the whole dance sequences become just so joyful to watch.

I have nothing but praise for the cast of 60 who were an absolute pleasure to work with.

Commonly when we finally perform our shows, I hear the comment, ‘It’s so good to see the students enjoying themselves on stage’. Whilst I don’t disagree with this, I feel it often glosses over the point that behind this enjoyment is many hours of hard work. Students do get taken out of their comfort zones as they struggle to master the many movement sequences as well as the demands of acting a character, singing and moving all at the same time. Most adults would be well challenged to master one of our dance sequences.

One of our previous principals was well known for espousing the musicals as a wonderful demonstration of co-education. Watching the dance rehearsals one has to agree – it is great especially in these time of so many issues in relationships to see boys and girls working so comfortably together.

Whilst much was achieved, there is still a long way to do to build this great Australian show.

Martin Arnold
Head of Music

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