The students of Ballarat Secondary College’s Wannik Dance Academy will be squarely in the spotlight in front of 10,000 people at the Victorian State School Spectacular this month.
The 11 dancers will perform an indigenous welcome to the event at Melbourne Arena in front of a sold-out crowd.
They’ve spent the past six months rehearsing seven massed dance numbers they will perform with thousands of dancers from other state schools, and creating the welcome dance that they will perform with the orchestra.
The group have been part of the Victorian State School Spectacular mass dance groups for the past nine years, with many of the girls taking part in the event on several occasions, but this is the first year they will perform on their own as a group.
“The idea of the academy is that dance is simply our tool to keep these young ladies in school for as long as we can in order for them to gain a future pathway whether that be employments/traineeships or their VCE/VCAL certificates,” said program leader Patricia Fox.
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Students need to keep their attendance at 80 per cent or above in order to remain in the academy.
There are 11 members of the Wannik Dance Academy at Ballarat Secondary College’s Woodman’s Hill and Mount Rowan campuses. The Department of Education established three Wannik Dance Academies, in Ballarat, Eaglehawk and Mooroopna, to provide an educational program based around dance for indigenous female secondary school students.
The girls are in seven mass dances and the individual welcome dance, which has involved countless hours of rehearsals, persistence, communication and organisation.
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“We are buzzing with excitement for production week and show day,” Ms Fox said.
Yuille Park P-8 Community College also has a group involved in the event at Melbourne Park, as does Mount Clear College who not only has performers but stage crew as well.
The Ballarat contingent are among 80 schools from around the state involved in the mass dance and 72 schools involved in the mass choir. About 3000 young performers from more than 200 schools will stage two shows on September 15 at Melbourne Arena.
This year’s production With the Beat explores ideas of belonging and identity.
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