Touring nationally alongside their new show Ab-(Intra) the Sydney Dance Company also inspired our region’s young dancers – and plenty of kids who’ve never taken a dance class before – with a series of local workshops.
Joel Thompson and Cooper Terry, Teaching Dancers from the company were at St Francis School at Tannum Sands last week holding an “Introduction to Contemporary Dance” Workshop for year 3 – 6 children.
They held similar workshops at Rosella Park, Benaraby State School and Clinton State School and more advanced technical workshops for dance schools in the region.
“Rosella Park was the first time for me that was a whole class of education-assist students and we had a really great teacher to student ratio,” Joel said.
“There’s a great vibe at that school –we just breezed into there for four half-hour sessions, but they have so many amazing techniques to keep the kids engaged, and they really took to it, they really got into it.”
The workshops for primary school aged children are based around body-awareness and responding to music: “Which is something that most kids do anyway, but we just give it a technical dance grounding because of who we are as dancers,” Joel said.
For many of the students it’s their first exposure to contemporary dance:
“They all know hip-hop, they all know ballet – even if they’ve never done a ballet class, they know what a ballet dancer looks like – but contemporary is a bit of the unknown for younger kids,”
“It isn’t always so prescribed, contemporary dance is a little freer so a lot of kids really respond to that,” he said.
And in an age of increasing inactivity, Joel said dance is the perfect choice for parents looking for an alternative for young people who may not be so keen on sport:
“It’s responding to music, connecting to an emotion or a feeling, performing for other people, working together with others to create something larger – as well as being incredibly athletic,” he said.
“I come from a sport background myself and I think dance is even better developmentally than sport.”