In the four years that its DancED program has been running, take up from students has grown by 300 per cent with around 6000 students now attending workshops, open rehearsals and school matinees.
The company now takes DancED all around the country, including for the first time in 2016, school matinees in Darwin and Wollongong. And it has expanded its reach beyond school settings to include community groups.
So how do kids respond?
‘[It gives me] so much freedom to express myself,’ said 10-year-old Ben. ‘Because I am a sportsman I can take what I do on the field into dance.’
Teya said, ‘I get inspired by the other dancers and then I make it my own.’
Their teacher confirmed the ‘massive benefits’ it brings to her students, saying it’s one of the highlights of the school calendar. ‘They are inspired through creativity, and bringing what they learn back to the classroom.’
Rafael Bonachela confirmed the importance of dance education for him. ‘When I arrived at the company there was no dance education program but I was determined to make it work,’ he said. ‘I wish I could have had this opportunity when I was a young man. Dance is so important for human beings—to build confidence in whatever you do’.
DancED school matinees include a pre-show talk and demonstration about the performance and a follow-up Q&A. The creative workshops are tailored to groups from years 3–12.