There’s only one place in Australia where you would have a reunion of the cast from So You Think You Can Dance.
With Jason Coleman as its patron and Marko Panzic as its artistic director, the 4th Annual Australian Dance Festival truly lived up to its slogan to be “A celebration of Australia’s best in dance”. There were dance workshops from choreographers and contestants of So You Think You Can Dance including winners Jack Chambers and Talia Fowler, runner ups, Charles Bartley and Amy Campbell, and many esteemed choreographers such as Sarah Boulter, Jason Winters, Jacqui Howard and Juliette Verne – just to name a few. “We founded the festival in 2009 as we were inspired by “So You Think You Can Dance” and wanted to give dancers all around Australia the opportunity to learn from the choreographers and contestants who starred in the show” – says founder and director of the Australian Dance, Angela Lau. “Now in its fourth year, it is just so gratifying to see that even without So You Think You Can Dance on TV, young dancers from all over Australia are so keen to expand their skills and come away from the event feeling inspired to further hone their skills.”
The Festival is much more than just workshops though. It also aims to provide a showcase for Australia’s best dancers and choreographers. As the newly appointed artistic director of the Festival, Marko Panzic was on a mission to ensure that the showcase performances on the Saturday night of the festival would reflect the breadth and depth of the Australian Dance industry. From contemporary masterpieces by Sarah Boulter, Jason Winters & Renee Ritchie through to live singing and dancing productions from Keiynan Lonsdale & Jordan Rodrigues of ABC TV’s Dance Academy, and So You Think You Can Dance former contestant Timomatic, the Australian Dance Festival truly gave its audience a night to remember. These performances are now available to view on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/AussieDanceFestival?feature=mhee)
To encourage young dancers to strive for their personal best, the Australian Dance Festival also bestowed several awards. Most Entertaining Dance crew was awarded to Glenda Yee School Of Dance, Most Technically Excellent Dance crew to The Village Performing Arts, Best Choreography to PAWS. Each of these schools were awarded with $2,500 each. Kate Beattie was also awarded as the winner of the Dance Around The World Solo competition and will be going to Los Angeles for 3 weeks to learn from the best choreographers at The Edge Performing Arts Center as her prize.
The Australian Dance Festival also partnered with The Butterfly Foundation (a charity assisting Australians with eating disorders and promoting positive body image) to provide education to dance teachers on early intervention strategies for people with eating disorders and poor body image. A workshop was also run for young dancers on “Great expectations” – outlining how we are all susceptible to unrealistic expectations to conform to an ideal of beauty of portrayed by the media.
“The Festival brings together so many young people and exposes to them to role models. The Festival must be more than just an advocate for dance, but also an advocate to help dancers be happy and healthy.” Says founder, Angela Lau.
The Australian Dance Festival is a not for profit organization. The next festival will be held from the 13th – 15th September, 2013 at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre. Marko Panzic will continue his tenure as artistic director. For more information, please visit the website: www.australiandancefestival.com.au.