The 2015 Australian Dance Festival was held at Sydney’s Olympic Park over September 11-13 September
Anna Rizzo gives a wrap-up of the event for DanceLife
Sydney Olympic Park was awash with budding dancers eagerly awaiting their chance to perform at the biggest dance event in the country, the Australian Dance Festival (ADF). Now in its 7th year and bigger than ever, the much anticipated weekend-long event was easily a highlight on thousands of dancers’ calendars.
Starting the event was ADF Friday night favourite “Australia’s Best Dance Crew” competition. Crowds of performers and the supporters flocked to see what was a dynamic and fierce competition as over 23 groups competed for their chance to win a number of cash prizes of up to $8,000.
Winners included Village on Broadway who took home $500 prize for the ‘Best Costume’, Brent St for ‘Most Technically Excellent’, Glenda Yee’s group for ‘Most Entertaining’ and All Starz winning ‘Best Choreography’.
After a night of cheering and being inspired by some inspirational dance schools and performances, the dancers were ready to unleash their own dance moves in classes being run by some of the best dancers and choreographers in this county. Up to 2000 dancers filed into various rooms at the Sydney Olympic Park Sport Centre to create magic in their dance style of choice. The buzz was electric as starstruck dancers did their best to stand out and be selected to compete in the ‘Dance Around the World Competition’.
The entire cast of the Dream Dance Company – a dance company established at last year’s ADF – were EVERYWHERE offering their unique talents and generous spirits in workshops ranging from Contemporary to Hip Hop and Ballet.
Dancers were smitten by classes led by mentors including Cat Santos, Lauren Seymour, Rob & Dave McLean, Michael Dameski, Dayton Tavares, Jessica Hesketh, Stephen Tannos, Alice Robinson, Eden Petrovksi, and of course…the ‘boss’ himself, Marko Panzic.
ADF always has a knack of connecting the right people to some amazing opportunities and this year was no different with ten schools offering open auditions for full-time dance courses. Advanced dancers lined up for their chance to be selected for renowned schools including Brent St (NSW), Dance Force (QLD), Spectrum Dance (VIC) and Ev & Bow (NSW).
The Saturday night showcase was a standing-room-only event with over 3000 dancers and their guests filling the main arena. Highlight performances included Project Dance Jazz routine choreographed by the wonderful Kelly Abbey; Spectrum Dance in their cabaret flavoured pink feathered Moulin Rouge inspired performance, The Village Broadway’s brilliantly comedic ‘Attack of the Big Tomato’, and the always breathtakingly magical Ev & Bow contemporary routine.
As well as the show stopping performances, a new competition for ‘Rising Stars’ Under-16s was introduced. A big congratulations goes out to the first winner of this event, the exceptionally talented Emma Rose Mouawad who was awarded $500 travel voucher from Dance Around the World Group tours and weekend pass to 2016 Australian Dance Festival.
The Over-16s Dance Around the World Competition yielded a fine cast of solo performances. Jal Joshua rocked his contemporary performance to bellowing crowd support. Jal’s performance awarded him travel and seven night’s accommodation in Los Angeles as well as 20 dance classes at the illustrious The Edge Performing Arts Centre.
High from the previous night’s’ showcase, Sunday saw a record number of dancers participate in classes run by talented instructors from shows like So You Think You Can Dance and ABC’s Dance Academy. Workshops conducted by Michael Dameski, Lauren Seymour and Eden Petrovski were particularly popular on the day.
Sunday night was all about the fabulous Dream Team who performed “Genesis” on the ADF stage. This was the highlight of the event for so many attendees. Choreographed and MC’d by ambassador Marko Panzic the team gave a sensational performance inspiring the hearts of all who saw.
Much can be said about ADF 2015 but no better than in the words of our wonderful attendees.
“An amazing weekend with amazing dancers and amazing teachers and amazing routines. Yep. It was pretty amazing! How blessed to not only be taught by but meet and talk to these industry professionals. They were all incredibly generous with their time and photos. Thanks to all involved with #ausdancefest.” Adelle Givney
“My 11 year old’s first time and she cried when it was all over. Passion for dancing jumped 110% after this weekend. She danced some workshops with friends and some on her own, makes me happy.” Shannon Murray
“I can’t even express what I’m feeling right now. Australian Dance Festival … You’ve enlightened my determination and passion for what I love most in the world. Far out! Dance is so bloody special! To seeing past friendly faces to brand new people in my life – it’s so nice to be around all these wonderful energies. I am so motivated to become the extremely phenomenal version of myself as an artist. YAY I AM SO HAPPY!! I LOVE TO DANCE SO MUCH!” Charlotte Schinckel-Brown
Next year’s Australian Dance Festival will be held at Sydney Olympic Park from 16-18 September.