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Canberra Today 15°/19° | Monday, March 4, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Young dancers take to the stage

Merici College dance students rehearse their entry.

EXCITEMENT was mounting  at Merici College on Monday as its Year 11 & 12 dance students put the finishing touches to their entry in the 2023 Ausdance ACT Youth Dance Festival, a contemporary work called “Trance”.

The student-devised work, to be seen on the stage of the Canberra Theatre on Thursday,  focuses on the idea of governmental brainwash, beginning with softer movements representing the 2023 festival theme “Bread and Circuses”, but developing into more erratic and unpredictable movements.

The Youth Dance Festival, a regular item on the Canberra arts and education calendar since 1985, is unique among such festivals in having a non-competitive, student-led approach to dance making, choreography, theatre and film making.

With an alumni cohort of more than 45,000,  this year’s event starts on Wednesday, when Amaroo School, Black Mountain School, Burgmann Anglican School, Canberra Girls Grammar School, Karabar High School, Kingsford Smith School, Lake Tuggeranong College, Lyneham High School, Melrose High School, Radford College, St Mary MacKillop College, Trinity Catholic College and UCSSC Lake Ginninderra College will take the stage.

Then on Thursday it will be the turn of  Calwell High School, Canberra High School, Caroline Chisholm School, Erindale College, Gungahlin College, Harrison School, Hawker College, Jerrabomberra High School, Melba Copland Secondary School, Merici College, Monaro High School, Mount Stromlo High School, Radford College, St. Francis Xavier College and St. John Paul II College.

Ausdance ACT Director Cathy Adamek, who thought up the “Bread and Circuses” theme, is using it to issue  a challenge to the young artists from schools and college in the ACT region, asking: “Is dance an entertainment, just a pretty distraction and display of physical feats, or can art and dance be a powerful vehicle for social change? Or can it be both?”

Youth Dance Festival, Canberra Theatre, October 18-19.

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Helen Musa

Helen Musa

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