For the first time Illawarra children will be able to experience a fairy-tale told by some of the countries best dancers, in a show that’s specifically tailored to them.
The Australian Ballet will bring their inaugural Storytime series to the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre beginning with The Sleeping Beauty from January 7 to 9.
Executive directory Libby Christie said the project was created in response to the popularity of children’s programs run by the company and the increase in children’s participation.
“Over 420,000 children participate in dance activities across Australia every week,” said Ms Christie. “We hope to nurture our next generation of ballet lovers and who knows, even Principal Artists.”
The large-scale interactive production includes other characters like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, running for only 45 minutes so young minds don’t become restless.
This is the first major production dancer Isobel Dashwood will perform in. The 18-year-old is excited to not only launch her ballet career two weeks after completing studies at the Australian Ballet School, but also to inspire and captivate young ones.
She said she believed being involved in dance or even team sports from a young age was excellent for a child’s development.
“It builds discipline and determination, it shows them that if they’re passionate about something and they work hard it can be rewarding in so many ways,” she said. “[As a child] I loved the way it made me feel and I loved going to ballet [class] because I really connected with the friends there.”
Ongoing research at Wollongong’s Early Start Institute has also found correlations between positive mental health in young people and organised sport.
Dr Vella said being involved also helped create a positive social identity for a child, and helped to develop social and emotional skills.
Meantime stimulating young minds and opening them up to cultural experiences has also found to assist cognitive development.
Earlier in the year childhood expert Professor Marc De Rosnay from Early Start told the Illawarra Mercury if a child from a disadvantaged background was able to engage in high quality experiences at a young age, “that child then has prospects of better employment later in life, better education, greater autonomy in their own life choices”.
For more information visit: www.merrigong.com.au