Dance in all its glory is being celebrated at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre this week.
And, it’s 1000 students ranging from Kindergarten to Year 12 who are leading the charge at the 30th annual South Coast Public Schools Dance Festival.
Festival director Chris Richards said 49 schools from Mulwaree High School up on the Southern Tablelands to Moruya Public School in the south were taking part.
Thirroul Public School in the north and special needs schools Peterborough SSP and Havenlee SSP, were also performing in the week-long festival which starts on Wednesday night.
There will be six performances all up, including a closed performance on Saturday morning. The festival wraps up with a 6.30pm show on June 3.
Richards said the festival had become a highlight of the South Coast’s performing arts calendar.
The event was also a celebration of the achievements of dance in education.
‘’The festival has really developed into a professional event giving our very talented young dancers an opportunity to perform in a very intimate environment here at IPAC,’’ Richards said.
‘’Previous years has shown that it is also a pathway for ambitious dancers to pursue professional dance careers.
‘’The primary school students also get inspired from watching what the high school dancers are doing on stage.’’
In 2016 the region’s public schools’ strengths in dance were acknowledged with six dance items selected for the State Dance Festival.
Nowra High School, Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, Illaroo Public School and the Southern Stars Primary Dance Company performed in the state competition.
Richards is expecting big things from dancers taking part in the 2017 South Coast Public Schools Dance Festival.
Performances include ballet, hip hop, tap, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary dance pieces.
‘’The primary school children have very age-appropriate pieces while the high school students tackle more artistic, daring, abstract and mature subjects in their performances,’’ Richards said.
‘’It’s always well supported. I know Saturday night is sold out and Friday night’s performance is also close to sold out.’’
Details and tickets at www.merrigong.com.au/