Dance students at St Columba Anglican School had the opportunity to learn from Australia's best ballerinas

BALLET: Students had the opportunity to get up close and personal with professional ballet dancers.  Photo: Lindsay Moller Productions
BALLET: Students had the opportunity to get up close and personal with professional ballet dancers. Photo: Lindsay Moller Productions

Students at St Columba Anglican School in Port Macquarie spent a week with Australian ballet royalty, when members of the Australian Ballet were in town teaching dance classes from October 16-20.

Students had the opportunity to learn from ballet professionals as Australian Ballet’s flagship education program were in town as part of STEAMDANCE.

STEAMDANCE is a dance-education approach to learning about STEM subjects which include science, technology, engineering and maths.

Designed by The Australian Ballet, the innovative program supports students learning curriculum subjects through the arts, working in partnership with teachers to support the existing curriculum through a series of workshops.

St Columba Anglican School student’s Emily Brown and Michaela Bone said the whole week had been an unbelievable experience.

“We got to have classes with the Australian Ballet; each day for a week we had a two hour class where they taught us different choreography and exercises to use different parts of our body, or in ways we don’t usually,” Miss Brown said.

“It really was an incredible opportunity that lots of kids in regional schools wouldn’t get to do.

“We had the chance to experiment with new choreography which has given us some great ideas as we begin our dance HSC classes,” she said.

“The classes run by the Australian Ballet were excellent, they there tiring because they pushed our bodies in new ways, but it was so rewarding to get to the end of the week and perform on stage in front of them,” Miss Bone said.

“It was really great to also get feedback from the dancers, on what we were doing, and for them to say that we were on point with other students in Sydney, means the training we are getting at school is really good.

“We have excellent teachers but to be able to mix it up with teachers from the Australia Ballet and still be able to perform is great,” she said.

After four days of classes, students were then given the opportunity to watch the professionals perform The Sleeping Beauty.

“To be able to dance on stage in front of the real dancers and then watch them on the same stage was extraordinary, and it makes me incredibly proud,” Miss Bone said.

DANCE: It was a great learning opportunity for the students. Photo: Lindsay Moller Productions

DANCE: It was a great learning opportunity for the students. Photo: Lindsay Moller Productions

The STEAMDANCE program works in partnership with the teachers at St Columba Anglican School to support the existing curriculum, through a series of workshops and performances to foster critical and creative thinking, literacy, numeracy, individual and cooperative learning and problem solving in students.

Head of Education at The Australian Ballet Katy McKeown said coming out to regional communities and giving students the opportunity to take classes with the Australia Ballet, is always a magical experience and enhances the training they are getting locally.

“Dance is one of the five performing arts disciplines in the national curriculum and our new STEAMDANCE program offers students a fun experience of dance, whilst enhancing the delivery of key STEM subjects and encouraging physical and social skills to students,” Ms McKeown said.

“A learning and development experience with The Australian Ballet encourages life-long interest and learning in ballet and the arts.”