Winner of the 2014 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Dance of Champions People’s Choice Award, Caper School of Performing Arts with Patricia Russo from McDonald’s Australia (left). Photo: WinkiPoP Media
With television cranes cruising overhead and fans cheering non-stop, the 2014 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Dance of Champions sparkled from start to finish with fun, energy and unlimited talent. The 19 groups competing in this spectacular “battle of the best” all gave outstanding performances and proved beyond doubt that young Australians can hold their own in any style of dance.
The show packed the Science Theatre at the University of New South Wales to the rafters and proved such a riveting success, it will be long remembered as one of the most successful events ever presented in the history of Sydney Eisteddfod. The program included everything from classical ballet to cabaret, hip-hop, contemporary and world dance, and with one sensational performance following another, the momentum never slackened.
An impartial jury sat in judgement, but as every member of the audience had the right to vote, excitement filled the house. Picking a winner from the riveting line-up was not easy, and as the jury and audience failed to agree on any point, six different groups won the six major prizes. The 13 remaining finalists received $500 each, and with no troupe departing empty-handed, the evening ended on a happy note.
The jury and the audience awarded prizes of $5,000, $3,000 and $1,000 to their selected winners. The jury gave first place to the Commotion School of Performing Arts from Mount Annan. This group opened the show with a spectacular routine entitled Fly Away with Mechoreographed by Ben Stokes. The Canberra Dance Development Centre came second with Bright Shadow, an outstanding contemporary number choreographed by Paul Knobloch, who won the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Ballet Scholarship back in 1993, while St Columba Anglican School from Port Macquarie finished third performing a number called Gravity that explored the emptiness of outer space.
Three all-boy dance groups competed in the final this year, and interestingly enough none came from specialist dance academies. Two were from public schools and the other from a private college. For decades, Sydney Eisteddfod has been advocating dance as an activity for males, so the presence of so many boys in this year’s competition strongly suggests there is a growing acceptance in the wider community that dance as a form of exercise, is good for everyone.
Sydney Eisteddfod thanks everyone who contributed to the success of this event, especially its sponsor McDonald’s Australia. Thanks to the generosity of this fine community organisation, this wonderful show was filmed for television for the fifth time since 2010, and will screen nationally on Network Ten at 3pm on October 25. We thank Network Ten for agreeing to put our show to air, and again acknowledge our principal sponsor with the simple phrase “Thank you, McDonald’s!”