Before NSW Health first announced that Greater Sydney and surrounding regions were going into lockdown, Sydney Eisteddfod saw through many talented dance group events.
Dance schools and academies brought dance groups to The Concourse Chatswood where they each performed their well-rehearsed routines to a keen excited live audience. We saw some standout performances across a variety of different dance types including Classical Ballet/Demi Character, Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz, Hip Hop and MORE!
National College of Dance (NCOD), a dance college located in Lambton in Newcastle, have had a couple of dance groups place in our events this year.
They were first-place winners in the following events:
- Event 480: Contemporary 4-9 Dancers [Any Age] - with their performance "Intertwine".
- Event 508: Classical Ballet/Demi-Character Group [14 & Under] - with their performance "Clarity"
They also received third-place in the below event:
- Event 509: Contemporary Dance Group [14 & Under] - with their performance "Out of the Darkness"
Image: WinkiPoP Media. NCOD during their winning performance "Intertwine" at SE 2021.
We got in touch with Artistic Director of NCOD Brett Morgan, to hear more about the college and their mission.
"As a regionally located dance college in Newcastle, we’ve always had a passion for ensuring that regionally located dancers get the most outstanding training, equal to anywhere within Australia.
Our passion is to provide versatile, technical training with a heavy influence on students being choreographed as an individual to find their unique potential. We focus on collaborating with live musicians, composers, orchestras, costume and set designers", Brett tells Sydney Eisteddfod.
Brett says the most important message that NCOD wants to pass onto their dancers is:
“Don’t be scared to stay true to yourself, let your guard down and show who you really are, be an individual and show your own uniqueness. challenge yourself by taking risks with areas you may feel uncomfortable with. Give yourself a chance to shine."
National College of Dance have submitted groups in Sydney Eisteddfod dance events for some time now and Brett touched on why they choose to perform each year.
"Being regional, we like to attend Sydney Eisteddfod to get a base line of how we are performing and training against other dance programs... Many of the sections have a large number of competitors which provides our students with a barometer of how they are faring against dancers their own age.
It also allows them to be provided feedback from professional adjudicators in the industry. It’s exciting to be able to travel and compete when you’re a young dancer" - Brett says.
"[At Sydney Eisteddfod] You make lifelong friendships backstage with dancers who you will potentially work with in the future. Our artform is about performing so Sydney Eisteddfod provides our students the opportunity to do just that."
Over the past year and a half, dance schools everywhere have had to find alternate ways of practicing and performing due to COVID-19. National College of Dance like so many others had to adapt to this tough situation to continue progressing the skills of their dancers.
"We adapted to zoom classes very quickly and used zoom as a method of teaching and communicating with our students. We tried to keep our schedule as similar as possible (to what it would have been if face to face), to ensure students kept engaged and active", Brett tells us.
"One fun activity we introduced was a weekly zoom chat with many ex-NCOD dancers who are now professional dancers of many companies throughout the world such as Alexander Campbell, Bonnie Lithgoe, Adam Bull, Jessica Fyfe, Juliette Doherty plus many more who all gave their time to talk with our dancers..."
To any dance school thinking about entering groups into Sydney Eisteddfod in the years to come Brett said:
"We have always enjoyed being part of Sydney Eisteddfod. Competitions can be fun. Don’t be so focused particularly on the competitive side but the benefit that your dancers receive from being part of the competition and mingling and learning with other dancers and schools."
Sydney Eisteddfod encourages everyone to not only keep on dancing but to try and keep a positive mind. As Brett mentioned in the interview, during lockdown - "Managing students mental strength was equal to continuing their physical training".
Great point Brett. While it's important to keep moving and dancing during this lockdown, don't be too hard on yourselves and remember to check in with your loved ones, family and friends during this time.
Sydney Eisteddfod can't wait to see all our dancers on stage again once our events are back!