Tuesday, March 9, 2021

So you think you can dance

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The inaugural High School Dance Competition goes off with a bang, writes NIKITA KULKARNI

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Music, dance, sashaying colours and beaming smiles on everyone’s faces.

That’s what the High School Dance Competition (HSDC) was all about.

For a first-time event, the turn-out was amazing.

Students from various high schools across Melbourne came together to perform Bollywood dance and made it a night to remember.

1-2-3-4, Get on the dance floor! The competing teams were welcomed by a cheering and enthused audience, and this spurred the dancers on to put their all into each presentation.

Participating schools included Footscray High School, Mac Robertson Girls’ High School, Manor Lakes P-12 College, Suzanne Cory High School, Werribee Secondary College and Marian College.

The judging panel consisted of Cnr Heather Marcus, Lisa George, the Director of That Dance Place, and Jaya Karan from the Sapphire Dance Group.

Chief guests at the evening included Mayor of Wyndham, Peter Maynard, Natalie Suleyman, Member for St Albans, and Jasvinder Sidhu, Multicultural Advisor to Premier Daniel Andrews.

Footscray High School was first off the mark, and did they get the crowd going!

The ghaghras swayed just for the right amount of oomph, and you could tell the dancers relished the crowd cheering and clapping along. Some very well executed thumkas here, girls!

The presentation by Mac Robertson Girls’ High School was high on the creativity quotient.

Fun and exciting, the dancers morphed from graceful, demure females into tough strong males, showing dominance and control.

Manor Lakes P-12 College proved their talent with their use of thrilling acrobatics.

The boys’ magnificent stunts including cartwheels and flips – yes, into the stalls – had the audience holding their breath and gripping the edge of their seats.

Marian College faced some difficulties, and in the end settled for a duet performance – graceful and enchanting. Their commitment to presenting a complete performance shone through, much like the glimmer from the costumes.

Kudos to the dancers, who demonstrated dedication to dance and proved that hard work is the key.

Last but not least, came Werribee Secondary College. And what a splash they made, not only with their costumes but also their inventive choreography, including those jhataks and mataks! Breathtaking.

The sheer energy seemed to speak for the entire generation, who are willing to take anything on and give it their all!

From watching YouTube to consulting dance teachers to simply watching Indian movies, each and every student put their heart and soul into the performances.

Let’s just say, plenty of light bulbs were screwed in, and many, many dogs were patted!

As they turned into Chikni Chameils and Dilli Wali Girlfriends for the night, it was obvious they had the current Bollywood formula down pat: kabhi soft kabhi rude, killer tera attitude!

And yet, the genre was not only unique Bollywood, but also incorporated a bit of Hip-Hop and classical Bharatanatyam. There was talent, effort and enthusiasm galore!

Werribee Secondary College were announced as winners, with a cash prize of $2000, closely followed by Suzanne Cory High School with a cash prize of $1000 and Footscray High School with a cash prize of $500. The prizes were split, with half going to performers and half towards their school.

A special prize was presented to Marian College, for performing even after having faced some difficulties.

Guest performers provided a breath of fresh air and showcased different dance techniques, from Bollywood to jazz to ballet to fusion.

These included dancers from That Dance Place, Industrial Dance Company and Mel’s Jazz Performers and Rachana Natyalaya.

Dancer Sashank Gulla, in his debut performance in Australia, took the audience by storm. He may be a student of engineering, but Sashank cannot contain his love for dance.

His breakdance routine, as well as his number with Rachana Natyalaya, both went down very well.

HSDC promises to host further such school events – with a larger line-up next year to keep the excitement going.

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