Australian Ballet dance presenter Alex McKinnon shows grade 6 pupil Monique English, 11, and grade 5 pupil Garrin Williamson, 10, how its done. WARRNAMBOOL East Primary School has formed a junior dance troupe following a visit from The Australian Ballet.
Nanjing Night Net

But there was surprisingly little talk of first, second or third positions, arabesques and pli s. Pupils instead learned how to use their bodies to create shapes and fill the space around them as part of the Melbourne-based company’s Out There tour.

Tour manager Donna Cusack said the pupils had been responding “wonderfully” to the dance movement workshops.

“They participate regardless of any pre-determined skill it’s all-inclusive,” she said.

“It is to raise awareness of dance as both a physical and expressive activity.”

The program’s dance education ensemble made up of Alex McKinnon, Abigail Oleivero, Hannah Beer and Chris Ead took six morning workshops for pupils in grades one to six in preparation for an afternoon presentation to the school.

Since the pilot sessions in 2006, Out There has given more than 40,000 children a chance to experience dance, visiting Warrnambnool East for the first time in 2008.

“It has been a full-time part of the Australian Ballet’s education program since 2010,” Mrs Cusack said.

The nationwide initiative spent a week visiting schools around the region including Port Fairy Consolidated, Woolsthorpe and Koroit and District.

“In 2012 we’ll hit every state and territory in Australia,” Mrs Cusack said. “We began here, our first stop was Warrnambool (district).”

Mrs Cusack said the workshops surprised many of the pupils, particularly the boys.

“Many come out saying ‘That’s not what I thought it would be like’,” she said.

“It was more fun or harder than they were expecting.

“There has been a real sense of enjoyment and discipline here a curiosity we don’t normally see in the metro schools.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.