Dancers share Wakakirri wonder

IMG_6089aA childhood game brought to life by Year 5 students at St John Bosco Catholic Primary Engadine through dance moved audiences at the Wakakirri final.

The group modelled Broken, their performance for the national dance storytelling competition on the game Rock, Paper, Scissors, to illustrate the elements of beauty and destruction present in the world and the need to care for the environment. They placed first in NSW with the routine and won the Best Original Storyline award.

Year 1 teacher and choreographer Paige Walker said students were allowed to choose their topic and crafted the story from a literacy website stimulus.

“It really resonated with the children,” she said. “Some had never ever stepped out on stage before and they were standing in front of 3,000 people and enjoying every moment and smiling. That was such a great moment for me to take on as a teacher. The performance gave them friendship, showed them how to work as a team, how to be sustainable with the environment, connect their emotions and feelings to become a character, there was public speaking involved. There were so many different elements to it.”

In keeping with the dance theme, parent volunteers helped make the costumes from recycled materials and existing costumes from the school’s performing arts room.

Year 5 students Piper Calder and Amity Lees, both 11, said the performance was an amazing experience.

“It was about how we respect the environment, look after the world and recycle,” Piper said. “We were the second last group to perform. Everyone else was pretty amazing to watch.”

She played a child and an environmental fairy in the performance. “They were very different movements because the child was playing the rock, scissors, paper game there were a lot of hand movements,  and the environmental fairy was this elegant fairy that was running around the stage and dancing really beautifully,” she said. “I liked how you got to make new friendships and we saw our family in the audience.  I had never really danced before on the stage so that was pretty amazing.”

Amity was a child and a butterfly of grace, and said the best part of the performance was overcoming her nerves. She said the opportunity to learn more dance skills complemented her recent stint in a musical and participation in the Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA) program.

“A lot of my friends and I were very scared of performing on stage for lots of people,” she said. “We overcame that and it was an amazing experience. I wanted to do Wakakirri last year and this year we actually won, so that was an amazing achievement.”

Creative Arts Coordinator Marisa Casaceli said the opportunities offered by the school in sport, visual arts, dance and drama allowed children to develop as a whole, not just academically. She said the students had performed beautifully.

“When the kids found out they were going to the finals the whole school  embraced it, they were clapping and excited,” she said. “It was perfection, and when they performed at the state theatre there was not one mistake. It was just beautiful.”

View the performance here.

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