The Patrician Brothers’ College Fairfield students will join others from five Sydney Catholic schools to sit HSC Dance and Drama practical exams for the first time this month through ViVA!
The program began in 2017 so students at Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of Sydney could access HSC Music and Music Extension courses when their own schools did not have the resources to run a class. Dance and Drama were added to the program in 2018.
It can be hard to physicalize your text.
Students meet each Thursday for practical lessons in the industry-grade performance spaces at Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College Burwood and study theory online. There are currently students from 14 schools enrolled across the five subjects.
Program co-ordinator Eva Spata said the program structure developed students’ independence, time-management skills and industry readiness. It produced success in 2018, with one student receiving early acceptance to the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on the strength of his compositions for HSC Music 2 exams.
“We have professional expectations of the students,” Ms Spata said. “We’re asking them to take risks and be creative with a group of people they may never have seen before, so they’ve come to be trusting of one another in a creative space.
“It’s a very similar structure between dance, drama and music.”
It’s refreshing and you have a lot more time in the week to work on your dances.
While most students rely on their younger peers to showcase their dance compositions for the exam, Paul and Frank will perform each other’s work.
Paul’s three-part work expresses the traits of emotional trauma. He said working with his twin allowed him to give more honest feedback. “It can be hard to physicalize your text, but with my brother it’s easier to communicate,” he said. “If it were someone I didn’t know as well I couldn’t give as hard of a critique.”
Frank’s binary composition reflects how introverts behave in solitary and social environments. “In the social, we use very isolated and very caved-in movement. In the second section he’s solitary, so he’s very free.”
Bethlehem College Ashfield Year 12 student Louise Dos Santos’s core composition work – a dance about card tricks – took inspiration from the film Now you see me. She studied dance at school in Years 9 and 10, but would not have been able to continue at HSC level without ViVA!
“I’ve always found it fascinating how magicians can manipulate the audience’s reality to give the sense that an illusion has happened,” she said.
“I find I prefer studying dance through ViVA! because you get to meet new people and you’re not always stuck in the same environment. It’s refreshing and you have a lot more time in the week to work on your dances and accumulate new ideas.”
Louise has danced four HSC works for other while in years 7 and 10, so said she was les nervous about the upcoming exams.
“I’m less nervous because I do know what the process involves, but I still care what happens,” she said. “You have to trust your dancers enough to convey your choreography the way you wanted them to. And in the examination room, you can’t say anything, you sit and watch.”