SDC begins inaugural Pre-Professional Year

Sydney Dance Company’s inaugural Pre-Professional Class of 2014Twenty-five dancers from around Australia and New Zealand walked the hallways of Sydney Dance Company’s Walsh Bay studios for the first time on Monday morning, coming together for day one of their 12-month intensive Pre-Professional Year.


This new course is being offered by Sydney Dance Company for the first time in 2014 – a year that also marks the company’s landmark 45th anniversary. It will provide a unique training experience for students to learn the ins and outs of a professional dance career.


Course Director Linda Gamblin, herself an award-winning dancer and former member of Sydney Dance Company, says, “Term one of the course will focus on instilling technique, philosophy and work ethics to a professional level, and will also provide an exciting opportunity for students to learn from nationally and internationally renowned choreographers and educators.”


Confirmed guests for term one include Australian independent choreographers Stephanie Lake, Dean Walsh and Craig Bary, alongside Lea Yanai (Principal Dancer with Goteborg Ballet) and Paul Selwyn Norton (newly appointed Director of Strut Dance Perth.)                   


However, Gamblin says the highlight of the term for the participants will be witnessing the process that the dancers from Sydney Dance Company go through in preparation for the opening night of Interplay at Sydney Theatre on March 17.


“With the Sydney Dance Company ensemble currently in residence in Walsh Bay until mid-April, the students will get a close look at the process and commitment required to bring a world-class triple bill performance together,” Gamblin says.


She continues, “To see the dancers at work with Rafael Bonachela, Gideon Obarzanek and international guest choreographer Jacopo Godani will be an incredible experience, and one of the reasons that this course is so special and, within Australia, unique.”


Term two of the Pre-Professional Year will start with five weeks working fulltime with guest choreographer Lucas Jervies to create an original work for the 2014 Pre-Professional Year major performance, to be held at Sydney Theatre on October 13.


Places on Sydney Dance Company’s nationally accredited Pre-Professional Year were hotly contested, with more than 220 dancers applying from all corners of the country and New Zealand.


Following this highly competitive recruitment process, the final cut comprises seven dancers each from regional NSW and Sydney, four from Melbourne, two each from Canberra and Brisbane, and one each from Auckland, regional Western Australia and regional Queensland. The students range in age from 17 to 23 years, each with an impressive dance history already behind them.


Several have trained internationally with institutions including Hamburg Ballet School, Zurich Opera House Ballet School, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Northern School of Contemporary Dance UK; others are BA Dance graduates from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), the Victorian College of Arts – University of Melbourne (VCA) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).


Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year includes a nationally recognised outcome (qualification CUA40111 Certificate IV in Dance) through a partnering arrangement with ATOD (RTO 31624.) For more information about the course, go to Applications for the 2015 course open in June.


Photo: Sydney Dance Company’s inaugural Pre-Professional Class of 2014. Photo by Peter Greig.