Parkes School of Dance students literally danced with joy on Sunday having the privilege of being the very first performers to inaugurate the brand-new Cooke Park Pavilion.
The school’s annual end-of-year concert showcased different dance types from classical ballet, tap dance and jazz to contemporary, lyrical and acro with more than 70 dancers presenting a program of 15 different items.
“We were pretty privileged and it was wonderful that we could share our love of dance in the open air,” said Natalie Williams.
As the sound travels well outside, they acquired more spectators on Sunday and during rehearsals from people in the park and bystanders.
Being the guinea pigs testing out the new venue, Natalie said everything went pretty seamless. “Not having to hire someone to do the lights was huge for us, and backstage we could iron costumes and do everything we needed.”
It was a great way to end a tumultuous year of COVID interruptions, the sad loss of teacher Cathy Acret in March to cancer, the return to online learning in term 3, and having to film students for their Royal Academy of Dance exams.
“We are so proud of the students showing so much resilience, determination and grit to get through this year,” said Natalie.
“The students were thrilled to be back on stage, and for many it was their first time with 20 pre-schoolers also performing.” Despite the extra level of organisation required to ensure a COVID-safe event, “it all came together in the end on a sunny day!”
By Maggi Barnard