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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Studios navigate dance exams

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

ARARAT’S two dance schools are completing their ballet and tap exams these school holidays.

Students at Dynamic Dance Ararat performed for an examiner on Sunday and Ararat Dance Centre has chosen to utilise technology, video recording their exams throughout the holidays.

PHOTO: Ararat Dance Centre classical ballet silver medal dancers (left, front to back) Ella Clarke, Greta Pender, Grace Wheeler and Rachael Corbet, (right, front to back) Poppy Toner, Olivia Davidson, Beth Pender, Grace Monaghan and Benjamin Raatz. (Jack Ward/Ararat Advocate)

Owner of Dynamic Dance, Laura Cameron, said the successful completion of their 43 exams has been a relief after lockdown put them in limbo.

“It was challenging leading up to the exams with the lockdown because we had to complete Zoom lessons, but we were pretty lucky to be able to sit them face-to-face with Miss Deena Peacock actually there,” she said.

“We originally had our date set the week before but with all the disruptions we decided to extend it out by a week, just to make sure that the students could be ready.”

Ararat Dance Centre owner, Karly Harris, said while this year has been smoother than last, the most recent lockdown came at the wrong time for students trying to rehearse.

“It hit us a bit harder because it did really interrupt our preparations for the upcoming exams,” she said.

“Decisions had to be made at the start of that lockdown, not knowing whether it was going to be extended, or what was going to happen.”

With that uncertainty, Ms Harris decided she would video all 50 of her exam students these holidays to allow for flexibility and remove the need for an examiner to travel.

“We went with filming which means the kids can still get the exams completed, they'll still get assessed the same way and the same examiner will watch the videos once we've sent them in,” she said.

Ararat Dance Centre students are examined under the Australian Teachers of Dancing syllabus and Dynamic Dance students under the Australian Academy of Theatrical and Ballet Dancing syllabus.

Mrs Cameron said their examiner was pleased to be able to check-in with the Dynamic Dance students having not seen them last year.

“She said that they were all beautiful, she thought that they were achieving a really lovely standard and she thoroughly enjoyed her afternoon.”

Both studio owners congratulated their respective students who have or will be completing their exams these school holidays, for adapting and maintaining dedication.

Ms Harris said many of Ararat Dance Centre’s students chose to complete two levels of exams to play catch-up from last year.

“They've worked their butts off to learn two levels and memorize that, so some kids have sat four exams,” she said.

“The kids have been really determined and I think that's why they've pushed through all the challenges of filming it.”

Students will receive their results in Term 3.

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