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GALLERY: Students to strut their stuff at Hunter Schools Dance Festival


More than 2,000 talented students will take to the stage next week for the 2023 Hunter Schools Dance Festival.

Forty educational institutions, featuring youngsters from Kindergarten to Year 12, are scheduled to play a role in the four-night extravaganza – from Monday 24 to Thursday 27 July – at NEX Newcastle, with all sessions starting at 6.30pm.

The much-loved event highlights the range of styles explored through the study of dance in public schools.

These performances are underpinned by creativity, confidence and respect for one another fostered by their dedicated teachers.

In 2023, Belair Public, Belmont North Public, Belmont Public, Biddabah Public, Blackalls Park Public, Boolaroo Public, Callaghan College Wallsend Campus, Callaghan College Waratah Campus, Cardiff North Public, Charlestown Public, Coal Point Public, Denman Public, Dudley Public, Gresford Public, Greta Public, Hunter School of the Performing Arts – Primary, Hunter School of the Performing Arts – Secondary, Irrawang High, Kahibah Public, Kearsley Public, Kitchener Public, Kotara High, Lake Munmorah High, Lochinvar Public, Maitland High, Maitland Public, Merewether Heights Public, Merewether Public, Muswellbrook Public, Muswellbrook South Public, New Lambton Heights Infants, New Lambton Public, Rutherford Public, Rutherford Technology High, Shoal Bay Public, Tighes Hill Public, Waratah Public, Warners Bay Public, Whitebridge High and Wirreanda Public schools will all play a major role.

The festival gives pupils an opportunity to experience performing in a professional production to an audience while they also gain an understanding of the arts industry. 

Denman Public School.

And, it’s something the students cherish for a lifetime, according to Denman Public dance teacher Mel Whiteman.

“We’re only a small school, nestled in the Upper Hunter,” she said.

“But, we have a proud dance culture, with our groups participating at the festival for more than 15 years.

“In 2023, we’ve got juniors (Years 3 and 4) and seniors (Years 5 and 6) making the 270km round trip to experience performing under lights.

“External dance opportunities in our rural town are limited, so the Hunter Dance Festival provides a wonderful chance for our pupils to become performers.

“Over the years we’ve had many students nominate themselves for this opportunity with several mixed aged, boys’ and girls’ groups.

“Our school P&C has also been big supporters of the Hunter Dance Festival, generously contributing to the cost of costumes and coach travel.

“And, during term 4, you’ll find our Year 5 and Year 6 pupils learning traditional Australian bush dances in preparation for our annual Year 6 dinner.

“Every Thursday morning, you will find the whole school participating in morning dance, led by the senior students.

“So, we certainly love dance at Denman Public School and everyone is very excited to be a part of the Hunter Schools Dance Festival this year.”

Tickets are available for each performance through TryBooking.

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