Seven years into Hoppers Crossing Secondary College’s Story-Dance experience with Wakakirri there have been some noticeable changes at the school.
Nothing succeeds like success and after featuring in the finals for the last four years, this time Hoppers hit gold, taking out the National Story of the Year with their show Be Careful What You Whisper.
But while the show was a hit and the win was exciting for the dancers, and production crew, involvement in Story-Dance also had other school-wide effects; first, the students want to be involved, from what started as a cohort of 40 there were over 260 applications for Story-Dance this year.
Staff have acknowledged that Story-Dance is a great way of opening up communication and collaboration between all the senior years at the school and there is now a thriving dance and performance culture at Hoppers Crossing. But what’s more, the program is a way for students to talk about issues they face.
This year’s story dance centred on social media and the trouble carelessness on the platforms can cause, the story was decided upon by an anonymous vote among the students at Hoppers. Tellingly, several Story-Dances this year explored social media but Hoppers Crossing did it best.
There were also a couple of stars discovered, dancers Terence Kavakula and Madeline Page will be attending Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance in North Melbourne on scholarships next year after catching the judges’ eyes.
Madeline Page fielded a couple of offers from dance schools before opting to attend Ministry of Dance.
For Terence, the Story Dance experience was a win win; “You get to be with your friends, you get out of school and I got to do something which I liked doing anyway,” he said.
Putting on the show was a massive effort for the students and staff with teachers Jemma Lowther, Kate Elmer and Neisha Macrae going above and beyond to make the show happen.
While the dancers took the spotlight, the backstage crew worked tirelessly to make the show come together.
The production required some give and take, “To my backstage crew I cannot thank you enough for getting yelled at by me. When the directors changed the corrie when they changed the positions and we had to go back, repaint and reorganise everything and you guys just did it with pride, with no questions, stayed back late, came in for extra nights.
“This year we won an award for our lighting and our projection, so well done to the team that was in charge of that, I’m so very, very proud of my backstage ninjas,” said Kate Elmer who was in charge of the backstage team.
National panel Member Kristin Agnoli said of the production; “The start the middle the end and the resolve, it just came together so nicely, you had energy, you had life, you had the story, the sets and it just was so enjoyable to watch.”