Murrumbidgee Regional High School

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Murrumbidgee Dazzles at School Spectacular 2023

School Spectacular 2023

Murrumbidgee took to the stage at the School Spectacular last week, dazzling crowds and leaving audiences howling for more.

Our Pasifika girls dance troupe and ALEC’s Yirra Miya dance troupe were invited to the extravaganza, with both groups performing their own piece followed by an ensemble piece at the end. Needless to say, the eight girls left a huge impression on the concertgoers.

The girls performed four shows at Qudos Bank Arena, but not before a week of painstaking rehearsals leading up to the debut. Although the students had been working on their performance via video link throughout the term, face to face rehearsals turned out to be considerably more intensive than the dancers were expecting.

Yirra Miya performed Bangarra Dance Theatre’s piece Brolga with over ninety Indigenous students from across the state. The students worked with Sani Townson and Sidney Saltner from the Bangarra Youth Program to mould the piece into a performance worthy of the occasion.

Meanwhile, our Pasifika girls performed a self-choreographed piece directed by Joanne King from the Arts Unit. The dance was a celebration of Pacific Island culture that incorporated traditions from across the region. The performance had the girls share the stage with Bollywood dancers and Taiko drummers, ending with a dance to Vanessa Amorosi’s hit Absolutely Everybody along with 400 students in total.

The grand finale of the piece had the girls join 5000 students for an epic closer and was the perfect way to close the proceedings. The sight of that many students on stage moving in unison was truly something to behold.

A huge thank you is in order for teachers and staff who supervised the event. There was never a dull moment in the lead up to the show. Bus driver Ken Townsing was even given a headset and put to work backstage while our ALEC staff painted dancers and made costumes for Brolga.

The ALEC staff also got a taste of the limelight themselves for the live Welcome to Country. The opener asked for every Aboriginal student, teacher and staff member involved in the performance to be on stage while the cultural protocol was delivered.

“It was an amazing week and I’m definitely taking them back next year,” exclaims ALEC Head Teacher Allison Stewart, “It was exhausting, but I could not fault the behaviour of my kids. They were perfect.”

The students no doubt felt a rush from performing in front of such a massive crowd. Saturday evening’s performance in front of a sold out audience of 24 000 however, was perhaps the biggest adrenaline hit for the kids. Apparently, the noise from the crowd absolutely blew the performers away.

“They wanted it to look spectacular and it really did,” recounts Mrs Stewart, “Our kids were excited but overwhelmed at performing in front of that many people. The atmosphere of the Aboriginal kids coming together was truly amazing.”

During their off hours, the dancers got to enjoy some shopping and site seeing around Sydney. There was also plenty of down time between rehearsals for the girls to make friends with some of their fellow performers and fans. Notably, our Pasifika dancers even got to meet Samoan Australian hero Jay Laga'aia.

“We had hundreds of kids come up to the kids telling them they loved the dance,” explains teacher Hannah Lonergan, “Kids were lining up to get the girls’ Instagram accounts. I’m sure they got a lot of new fans out of that.”

“I am so proud of these girls and what they achieved this week. It will take them a while to recover. Once they do, I hope they can look back on their fantastic efforts with pride,” adds Ms Lonergan.

The show will be broadcast on Channel 7 on 9 December at 7pm so be sure to tune in to see the spectacle in all its grandeur.