Ballet eisteddfod exceeds expectations – Ballarat Times

FOUR days, one hundred and fifty dancers, three hundred and eighty-two performances and two judges made up the inaugural Ballarat Ballet Eisteddfod last week.

Ninety percent of competitors represented six local dance schools and took to the stage at Federation University’s Founders Theater in classical, neo-classical, lyrical, half-character, jazz and contemporary sections .

Ballarat Ballet Eisteddfod Treasurer Sallee Caldwell said the local field was very strong.

“Ballarat has a really wonderful dance community and the performers were very competitive. The 16+ contemporary was very popular, with a large number of competitors,” she said.

“Overall, many sections had large audiences. Instead of selling tickets for each session, we allowed contestants to have an unlimited ticket so that their friends and family could come and watch the section they liked for free.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a group eisteddfod, and it really exceeded our expectations.”

The organizers also decided to organize the judges’ presentations in a “fresh” way, welcoming the competitors on stage for a short ten-second performance before the announcements.

“It created a really good atmosphere in the theater as the audience was really excited to see what the dancers were going to perform when they returned,” Ms Caldwell said.

Eisteddfod organizers are currently conducting a post-comp survey and have gathered feedback from over 50% of attendees.

Ms Caldwell said responses generally mentioned the welcoming environment of the competition and that it went well.

“Everyone was really happy to be there, from staff to competitors, parents and guardians,” she said.

“We look forward to 2023 and plan to expand the eisteddfod to have championship sections, duos and trios, and a novice section to separate abilities.

“We had 10% competitors from Geelong and Melbourne this year and we will be looking to attract more dancers from those areas. We hope to increase support for sponsors and offer significant prizes. »

Ms Caldwell said the eisteddfod was able to operate for the first time with support from a community impact grant from the City of Ballarat.

The organizers are grateful for the support of the dance community, the expertise of judges Kiara Watkin and Donna Lierse, and title sponsor Capezio who “took a chance” with a brand new line-up.

Ballarat Ballet Eisteddfod is a non-profit organization started by a group of local friends.

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