Why the Australian Dance Festival 2019 is not to be missed.

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If like us, you’re currently shaking your head and wondering how on earth it’s September already (and how it’s possible that Christmas is just around the corner - how?!), don’t stress. There are definitely some silver linings to this year flying by at lightning speed… and top of that list is the fact that it’s almost time for the iconic ADF to return once more! For those of you who attended last year’s breathtaking weekend of adrenaline-filled, music-blasting, talent-packed, show-stopping dance classes, workshops, competitions and performances, we’re pretty confident we’ll be seeing you back at Olympic Park this year ready to do it all over again.

…Why? There’s just something uniquely appealing and completely un-reproducible about this immersive, all-encompassing dance experience and the plethora of skills offered by it’s rotating, star-studded list of instructors. Now in it’s eleventh year, the Australian Dance Festival (under the extremely capable guidance of Owner and Director Angela Lau) is a prime example of the saying that things only improve with age, continuing to grow and evolve with every iteration, and solidifying it’s place as one of the most exciting annual events on the Australian dance calendar. With just under two weeks to go until this extraordinary Dance Festival kicks off once more we thought it was time for a little re-cap of some of the best moments from last year’s ADF, and a run-down on what will make this year the most un-missable ADF to date. See below!

Feel the energy: Hundreds of dancers took to the floor to take part in last year’s jazz workshop by Cat Santos

Feel the energy: Hundreds of dancers took to the floor to take part in last year’s jazz workshop by Cat Santos

Every September thousands of dancers converge on Sydney’s Olympic Park to take part in Australia’s largest dance festival for three unforgettable days of dance. One of the many exciting changes to the 2019 calendar however is the addition of an extra day of added workshops and competition opportunities tailored exclusively to primary and high school students, with Thursday September 19th reserved for school troupes participating in the new RESONATE Competition. This fantastic new event gives school students the chance to shine on stage at Australia’s largest dance event, as well as learn from industry great Marko Panzic during a morning of workshops.

Rochelle de Snoo and Maikolo Fekitoa during Marko Panzic’s packed Saturday workshop at ADF 2018

Rochelle de Snoo and Maikolo Fekitoa during Marko Panzic’s packed Saturday workshop at ADF 2018

Friday the 20th of September will mark the official start of ADF 2019, with the morning kicking off early as attending dancers are encouraged to arrive at 5:45am in support of Kids Helpline. With your help the Australian Dance Festival along with Dj/singer DJ Jazzy, will be attempting to break the World Record for “Most Backing Dancers Behind a Singer”, which is currently set at 837 dancers. The attempt will be covered by Channel 7 from 6am and will give national coverage to the Kids Helpline cause and all it does to help children and young people in Australia. If you are attending ADF this year, we encourage you to get involved in this wonderful mission, forego the sleep-in (just this once!) and come join us in raising awareness for Kids Helpline Australia. The Energetiks team will definitely be there bright and early!

Other highlights on the ADF schedule for Friday include an open class with Norwegian Cruise Lines, followed by Norwegian Cruise Line auditions for dancers 18+ (registration required). ADF workshops then commence at 1pm with classes in the Netball Centre and Hall of Legends, including the highly anticipated Dream Dance Co Intensives (sold separately). The Dream Dance Company has played a starring role in making the Australian Dance Festival the unforgettable experience it is year after year, with Company Founder Marko Panzic as well as current and former DDC cast members (including Cat Santos, David McLean, Lucy Doherty, Rob McLean, Neale Whitaker, Mitch Wynter, Sela Vai, Eden Petrovski and Katie Sanchez, plus plenty more) being amongst the most memorable and admired instructors to take workshops throughout the years. Panzic also features as the Festival’s much-loved Artistic Director and moonlights (to the audiences’ delight) as the cheeky and engaging presenter/MC thoughout the Festival’s evening shows.

DDC: The phenomenal cast of the Dream Dance Company’s ‘Prodigy’ on-stage during their Sunday night performance.

DDC: The phenomenal cast of the Dream Dance Company’s ‘Prodigy’ on-stage during their Sunday night performance.

More exciting still, is the return of the Dream Dance Company to the ADF stage to perform their new show ‘Deja Vu’. Last year’s upbeat, euphoric adrenaline ride ‘PRODIGY’ was a showcase of talent that spanned dancers of all ages and styles and the perfect, breath-taking finale to a weekend that had filled bodies, minds and hearts with a renewed passion and joy for dance.
If you would like to witness the Dream Dance Company in action at ADF this year (of course you would!), be sure to book your tickets for ‘Deja Vu’ here: www.thedreamdancecompany.com.

Dancer Kyra Dooley, assisting during Mitch Wynter’s class at ADF 2018.

Dancer Kyra Dooley, assisting during Mitch Wynter’s class at ADF 2018.

Dream fans will also be pleased to know that this year will be no exception to the high number of DDC alumni who regularly grace the stage as ADF instructors, with Cat Santos, Eden Petrovski, Makolo Fekitoa, Neale Whitaker, David McLean, Sela Vai, Katie Sanchez, Lauren Elton, Michael Dameski, Lauren Seymour, Caetlyn Watson - and of course Marko Panzic - all confirmed to take classes later this month. Other industry icons set to make an appearance and share their talents with the next generation of dancers include Stephen Tannos, Sarah Boulter, James Barry and the incredible Yvette Lee, whose classes are proudly sponsored by Energetiks. For the full list of workshops and instructors on offer see the ADF timetable here.

Cat Santos breaks down her choreography to a packed room of attentive dancers

Cat Santos breaks down her choreography to a packed room of attentive dancers

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And of course no ADF is complete without the incredible opportunities offered to dancers through performance avenues like the Dance Around the World Solo Comp which spotlights pre-professional rising talent and awards one lucky dancer the Major Prize (for 15+ years) of a fully funded trip to LA to experience 20 classes at The Edge Performing Arts Centre, and another lucky dancer (14 years and under) The Rising Star Award, including a $500 travel voucher and free Weekend Pass to ADF 2020.

Centre: Christian Ambesi steals the spotlight during Marko Panzic’s exhilarating workshop

Centre: Christian Ambesi steals the spotlight during Marko Panzic’s exhilarating workshop

Australia’s Best Dance Crew is another hugely anticipated showcase making up some of the evening performances - dance crews of every genre and style compete on-stage to take home the title and trophy of this year’s ‘Most Entertaining Dance Crew’, ‘Best Choreographed Dance Crew’ and ‘The Dance Crew displaying the best technical ability’, with each crew receiving a $2500 prize, and another award for ‘The Best costume’ taking home a trophy and $500 prize. The freedom and creativity encouraged by a competition that openly welcomes and recognises a diverse mix of dance, choreography and criteria for excellence guarantees an incredibly rewarding experience for all studios, students and audiences involved, and never fails to raise the roof.

ADF 2019 will also see Australia’s N.E.X.T. Choreographer Competition return for the third time, which has carved out a space for six new and upcoming choreographers each year to exhibit an original work on-stage, with the winning piece and choreographer earning a $5,000 grant to further their development, as well as mentoring by Marko Panzic, Rustin Matthew and Angela Lau on how to make the best use of the grant and realise their own dance goals. Last year’s Winner, Neven Connnolly, flawed audiences and judges alike with a highly mesmerising, punctuated piece with palpable intensity, and this year’s entrants and set to continue raising the bar.

Dancers Neale Whittaker, James Barry, Stephen Tannos, Andrew Huynh, Jordan Grant, Joe Donovan, Jordan Hill, Bayley Edmends, Pete Evans, Brendan Weal, Talia Kuo, Jessica Smithson, Lauren Elton and Tegan Jeffrey-Rushton perform during Alex Miedzinski’s exquisitely poignant piece for Australia's NEXT Choreographer, for which she was awarded runner-up.

Dancers Neale Whittaker, James Barry, Stephen Tannos, Andrew Huynh, Jordan Grant, Joe Donovan, Jordan Hill, Bayley Edmends, Pete Evans, Brendan Weal, Talia Kuo, Jessica Smithson, Lauren Elton and Tegan Jeffrey-Rushton perform during Alex Miedzinski’s exquisitely poignant piece for Australia's NEXT Choreographer, for which she was awarded runner-up.

Neale Whittaker takes dancers through a contemporary routine during his 2018 workshop, proudly sponsored by Energetiks. Neale also debuted an excerpt from his first show in the role of creative director (as well as choreographer and cast memeber), the beautiful ‘Una Palabra’.

Neale Whittaker takes dancers through a contemporary routine during his 2018 workshop, proudly sponsored by Energetiks. Neale also debuted an excerpt from his first show in the role of creative director (as well as choreographer and cast memeber), the beautiful ‘Una Palabra’.

It’s not just young, aspiring and professional dancers that ADF caters to however. The festival has long offered their private Teachers VIP Room as a gathering point for dance teachers to mingle and network, as well as enjoying talks on everything from best studio practices to creating student loyalty and Q & A sessions with the likes of Marko Panzic and Michael Dameski; there’s something for every teacher on the comprehensive schedule that spans the entire weekend (including plenty of good old fashioned food and drink!). Tickets to the Teachers VIP Room can be purchased along with regular ADF passes on the festival’s website. There are limited places, so don’t miss out.

Elke Paes takes to the floor whilst assisting Wil Sabin’s high-energy class

Elke Paes takes to the floor whilst assisting Wil Sabin’s high-energy class

 
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And last but not least, we couldn’t possibly wrap up our top reasons for booking tickets and getting yourself to ADF 2019 without mentioning our *slightly biased* all-time favourite stall to visit….

The Energetiks Stall! Our friendly team will be there all weekend long with the freshest fashion arrivals, Limited Edition collections, amazing sales and - rumour has it - a super exclusive sneak peek of an exciting, brand new collection in collaboration with one and only dancer/choreographer, Yvette Lee. Available to ADF attendees only, eek!! Come and say hi and browse all the stunning dancewear options on offer at our stall, located at the entrance to the Netball Centre.

The countdown is on. See you soon!

 

Energetiks are proud supporters of the Australian Dance Festival.

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Book your tickets for ADF 2019 here.

For more info and updates follow ADF on instagram: @ausdancefest and keep an eye on the Energetiks instagram for all the best moments of ADF 2019 (in real-time!) and news about our exciting collection launching exclusively at this year’s Festival: @energetiks


Article and photography by Elly Ford.

 

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