Sydney Dance Company pre-professional year —students speak

In This Article

On Monday 13 October 2014, Sydney Dance Company’s Class of 2014 Pre-Professional Year will have their graduation performance at Sydney Theatre.

The 23 dancers who participated in this year's program will take to the stage in this highly anticipated showcase to demonstrate their talent and celebrate their achievements following a year of intensive training with SDC.

About the program

Open to dance students that are at least 18 years of age, this nationally accredited one-year intensive offers students the chance to work with some of Australia’s most successful and award winning choreographers and educators. Students develop their technique, artistry and performance skills alongside members of Sydney Dance Company, led by Artistic Director Rafael Bonachela.

Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year provides a strong training ground for the next generation of professionals. As one of the most recognised and respected contemporary dance companies in Australia, it’s wonderful to be able to connect with students and provide them with invaluable training opportunities, knowledge and professional experience so that they can then go and launch rewarding careers in the creative industries.

—Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director

Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year is an outstanding opportunity for aspiring dancers to gain exposure to Australia’s leading contemporary dance company. Students will develop all the skills essential for a lifelong career in contemporary dance as well as being provided with unique professional development, networking and mentorship opportunities under the guidance of the artistic staff of Sydney Dance Company.

—Darcey Bussell, CBE

Graduating students Laura Wood and Kristina Wallbank-Hutton speak about their experience:

Through Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year, we’ve had the opportunity to work intensively with Rafael Bonachela. It has been great to have the chance to play with ideas and see where our creativity would take us under his guidance.

Rafael is such a fast paced and exciting person to work with. We really had to think on the spot and think intuitively when creating. It was a great opportunity for us to test ourselves with the knowledge we had gained from the course so far and see how we would respond.

Having learnt so much throughout the Pre-Professional Year, I know that if I had been placed in the same situation before I started the course, I would have been overwhelmed. I had never realised how important improvisation skills were to a dancer. Not only does it aid in choreographic development but it’s also vital in keeping ideas fresh.

I’m so proud of my fellow dancers and how far we have come in such a small amount of time in the Pre-Professional Year. I look forward to the opportunity to work with Rafael again and I’m excited for what movement may come.

—Laura Wood

Last month we had the opportunity to work with Riley Watts from The Forsythe Company. It has been such an insightful experience and his philosophies on ‘the thinking dancer’ gave us so much food for thought. He discussed with us the concept of thinking about thinking and why we do the things we do. There were many group discussions and debates which opened up many other questions. Being given the opportunity to have a voice gave us the chance to develop our selves individually and discover our own concepts and philosophies.

I now find myself constantly thinking and questioning and finding new ideas. I used to think I knew everything about dance but now I like to think I know nothing. Every day is like my first class. I am rediscovering my body and the way it moves and I’ve stated to challenge my thinking patterns, looking for new ways to look at and feel my body.

The ‘thinking dancer’ is something that we don’t traditionally learn when we are young developing dancers, however to become a dance artist I can now see just how important it is.

Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year has opened up so many new avenues within my art form to consider.  I feel enlightened and optimistic. It just goes to show how our mind set and our thoughts can impact on how we go about our whole lives.

—Kristina Wallbank-Hutton