31 August, 2023

Tullawong dance students relish Sydney tour

Sixty-seven dance extension students from Tullawong State High School (SHS) savoured the chance to visit the Opera House and participate in numerous dance-related workshops and activities during a recent Sydney dance tour.

Tullawong State High School students at Sydney Dance Company after their Lyrical Class.
Tullawong State High School students at Sydney Dance Company after their Lyrical Class.

The four-day tour provided opportunities for the dance extension students from the Caboolture-based school to engage with real world industry level dance experiences, and to expand their own skills.

Offered exclusively to Tullawong SHS students, these interstate dance tours have been scheduled every two years – alternating between Sydney and Melbourne – although this year’s tour was the first for a few years due to covid.

The students were accompanied by four staff: deputy principal Joshe Newton, head of arts department Zoe Wells, and dance extension teachers Natasha King and Monique Kennedy.

Ms Wells said the main purposes of the tour were team bonding and to build the confidence of the students, to challenge their technical and expressive skills, and to develop industry links and networks for future pathways.

Ms Wells said the students were exceptionally well behaved throughout the tour and had a wonderful time, and that they stayed in group accomodation in the centre of the NSW capital.

“The tour developed as an extra opportunity for students in the dance extension program to build up their technical and expressive skills in a range of dance styles from Lyrical to Hip Hop,” Ms Wells said.

“It allows students to engage with the dance industry, work with professional dancers and choreographers and realise their potential in the dance space.”

Ms Wells said the students were able to network with industry professionals, and to learn from some of Australia’s leading dancers and choreographers.

“One of our students has been approached by some of the full-time dance colleges to study full-time with them next year, which demonstrates the opportunities that can come from tours like this,” she said.

“Students have come back from the tour more dedicated and passionate to their dance studies and inspired to make dance and the creative arts their future pathway.”

Ms Wells said tour highlights included dance workshops at Sydney Dance Company, ED5, and Ev and Bow, while other highlights were the Opera House Backstage Tour, observations of full-time dance students at Brent Street studios, and viewing a professional live production of Beauty and the Beast.

Upon arrival, the Tullawong SHS group hopped onto a sight-seeing double decker bus tour of the city, giving the chance to appreciate all of its beauty and iconic landmarks including the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach.

Day two began with the dance workshops at ED5; a tertiary full-time dance college. The Tullawong SHS group was welcomed by college owner and renowned choreographer William Forsyth, who has worked with identities such as Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Samantha Jade.

Mr Forsyth conveyed his wisdom and knowledge of the dance industry, before the students took part in a Hip Hop workshop and a musical theatre workshop.

Afterwards, the students climbed more than 200 steps to reach the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and enjoy the view.

The students had a buffet dinner on a Sydney Harbour Cruise, while enjoying the sights and lights of the city at night.

On day three, there were morning workshops at Sydney Dance Company where a couple of industry professionals took the Tullawong SHS group through a lyrical and traditional Broadway jazz class.

The group then headed to the Brent Street studios – a full-time tertiary dance college – and viewed classes in the genres of ballet, musical theatre and jazz.

The group also watched leading choreographer Cassie Bartho rehearsing her new dance work ‘Unholy’ for the upcoming Australian Dance Festival.

In the evening, the students viewed the musical Beauty and the Beast at the Capitol Theatre, and were captivated by the magical storyline, elaborate sets and costumes, and entertaining song and dance numbers.

The Tullawong SHS group began the final day with a guided tour of the Opera House where the tourists went inside and backstage, and learned about the historical significance of the landmark and the contribution it has had on Australia’s cultural identity.

Students then explored Circular Quay, and admired the full beauty of the harbour.

The group then travelled to Ev and Bow; a full-time dance college owned by Australian dance icon Sarah Boulter who has worked with Celine Dion and has choreographed for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.

Students learned a commercial jazz routine by Pete Evans and a contemporary dance routine by Ms Boulter.

Students built on their skills including how to improvise, use their weight to enhance their movement qualities, and letting go of their inhibitions to perform.

The Tullawong SHS group returned to Brisbane, no doubt with plenty of stories to share. 

Anyone interested in auditioning for Tullawong SHS’s dance extension program for 2024 is asked to contact Ms Wells at for more information.


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