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Year 12 student Annalise has been awarded a Premier's Prize for VCE Dance. We sat down with her to find out more about her love of dance.

How long have you been dancing?

I started when I was three years old. This is my 15th year. 

I do ballet, jazz, tap, acrobatics, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, pointe; the whole lot. I really love contemporary because there is so much freedom to it. 

I usually dance at the Studio V School of Dance in Heidelberg, but for VCE Dance I went to the Cheryl Kaloger Brown School of Dance. I had to choreograph at home but so did the rest of the State!

Tell us about the piece you did for your VCE exam.

I was the choreographer. With VET Dance your teacher choreographs the dance for you, but in VCE Dance you choreograph your own.  

I am personally passionate about the environment and animals and I wanted to incorporate that somehow and do something quite animalistic in my movements. The formal structure of the piece is narrative so each section is different. Section A was a jellyfish roaming free in the ocean, Section B was the jellyfish seeing prey and wanting to capture the prey and chasing it. In Section C [the jellyfish] becomes entangled because the prey is actually a piece of plastic, and it’s trying to break free. At the very end I do break free!

Pic: Dancetrain Magazine

Tell us about the assessment.

I performed in front of a panel of three assessors in a studio. 

In a Composition Solo you are assessed solely on the intention and how you progress that intention and how your movement vocabulary portrays the story.

Usually you also have a Skills Solo, which is an assessment based on your technique, but because of COVID they took out the Skills Solo altogether. So then the Composition Solo was worth 50 percent instead of 25 percent. The pressure was on for the Competition Solo!

Pic: Dancetrain Magazine

What do you love about dancing?

I love the social side of it - some of my best friends are from there whom I’ve literally grown up with. And I love the performance side of it, I absolutely love being on stage. It was quite hard in 2020 - I didn’t go on stage for a whole year. This year we had competitions just before the last lockdown and that was so good! 

I just love how dancing is always different. You go to a ballet class and its so different to jazz and contemporary and tap, you never get bored of it! Dance is a sport and a performing art - it's just everything. 

What does winning the Premier's Prize mean for you?

I was surprised. Honestly, because I didn’t even know they existed! Obviously I was proud of myself because I knew I had put in a lot of work and I was happy enough with my score. VCE Dance was something I've always wanted to do. 

What do you say to girls that are thinking of broadening their VCE subject selection with a subject such as Dance?

If you really want to do it, then obviously go do it! If it's something that you love and you are passionate about its going to be so much easier to study for then the subjects that you are less passionate about. 

For someone like me who really loves dance, VCE Dance is fascinating because you learn how to choreograph, you learn all the terminology... Last year, people always used to ask me: what do you do in VCE Dance? I guess it can be quite like bizarre to think about it as a subject for someone who doesn't do dance, but its just like any other arts subject, you analyse pieces of work that aren’t your own, you write essays on then, there’s a bunch of terminology...  and then there’s the actual dance!

What are your plans for next year?

I've actually just completed my Dance Teaching Course Certificate, and I'm still waiting on results that come out in a week or so. If I pass I'm hoping to be a Dance Teacher at my school. Apart from that I want to study at La Trobe and do a Bachelor of Wildlife and Conservation. That's my passion, and dance is my other passion, my outlet.