Spotlight on emerging dancers

The 40th Mount Gambier Eisteddfod will start at the Sir Robert Helpmann theatre tomorrow with four days of the dance division.

This year, the eisteddfod recognises the contribution to the local dance scene by the late Barbara Lees/Margiotta.

At the peak of her career, Barbara ran the biggest dance school in Mount Gambier and was well known for her concerts, Syncopated Fantasy which she staged every alternate year.

A perpetual memorial scholarship has been set up by a former student Lisa Maywald and contestants will vie for the honour of being the first recipient, by attending a workshop with the adjudicator which will count for half their marks and then dancing a contemporary/creative routine on stage on Saturday, during the afternoon session, for the remaining points.

A spokesperson for Backstage Incorporated, which runs the Mount Gambier Eisteddfod, said organisers were pleased to have the scholarship as part of the competitions, as the organisation was started by volunteers, the majority of whom were Syncopated Fantasy helpers.

Melbourne’s Nichole Davis will adjudicate the four days of dance and then conducting workshops on Sunday morning.

Ms Davis has generously requested that her fee for the workshop be donated to Headspace.

The Calisthenics division has strong entries and follows the week after dance.

The Wehl Street Divisions follow immediately after calisthenics with Choral and Vocal, Speech and Drama, Music and Debating.

Although entries in these divisions are down slightly, organisers are hoping they will pick up in the next few years when the COVID situation settles.

“Feedback tells us that many people are still very wary of both travel and of mixing in enclosed spaces,” the spokesperson said.

“Two Melbourne adjudicators, who were booked for 2021 but were not used due to forced COVID cancellation of divisions, will be here this year.

“Melissa Langton will adjudicate the Choral and Vocal division and Matthew van Emmerik, a world-renowned Euphonium player, will adjudicate the music.”

All sessions of the Eisteddfod, with the exception of workshops, are open to the public to view and the public are encouraged to come along and support local contestants as well as those who travel from as far afield as Adelaide and Victoria.

Tickets are available at the door.

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