Teen sailor inspires dance

12 December 2011

Dapto Primary School students.

Teen sailor inspires winning dance production

An Illawarra primary school has used teen sailor Jessica Watson's circumnavigation of the world as the inspiration for a dance production, which has earned them a top award in a national arts festival.

Dapto Primary School's production True Inspiration won first place in the 2011 Story Dance category at the story-sharing arts festival Wakakirri Primary, which challenges schools to "make a positive impact on the world around you".

The national win followed on from their success as NSW regional winners and the Junior Rock Eisteddfod where they won the Spirit of J-Rock Award.

A community inspiration

Teacher and dancing spectacular coordinator, Jane Nordstrom said the dancers and back-stage crew had practised tirelessly and were an inspiration to the community.

"It brought the school and community together, encouraging the students to work together, persevere and achieve their goals," Ms Nordstrom said.

School captain and performer in the dance production, Chelsea Allport, said having the chance to perform alongside her friends made her feel special.

"Words can't really explain the feeling you get when you hop on stage. Jessica Watson is such an inspiring person and to be given the chance to share her story on stage was an amazing experience," she said.

Jessica's ongoing involvement

The school kept in contact with Jessica through the year, and, inspired by her work with the United Nations World Food Program, teamed the dancers with the Dapto Public School choir to raise funds to help children overseas.

Jessica sent an email of encouragement as well as a pre-recorded message which said: "I'm sure that there have been plenty of times during all the preparation that haven't been easy, maybe even times when you wondered why you were doing it? I certainly had a few of those moments while out at sea! But hang in there; I'm sure it will be more than worth it on the big night."

Other winners

School captain Zac Severn was also a finalist in the Story Arts category and won the Positive Impact Award.

"My Wakakirri Story Art entry is about water and how it can affect the way we live. When I was drawing the story I felt really happy because I was creating something new ... When I found out I had won the Positive Impact Award I felt thrilled that all of my hard work and effort was worthwhile."

Student Sophie Edwards received a Highly Commended Award for her entry in the Wakakirri Story Arts category, which was about a beachside town hit by a tsunami.

"The moral of my story is that no matter what happens we should always pull together and help each other out, which is what these people did in this unfortunate and tragic case, to rebuild their town."

Photo: Dapto Public School students perform sailor Jessica Watson's story. Photo by Helen Cunningham.

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