Aboriginal student dancers learn from the best

A group of Aboriginal dance students from schools across the state have been selected to take part in a program where they will learn from mentors from Australia's leading Indigenous performing arts organisation, Bangarra Dance Theatre.

The 28 students were selected to join the NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company for their commitment and excellence after participating in a series of dance workshops with more than 700 other students.

A partnership between the NSW Department of Education & Communities' Arts Unit and the Bangarra Dance Theatre, this initiative will provide the talented student dancers opportunities to learn from the best and perform at a range of high-profile events.

They will also form the lead group of the Schools Spectacular Aboriginal Dance Ensemble.

The students, who range from Year 7 students to those in their final year of school, are currently in the second of three Sydney rehearsals ahead of their first performance at the State Dance Festival in September at Sydney's Seymour Centre.

They are receiving technical dance training and learning a work called Bilthu, especially created for them by Bangarra's youth program director Sidney Saltner and Patrick Thaiday, a former featured dancer with the company and now its youth workshop leader.

 Student dancers.

Photo: Student dancers Cheroki, Tainga, Myah, Alanna, Tristan and Keanah.

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