Young dancers shine on big stage

MORE than 1000 young people performed onstage at the Theatre Royal as part of the inaugural Hobart City Dance Challenge.

The Hobart City Dance Challenge was established by Cassie and John Xintavelonis to fill the void left by the cancellation of Eisteddfods and dance competitions due to COVID-19.

“We didn’t appreciate how privileged we were as kids being able to dance on the Theatre Royal stage – it was heartbreaking to see the disappointment on the kids’ faces when the Eisteddfods and dance comps were cancelled because of COVID-19,” Ms Xintavelonis said.

Different age groups participated in eight days worth of dance styles including jazz, tap, funk, hip hop, ballet and more.

Audiences were restricted due to strict COVID-19 regulations, with 200 allowed in the Theatre Royal seats for the three daily sessions – morning, matinee and evening.

“At one stage we didn’t think we could have any audience at all so we feel very lucky,” Ms Xintavelonis said.

John Xintavelonis (John X) said it was a great opportunity for the children to perform on a stage with a lot of history.

“A lot of kids danced for the first time in the amazing Theatre Royal – it was a fantastic opportunity for them to experience the beautiful theatre,” he said.

“It was a great feeling to be able to produce something like this and see the excitement on the kids’ faces when they performed under all the professional lights and staging.”

House of Dance had about 300 dancers take to the stage, ranging from four-year olds up to young adults.

“Through COVID it was really difficult, a lot of dancers had to learn routines in their lounge rooms and we went from having anywhere up to 10 performances for the year to just this one,” House of Dance instructor Casey McCrickard said.

“It was really exciting for the kids to be able to share what they had been working on with their loved ones.”

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