Pre-Professional Year 2020; Dancers perspectives.


7 December 2020


Daniel Boud

2020 has thrown us all some curveballs but with challenge comes opportunity and the 26 dancers from this year’s Pre-Professional Year (PPY) cohort took it all in their stride. On December 7 and 8, with the support of production partner Herme’s Australia, the dancers will finish the year on a high as they take to the stage at Carriageworks for PPY20 Revealed. We chatted with a few of the dancers; Remy Rochester, Emily McMahon and Coco Wood and asked them to share a bit about their experience this year.

Join the waitlist for PPY20 Revealed for your chance to see this year’s talented PPY cohort in action.
Remy, you have spent two years in Pre-Professional Year now. Can you tell us a bit about your experience?


2020 is my second year in the course and as I reflect on the past two years I am filled with gratitude and pride. The emotional and intellectual transformation I experienced in my first year has been given space to manifest itself externally in my second year and as a result, I am now dancing with much more freedom, authenticity, and passion.

I feel grounded by the tools and knowledge that have been passed on to me throughout the course, by choreographers, teachers and mentors, who shared their wisdom, kindness, empathy and trust with us. I have developed skills that I know I will use going forward into every area of my life.

Through a focus on mindfulness, I have been able to let go of the negative self-talk I carried for years, and start dancing from a place of joy, curiosity and wonderment. I am now looking at the world of dance with incredible excitement and eagerness. The career I have always dreamt about doesn’t feel quite so far away anymore.

Photo by Wendell Teodoro

Emily, you were introduced to the Pre-Professional Year ethos through your year in the Senior Contemporary Dance stream at McDonald College. Following on from that experience you decided to audition for PPY and were successful. Can you tell us a bit about your experience this year?

It has been an extraordinary year and the course has influenced me not just as a dancer but as an individual. Its supportive and professional environment enabled me to grow as a creative individual. Rather than the course just focusing on the aesthetics of the body, the program delves deeper by tapping into the internal body and the functionality of movement and the body.

Through the course, I have learnt more about my body, including its limitations and how to address them in a safe and functional way. I have deepened my understanding of contemporary dance and widened my scope of knowledge about movement and the body. I am most grateful for being taught in a supportive non-judgmental environment with a range of professional artists and choreographers all with different interests and practices.

COVID-19 has had a massive impact on this year which meant turning the lounge room into a dance studio. Although it was challenging, I personally gained more insight into who I am as a contemporary dancer. Instead of having that person there to help guide your movement and a cohort to keep you motivated it was up to you. My movement evolved during this period as there was an excessive amount of time to explore and learn new pathways and practices.

Photo by Wendell Teodoro

Coco, you have an interest in both ballet and contemporary dance, can you tell us a bit about how the course has influenced the way you approach your dance practice?

PPY has provided a collaborative environment to explore ideas, beliefs and values through regular discussions, allowing me to recognise my own individual growth. I was able to draw on my classical and contemporary training to explore new ideas of efficiency and arrive at a sense of ease and stability. I feel fortunate to have worked with the main company this year as an understudy. Working and collaborating with Company dancers has allowed me a fresh perspective which I could bring back into PPY as we perform 6 Breaths by Rafael Bonachela.

Photo by Wendell Teodoro

Limited tickets remain to experience PPY20 Revealed. The season closes on Tuesday 8 December.
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