Competitions

Each year we endeavour to enrol our students in various competitions throughout Perth. Dance competitions are always a great experience for the students. It widens the field that they perform in and allows them to gauge themselves as a performer as well as a dancer.

Students have the choice to perform in solos, duos, or trios. If your child is interested in participating in any of these competitions, please speak to their teacher to find out more about what is required.

Typically, students competing in competitions will need to schedule a weekly private lesson with a teacher who will choreograph a dance for them and help them rehearse it.

Lucie Saronova Memorial Award

Held in July 2015 in Brisbance, the Lucie Saronova Memorial Award  is adjudicated at 2 levels, Silver & Gold with students at both levels participating in a closed class during the afternoon followed by an on stage performance of 2 solos each.

Lucie Saronova 1900 – 1988

Madam Saronova was the founding organiser and first chairman of the Australian Cecchetti Society Branch of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing; her term of office covering a record span of 37 years from 1934 – 1971. Born in Mill Bank, London her associations with Australia go back to 1916 when she set sail for a 3 year tour of Australasia and the Far East with a company which revolved around the talents of English actress and variety star, Ada Reeves. Madam’s future husband, Mr. Harry Jacobs, was the musical director and conductor for the company. Although a student of the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti, Madam was already a trained dancer and well seasoned professional of some 8 years before joining the London classes of Cecchetti following her return from the Southern Hemisphere tour. It was on her 9th birthday that her mother took her daughter Lucie for her first dancing lesson. For 3 years she studied with Paul Valentine, a French dancing master of repute who had settled in London; at the same time she also took classes with the Italian dancer Rita Zalmame thus receiving an introduction to the Cecchetti set work.

Thanks to her determination alongside the pioneering efforts of the original Cecchetti teachers, the Method has become a well-respected force in dance training in all states of this country

A pupil of talent she was soon leading a busy life as a child performer in both pantomime and variety, the only venues where English dancers could perform prior to the First World War. Appearing as “Little Lucie”, she was soon being noticed by London critics who even in 1911 noted what were to become her strong points as a dancer – namely a strong virtuoso technique, coupled with much versatility.

Her first overseas performances were given during 1917 in India; leading on to her Australian debut at the Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne. The Company Manager for this tour being Mr. T.J. Holt father of our future Prime Minister Harold Holt, through whose influence the Australian Ballet was founded in 1962. Before the end of 1919, “Little Lucie Linda” as she had been known professionally became Lucie Saronova due to the vogue for Russian dancers. No dancer without a Russian name would have been able to gain employment for many years. It was in this same year that Madam was accepted by the Maestro Cecchetti for instruction in his famous method of dance training, now that he had retired from touring and had settled in London to teach.

Soon Saronova had a big decision to make. After giving her one of the few certificates awarded to his English pupils, which proclaimed her right to teach his method, Cecchetti arranged for an audition with the famous director of “Les Ballets Russes”, Serge Diaghilev; however at this same time Harry Jacobs proposed marriage. After much soul searching, Madam decided on the latter course – a decision, which she was never to regret as her marriage, gave her one-month short of 67 years of happiness.

Accompanying Ada Reeves for her 3rd tour of Australia in 1921, Madam and Mr. Jacobs decided to settle in Melbourne where the former opened a dance school teaching for many years, also acting as both choreographer and leading dancer in the ballets which proceeded films at both the Capitol and Regent Theatres; whilst Mr. Jacobs become conductor of the Palais Orchestra, St Kilda. Upon her retirement as a performer Madam made one last return to London during 1934 in order to catch up on further developments in dance, before a return to Melbourne where she settled down to solely teach and so pass on the precepts of her beloved Maestro Cecchetti to successive generations of Melbourne dance students. With the advent of the Second World War, she closed her studio but was brought out of retirement by Miss Jean Alexander, the director of the National Theatre Ballet School in 1949. It was in this final phase of her career that she taught a number of students who were instrumental in seeing that her devotion to the precepts of Cecchetti were carried forward.

Always devoted to her dear Maestro, Madam taught his work with skill, along with joy in dance. Thanks to her determination alongside the pioneering efforts of the original Cecchetti teachers in South Australia (Wanda Edwards) and N.S.W. (Estelle Anderson), the Method has become a well-respected force in dance training in all states of this country.

By Athol Willoughby O.A.M.

West Coast Dance Festival Competitions

The West Coast Dance Festival competitions are held during the April and October school holidays. These competitions are usually held at St Marys Anglican School and are state-wide competitions. Ballet, Modern and Contemporary students are eligible to participate.

RAD Competitions

The prestigious RAD competitions are held in Fremantle over the WA Day long weekend.

 

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. – Martha Graham