Santa Maria College Students Hit the Big Apple

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During the April school holidays, Dance and Drama students, and staff, headed to the Big Apple for the Performing Arts tour to New York City. The group enjoyed a full schedule which included ten Broadway and Off Broadway performances and visits to famous landmarks including Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, The Apollo Theatre in Harlem and The Lincoln Centre. The focus of the tour was to expand the students’ knowledge and skills in dance and drama through various acting and dance workshops. Students had the opportunity to learn from choreographers, directors, dancers and actors working in New York City. A couple of highlights from the 2018 tour included a meet and greet with the cast of the 2017 Tony Award winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen and working with the artistic director of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

We spoke to Year 12 students Skyla Pengilly (Drama student) and Bronte Brandis (Dance student) about their experiences.

Why did you want to go on the New York tour?

Bronte: I wanted to go on the New York Tour as soon as I found out about it. Having always loved dance and musicals I knew this tour would be really exciting and also very beneficial for my studies, as it would challenge me through the different workshops.

Skyla:    I wanted to go on the performing arts tour to New York because of how very different it is to Perth, particularly how multicultural it is. As well as the many dance and drama experiences we would have, learning from so many different professionals in the business.

What were you looking forward to most about the tour?

Bronte: What I was looking forward to most about the tour was working with different choreographers and learning different styles with professionals, in the workshops.

Skyla:    I was most looking forward to experiencing the big city and learning about the performing arts industry in New York city.

What was the highlight for the trip for you?

Bronte: The highlight of the trip for me was the day we had at the Broadway Dance Centre. We participated in a number of classes of different genres, including jazz funk, contemporary, hip-hop, tap and theatre. The uniqueness of the classes in terms of how they were taught challenged the dancers and made it a rewarding experience.

Skyla:    There were so many highlights from the trip, one was meeting the actor behind Dorota in the TV series Gossip Girl and learning from her. As well as the bike ride through Central park. These are two of my favourite moments from the trip.

How will the New York tour help you in Dance/Drama?

Bronte: The tour will help me in Dance as it has allowed me to grow as a dancer, participating in the workshops will allow me to apply the different techniques and styles in the practical aspect of the course.

Skyla:    We learnt so much from many different industry professionals, everything from improvising to scene work. It was so beneficial, as I have already applied different things we learnt into my Drama exam preparation. As well as gaining a better understanding about life in the industry.

What would you say to someone thinking about going on this tour in the future?

Bronte: To those thinking about going on the tour in the future, I would highly encourage that you do, the opportunities you receive and the talent you are exposed to is inspiring and will really help your studies.

Skyla:    To those who are considering going on this tour in the future, experiencing New York city, meeting wonderful people, and learning from industry professionals was amazing. And having these experiences alongside friends and amazing teachers made it all the more special.


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Linda Stade
Santa Maria College
Santa Maria College is located in Attadale in Western Australia, 16 km from the Perth CBD. We offers a Catholic education for girls in Years 5 – 12 and have 1300 students, including 152 boarders. Our goal is to assist students to become self-directed and independents learners. Santa Maria College consistently performs well and ranks in the top 10 schools in Perth in terms of median ATAR.
If you are interested in more information about the school please click HERE for an Enrolment Pack and HERE to book a College Tour.

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This article is brought to you by Santa Maria College a WA Catholic Girls Schools – Years 5 – 12

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