FOUNDER OF NA­TIONAL DANCE COM­PE­TI­TION DID IT TOUGH

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Jil­lian Mc­Kee

SHOW­CASE Dance Cham­pi­onships cre­ator Peter Ox­ford is among the big­gest suc­cess sto­ries to come out of Mt Druitt.

Ox­ford grew up as an adopted child liv­ing with cys­tic fi­bro­sis in Mt Druitt.

“My teach­ers al­ways told me I would never amount to any­thing and that danc­ing was not a ca­reer,” he said.

Af­ter win­ning a dance com­pe­ti­tion in the US, Ox­ford said he wanted to prove to peo­ple what he could do.

“In Aus­tralia we only had lo­cal dance com­pe­ti­tions – noth­ing na­tional so I came up with the con­cept of start­ing a na­tional dance com­pe­ti­tion in Aus­tralia,” he said.

“I knew start­ing the com­pe­ti­tion was a risk and a gam­ble.

“I used to be stuff­ing en­velopes in my par­ents’ lounge­room just hop­ing peo­ple would en­ter.”

The first year of the Show- case Dance Cham­pi­onship saw 400 peo­ple en­ter, now in its 21st year the com­pe­ti­tion sees more than 4000 acts from across the coun­try.

“I con­sider my­self very lucky,” Ox­ford said.

“I em­ploy a lot of peo­ple from the Mt Druitt area to work for me now and I find that they are the hard­est work­ers as they know what it’s like to do it tough.

“I was al­ways told my pas­sion wouldn’t make me any money, but kids with a per­form­ing arts tal­ent shouldn’t be dis­cour­aged be­cause they aren’t aca­demic.”

Since be­gin­ning the com­pe­ti­tion Ox­ford has awarded more than $1.3 mil­lion in cash and prizes to as­pir­ing dancers and their fam­i­lies.

“For some fam­i­lies in the area af­ford­ing dance can be very ex­pen­sive,” he said.

“For me, my mother went back to work just so I could go to my dance lessons.”

Peter Ox­ford with some of this year’s Show­case win­ners.

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