FOUNDER OF NATIONAL DANCE COMPETITION DID IT TOUGH
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.