Ararat prepares for week of dancing
Dance competitors and their families from across the state are set to gather in Ararat from Friday for the 63rd annual Ararat Eisteddfod.
The eisteddfod, one of the largest events of its kind in western Victoria, has again attracted record entries as part of a growth trend.
It will be at Ararat Performing Arts Centre from Friday until September 29.
Eisteddfod secretary Chris Harris said the week-long competition provided an opportunity for people who enjoyed dancing and performing in front of an audience, to make new friends and share their experiences.
“They also receive critiques of their performance from our experienced adjudicators, which enables them to continue to strive for self improvement and develop as an artist,” she said.
“Our adjudicators this year are Jason Duff and Claire Heywood from Melbourne, who will be kept extremely busy.”
Competitors will compete in a variety of dance genres from jazz and tap to contemporary and classical ballet in solo, duo and trio items.
Patrons will be able to watch performances on every day of the competition from 9am until about 9.30pm.
A Friday night ‘Troupe Day’ extravaganza at Ararat Town Hall on September 27 will feature performances from 110 troupes from 18 dance schools.
“Troupe Day is a traditional highlight of the eisteddfod and we encourage the community to come along and witness the performances of these students,” Ms Harris said.
“Sessions begin at 9am, 1.30pm and 6pm with entry $10 per session.”
Ms Harris said senior championship sections had attracted ‘excellent’ entries.
“This Saturday during the evening session 13 students will compete in senior tap and senior jazz championships,” she said. “On Tuesday the modern championship will have 15 competitors and the senior ballet championship 23 competitors vying for the trophies.
“The standard presented in this championship will be very high with a number of the entrants having recently competed at the Sydney Eisteddfod in August.”
The junior championship will be on the final day of the eisteddfod, September 29.
“There will be plenty of entertainment for all throughout the week and we invite everyone to come along and witness these enjoyable performances where every student strives for their personal best,” Ms Harris said.
Ms Harris said financial support from Ararat Rural City Council and Creative Victoria helped Ararat Eisteddfod cover facility and adjudicator expenses.
“Many local businesses and individuals also contribute by sponsoring sections or contributing to the prize fund,” she said.
“Ararat Eisteddfod committee is grateful for the generous support of all donors.
“We hope businesses will welcome many visitors during the week as they visit the shops, restaurants and cafes, motels and tourist attractions of Ararat.”
Ms Harris said the event also required many volunteers throughout the week to ensure it runs smoothly.
“The Ararat Eisteddfod committee consists of 11 hard-working volunteers who provide a wonderful competition, known throughout the dance community as a well-organised and efficiently run competition, which is friendly and lots of fun,” she said.
“The committee is supported by parents of dancers and personal friends who volunteer for shifts throughout the week.
“Many of our competitors and their families return year after year because they love our competition and the friendly Ararat community.”
ANNUAL PERFORMER: Katelyn Barentsen, from Magpie, performs a classical solo at the 62nd Ararat Eisteddfod. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER