They’d never competed before, but that didn’t stop Mount Annan Christian College students from blitzing the national wakakirri competition.
The first-time entrants were so good at the dance contest that they beat thousands of other entrants to be named the best group of all.
Wakakirri is a national story dance competition – based on an Aboriginal word meaning ‘to dance a story’ – held annually each year since 1992.
Dances run five-seven minutes and incorporate various genres of dance and storylines.
Mount Annan Christian College headmaster Gabi Korocz said he was incredibly impressed with the students’ achievement.
“I’m very proud of our students, staff and the entire Mount Annan Christian College community,” he said.
“This is an incredibly achievement and a true testament to their hard work, commitment and dedication.”
Every group had to base their story and dance around the theme of ‘gift’.
Mount Annan chose to encapsulate the idea of the ‘greatest gift you can give’: mateship.
The school’s community engagement officer Susanna Hatava said the idea of mateship drew on the competition’s inherent connection to Australia.
“In Australia, a mate is more than just a friend,” she said.
“Mateship is about respect, shared experiences and support in life’s challenges.
“Our story followed the lives of two mates in modern Australian society.”
The story chronicled the mates’ lives from school to adulthood, including milestone moments like a wedding.
Wakakirri judges Josh Horner and Rachael Beck lauded the performance, saying it was an “incredibly production number performed with sincerity and gusto, highlighting the real essence of mateship”.
The school’s group included 52 cast and crew, most of whom had no previous dance experience.
Wakakirri coordinator and music teacher Karen Irvine said it was wonderful watching the group succeed.
“They all worked so hard to produce a high-quality story,” she said.
“It was incredible to see year 7 to 11 students working together so well from rehearsals to the final night.
“I am so proud of them all.”
Ms Hatava said the teachers had to take a step back once the final night rolled around and leave everything – including moving equipment, sets and costumes around – to the students.
“It was definitely nerve-wracking,” she said.
“It’s amazing that we won, everyone is so happy.
“It’s really cool.”
Ms Hatava expected the school would continue to enter Wakakirri competitions in the future.