Local students benefit in arts masterclass

KELLEY ABBEY, best known for her work on Happy Feet and Fame!, spent Sunday at the Jindabyne Central School surrounded by eager pupils. She instructed them in dance, voice, and acting during a five-hour workshop. She also fielded questions from parents, participants, and dance teachers about the performing arts industry.

Abbey shared her extensive experience with attendees, teaching them to sharpen their moves, protect their bodies, and find their voices. In many ways storytelling was at the heart of the workshop.

"When you dance, you're telling a story," she explained.

The same, she said, was true of singing. Abbey also told participants to let their voices and bodies tell the story, and to always communicate honestly with the audience.

"Don't pull a face," she advised dancers. "Your face should reflect how you feel." She encouraged attendees to find joy in performing.

The 26 attendees - 25 girls and one boy - worked incredibly hard throughout the workshop, and asked thoughtful questions during the Q&A. Abbey's quiet demeanor and focus on strengths left the participants feeling comfortable and, importantly, confident. Many that were reluctant to sing at the beginning were belting out songs by midday.

Kelley Abbey's visit to Jindabyne was organized by the Tim Draxl Performing Arts Scholarship Committee in order to increase local young people's access to professional development in the performing arts.

The workshop was paid for by a grant from the Country Arts Support Program (CASP) as auspiced by the Snowy Mountains Neighbourhood Centre. The Tim Draxl Performing Arts Scholarship Committee would like to sincerely thank Kelley Abbey, the Snowy Mountains Neighbourhood Centre, Jindabyne Central School's Sheena Perry, and all of the performing arts teachers across the Monaro for the support of this event.

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