Diploma Developing Artists Maddison Paluch and Kiara Wilson recently completed an intensive one-week secondment with Sydney Dance Company. The secondment was an opportunity for them to extend their professional training and experience what it is like to dance with a professional company.
We had a chat with both Maddison and Kiara to find out what the experience meant to them and how it helped propel their professional development.
Tell us a little about your recent secondment with Sydney Dance Company:
Maddison: We went to Sydney Dance Company for one week of training alongside 22 other dancers from around Australia and the world from countries including Japan, the US and Germany.
While we were there, we undertook classes with heaps of different choreographers. We also were given a glimpse into rehearsals and were given the chance to watch one of their current productions.
Kiara: Throughout the week we participated in a range of classes from improvisation to ballet. We were also taught four repertoires – one from a current Sydney Dance Company show and three from past shows – by a former company member, Juliette.
Maddison: On the final day, we did a showing for Rafael (Sydney Dance Company Artistic Director) and the Pre Professional Year artists to show them everything we learnt throughout the week. It was a nerve-racking but satisfying experience!
What did you take away from the experience? Did the secondment give you a taste of what it would be like to dance in a company after NAISDA?
Kiara: It definitely helped to grow my abilities in certain areas. Due to the fast pace of the program, we had to absorb all of the information and choreography really quickly in order to keep up.
Maddison: It made me realise just how fast-paced a professional company is, as well as all of the different skills that are required to succeed in a company environment. It was a great skill-building opportunity and gave us a good sneak peek into what it would be like to dance in a company like Sydney Dance Company.
You’re in your Diploma year at NAISDA and soon you will be thinking about career options after you graduate. Did the secondment help you to determine what you want to do when you graduate?
Maddison: It made me realise what is expected from you when you join a professional company and has made me more driven to achieve my goals. The experience has inspired me to continue working on my skills and continue to improve.
Kiara: I would love to join a company such as Sydney Dance Company if the opportunity was given to me, but the experience also gave me a chance to see a range of career options that are available to me after I graduate.
What was the best part about the experience?
Kiara: For me, it was meeting all of the other dancers who were participating in the program. They all had such a striving attitude and it was wonderful to be around such motivated and talented people.
Maddison: Getting to do the showing at the end of the week. It was a proud moment of completion and an opportunity for us to share everything that we learnt throughout the week.
What was the most challenging part?
Maddison: Trying to pick up all of the choreography really quickly. It was a very fast paced and interactive program and it required you to be on the ball the entire time.
Kiara: Definitely absorbing all of the information and retaining it for another time. When we did the showing on Friday, we had to remember things that we had rehearsed on Monday, which was challenging!