DanceStruck studio student Mia Hayward, 13, has won the first major heat at Jump Dance Challenge for her age group.
Dance Directory hosted its first competition Melbourne Dance Championships with Backstage Dance Academy’s Tahlia Gerosa taking out first place in the 13 to 14-year-old section.
DW: You play the lead role in Bring It On The Musical! What makes Bring It On! extra exciting for you?
NK: I have been fortunate to have been a part of many amazing productions. Some career highlights were definitely Matilda and Legally Blonde. More recently, I have loved playing Columbia in The Rocky Horror Show. Bring It On! is unlike any other show I have ever performed in and I feel extremely honoured to be playing the lead role of Campbell in this production. Campbell is both a physically and vocally demanding lead role. Personally, it’s always a dream come true for me when I get an opportunity to utilise both skills equally in a musical and now on top of all that I’ve got to do cheerleading as well. I love a challenge and I am so excited to share this fantastic production with Melbourne audiences.
There is a heavy cheer component in the musical. Do you come from a cheer background? How has cheer coach Natalie Commons guided everyone during the process?
Although I have played a cheerleader before I have never actually done any cheerleading. If I’m being completely honest, I was terrified when I heard that our choreographer Michael Ralph had plans of throwing me in the air. However under the wonderful guidance of Natalie Commons I can now confirm that I LOVE CHEERLEADING. I have so much admiration for Natalie and for all of our professional cheerleaders in the show. They are so skilled at what they do and it is so inspiring to watch. I feel very grateful to get to experience a small taste of such an amazing sport.
Everyone has seen the Bring It On film series in Australia, so how does the musical differ from the movie? What can audiences expect to see?
I think audiences can expect the same vibrancy and energy that fills the screen in the film. The stage show is explosive and exciting with all of the live cheerleading stunts happening right before your eyes. Growing up I too loved the movie. In fact I can still recite the entire cheer section from the film. Slightly embarrassing! The storyline differs in many ways however there is still a strong theme of friendship and equality. Audiences can expect to be entertained, wowed and blown away by the talent of this incredible cast.
How has the rehearsal process been for you? What have been some of the challenges or obstacles that you overcame (technically or mentally speaking)?
Our rehearsal process is extremely short. Personally, I enjoy the fast paced nature of a short rehearsal process as it forces cast members and creatives to dive head first without hesitation or uncertainty. With the cheerleading component required of every cast member it makes the short rehearsal process seem even shorter. Learning the cheer stunts were initially quite confronting however it wasn’t long before I was asking to fly again and again. With such a wonderful team of cast and creatives all looking out for each other the rehearsal process has been painless, aside from a few small bruises.
What influence do you think this musical will have on cheerleading as a sport in Australia?
Our production is all singing, all dancing and all cheering. It is eye opening to see humans do such incredible stunts and I hope audiences are inspired to go home and see what else they can discover about cheerleading and arts. More than that I hope that they leave feeling inspired to take a leap, be brave and be true to who they really are.
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