COVID-19 can’t stop the music

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped the music at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School Sutherland, but it has taken their rehearsals for the Wakakirri 2020 story-dance festival online.

Established in 1992, Wakakirri is Australia’s largest non-profit performing arts festival for schools. Students create and present original three- to seven-minute story-dances that explore themes important to their community.

A total of 96 students at St Patrick’s had been rehearsing for the festival, under teacher Jyoti Kendrigan, when the coronavirus pandemic locked down schools.

Far from put off, Ms Kendrigan encouraged students to keep working on their routines via Google Classroom.

The theme of their story-dance is identity and the piece centres on a girl who is finding her place in the world.

“(Students) were grateful for the content, as it gave them assurance that dance at our school will continue remotely” – dance coach and teacher, Jyoti Kendrigan

Students have been filming themselves performing warm-ups, stretches and choreography for the rest of their team to follow from home. Many are practicing at home with family or via virtual dance classes with friends.

Ms Kendrigan has been overwhelmed with the support and gratitude from students and parents.

“(Students) were grateful for the content, as it gave them assurance that dance at our school will continue remotely,” she said.

“I enjoyed having the dance routines to practise during isolation” – student Taryn Mott

“We also received parent emails, thanking the team for their quick response and hard work.”

Year 6 student Taryn Mott was thrilled to be able to continue with her dance practice.

“I enjoyed having the dance routines to practise during isolation because it gave me an opportunity to learn the routine,” Taryn said.

“It also was good for fitness and keeping me healthy and active.”

St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School hope to perform their story-dance at Riverside Theatres in Parramatta this coming October.

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