Talented dancers spreading their wings
BUTTERFLIES will flutter in tummies across the Clarence Valley this week as hundreds of young performers dance on stage, many for the first time in front of an adjudicator.
Now in its 60th year, the City of Grafton Dance Eisteddfod starts today and will run for the next week at the South Grafton High School auditorium.
Attracting 213 solo competitors from nine dance studios across the north coast, this year's event promises to be bigger and better than ever, say organisers.
President Diana Welch said the Grafton eisteddfod had a well-deserved reputation for high standards.
"We have to give credit to local teachers," she said.
"A lot of former students have gone on to have a career in dance."
This includes local talent like former Grafton ballet dancer Emily Sydenham, who is this year dancing with the esteemed Joffrey Ballet in New York.
But Mrs Welch said while not all performers were destined to become prima ballerinas, there was much more to practising dance than becoming a star.
"The benefits of exercise and social aspects can't be measured," she said.
"Some, like my daughter, will go on to become dance and PE teachers, others will gain confidence they can use throughout their life."
Competition categories include ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, song and dance, with opportunities for amateur dancers to pick up one of several scholarships on offer.
The City of Grafton Eisteddfod Society was established in 1954 to provide a performance and competition event for children of the Clarence Valley.