Fraser Coast performing arts high school a dancer's dream

Hervey Bay Performing Arts College students Shayla Barrett, Jasmine Schoonderwoerd, Tanesia Cameron and Elanor Nicholls.
Hervey Bay Performing Arts College students Shayla Barrett, Jasmine Schoonderwoerd, Tanesia Cameron and Elanor Nicholls. Annie Perets

A GROUP of young Hervey Bay dancers are getting to spend their days doing what they love best.

And they are completing their high school studies at the same time. 

Hervey Bay Performing Arts College has now opened for its first year, with five students on the roll.

The girls range in age and are all in different year levels, from Year 7-12. 

Starting school at 9am, the students dance about 15 hours a week as part of their curriculum.

They then top that off with their normal afternoon dance classes.

That equals to about 30 hours spent dancing a week.

The rest of their class-time is spent doing school work through an online correspondence method.

Eleanor Nicholls is the only Year 12 of the group, and loves how the school has allowed her to focus specifically on dance.

"With the schoolwork, we have three subjects and work to a timetable and get to go at our own pace," she said.

"You get to really put more emphasis on what you want to do, which for me is dancing."


HERVEY BAY PERFORMING ARTS COLLEGE: Instructor Steven Saunders, students Jamine Schoonderwoerd, Shayla Barrett, Eleanor Nicholls and Tanesia Cameron, and director Jonathan Heeley.
HERVEY BAY PERFORMING ARTS COLLEGE: Instructor Steven Saunders, students Jamine Schoonderwoerd, Shayla Barrett, Eleanor Nicholls and Tanesia Cameron, and director Jonathan Heeley. Annie Perets


School director and principal Jonathon Heeley, who is also director of Hervey Bay Dance School, developed the college to give local performers an opportunity to enhance their skills without having to move.

The high school was three years in the making.

"We're putting a lot of emphasis into technique and dancing ability, and will have a rotation every term for what we do in dance," he said.

At 24-years-old, Mr Heeley won the Cultural Award on Australia Day from the Fraser Coast Regional Council for his contribution to the development of dance in the region.

But he's definitely still not done yet.

In April, he is organising what will be the Fraser Coast Dance Festival to take place at the Brolga Theatre.

Topics:  dance fcdance fceducation fraser coast hervey bay performing arts college jonathon heeled

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