With Adam Wheeler - creator of ATOD Contemporary Syllabus
Sunday May 7 - Sharon Saunders Dancers Studio
BIO: Adam Wheeler had just joined the Team at Transit Dance. He is a Stompin’ & Victorian College of the Arts Alumni. Adam’s passion is in the development of youth and emerging dance practice. The future of a strong and vibrant Australian contemporary arts landscape is in our next generation of dance makers and thinkers. Throughout the last 15 years he has founded Yellow Wheel, Victoria’s premier pre-professional dance company and is an Artistic Associate of Stompin’. Adam has also created and produced dance works with companies such as Chunky Move, Tasdance, 2NDTOE , Yellow Wheel , Stompin’, Steps, QL2 and Fling Physical Theatre.
Other career highlights include performing in Opera Australia’s The Ring Cycle (2013), the Australian Ballet’s Out There Project, Festival Directing Short+Sweet Dance Melbourne/Sydney and The Australian Youth Dance Festival and developing a Contemporary System of Training for the Australian Teachers of Dancing, which is now taught all over Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Victorian Dance Festival
We recently attended VDF 2017 in Melbourne. The first day was professional development day for teachers, Sharon & Madi attended at the Langham Hotel. The guest speakers are leaders in their fields and we gained lots of new knowledge and ideas. International guest Rhee Gold travelled from Boston USA through blizzards and 2 cancelled flights to arrive a day late. He is inspirational to us all and we were so grateful to have him talking to our small group of teachers.
Friday night we caught up with most of our SSD family at Taco Bills which was lots of fun and lovely. Saturday we were up bright and early again to register for workshops. Approximately 4000 people attended or performed over the weekend at Melbourne Town Hall! While we were waiting, a passer by asked if Justin Bieber was there! I was so happy to have our whole teaching team at VDF plus so many students and mums! Some of our favourite workshops were international guest Kathryn Mc Cormick (Step up revolution/So you think you can dance USA), Phly Crew (Australia’s got talent & Paul Malek (who I can say will be back at SSD this year)!!!! Saturday night some of enjoyed ‘Dance on the Balcony’ and mingling with the guests. Then we were entertained by amazing talent from schools and companies Australia wide. Sunday morning, some were slow to get moving but then were back into workshops, learning & dancing. I can honestly say VDF is my favorite event of the year (except for our concert) and I will continue going for many years to come. The network of supportive and positive teachers and professionals there is second to none. Kate Meade, who I now call a close friend was a dance teacher just like me who started VDF so that we could bring the best of dance to regional students. Her dream has grown tenfold since the inception and she is just an incredible human being! I hope more of you join us at VDF 2018! Announcements of the venue will be made soon!
Celebrating 25 years of Love
Ulumbarra Theatre Bendigo- Saturday November 26 2016 – Sharon Saunders shared her feelings of ‘why’ she still loves running her dance school and explains the many benefits of dance that go far beyond the steps. This is a copy of her speech to the audience of over 500 people and 150 dancers and crew.
Each year I try to rush through presentations so everyone can get home early but tonight I would like to take a few minutes to share with you ‘Why’ I do what I do.
This is the condensed version!
We are all here tonight because my parents paid for me to learn to dance. From 4 years of age, mum drove me to ballet class each week. She bought me a beauty case, which I still have to keep my ballet shoes in. She did my hair, made my costumes and drove me to ballet exams nearly an hour away. She took me to Bloch arcade in Melbourne to buy my first tutu. I started running dance concerts at home! Little did mum know 30 years later she would still be making costumes, but in troupes sets and she would still be watching my dance concerts!
Fast forward many more years I travelled to Peter Faux Dance Ensemble and met the man who made a huge impact on my life and yours! Without Peter’s knowledge, faith and guidance I doubt we would be here tonight. He taught me so much more than dance as I hope we do for all of you. Dance can certainly change lives.
25 years ago I was a young mum and decided to run some classes at Marong. My husband Damien said that’s ok as long as it doesn’t affect the family!!!
It kind of did and it hasn’t always been easy. There are always challenges and there have been a few times when he would have loved to tell me to give it up but he loves me and knows that Dance is my life! I wouldn’t be who I am today without my dance school. It is in my blood and I love it. I have to thank Damien, Jackson and Alyce for being so supportive. You are the ones who allow me to do what I love. Alyce is following in my foot steps and teaching in Ballarat. She is also making a huge difference to the lives of downs syndrome dancers at emotion 21.
Why do I continue to love dance?
I find it really hard to put into one sentence. There are so many reasons and here are just a few:
It’s about the little girl who wakes up and says “mummy is it Monday today’? Because she knows Monday is dancing day and she will have her leotard on before breakfast!
It’s about the new student who was too shy to join in or speak to us who is on stage here tonight.
It’s about the student who joyfully dances down the aisles of IGA for all the world to see.
It’s about the young dancer who puts on concerts at home just like I did must to my brothers disgust. He will never forget them!
It’s about your child who happily tap dances around the house and drives you crazy! They are off the couch and living life!
It’s about giving opportunities to others. I had the pleasure of inviting Marc Brew to teach at our school after he became a paraplegic and now he is changing the world of integrative dance and working worldwide.
It’s about the friendships that are forged at SSD. Unlike school, many students progress through their dance classes together and strong bonds develop. So many students and dancers will be life long friends.
It’s about nurturing dancers to be confident, resilient, and hard working people. It’s about building strong young adults who can make great choices and keep out of trouble.
It’s about the joy dance can bring to ladies who come to class each week and forget about their problems. They can challenge themselves and have fun with friends all while exercising and laughing!
It’s about families like Lois and Chris Mc Bain who brought their eldest daughter Ashlea to me over 20 years ago and are still coming to dancing each week with their youngest child Hannah. Their grandparents never missed a concert. It is such an honour to be trusted throughout a childhood.
It’s about the 4 year old who was a little lion in one of our early concerts. Now that young girl has blossomed into a bubbly, much loved teacher. Steph now teaches her mum in the ladies class.
Its’ about the community we have built at SSD where we support each other in good times and difficult times.
Quite simply it’s about the little dancer who proudly says to me ‘I did it’! Yes you did and I am so proud of you!
I wasn’t the best dancer in the class and I was probably the shyest. I loved dance and worked hard to be the best I could be. I will never stop learning and am constantly looking for opportunities to grow as a teacher and share my knowledge with my staff and students’. Dance has made me the person I am today.
I know dance will make a difference to us all.
If each dancer takes away one life skill or special memory we have done our job. It may be as simple as having confidence in their first job interview or to stand out for their beautiful grooming and poise. Dance sets us up for a lifetime of opportunities and as Paul Malek says– Endless Possibilities! I want to sincerely thank you all for allowing me to do what I love everyday!
ATOD Exam day Bronze Medal examinees with Mrs Witchell - October 2016
Mel Brown – 5 star Sharon Saunders Dancers encourages all children to have a positive identity by supporting children to express their creativity through dance. Sharon and her staff continuously encourage independence and creativity and imparts valuable life skills to each and every child. As a parent who has a child at SSD, it is clear that this school fosters an all Inclusive, encouraging and confidence building dance school with high regard for each and every student and their individualised levels. I highly recommend anyone that is searching for an inclusive dance school to come and try Sharon Saunders Dancers.