It is with great pleasure, I announce this year's Sketa Oz Perpetual Award Recipients Xavier Xue and Samantha Geddes. Both dancers found incredible strength, flexibility and agility in showcasing their talents at this year's Brisbane Eisteddfods.
Every year, I am blown away by the sheer, hard work and talent that seems to come together seamlessly, in front of our eyes. Unfortunately, this is not an instantaneous occurrence and both dancers know well - blisters, aching muscles and hours upon hours of perfected practice. What we see on stage, is the result of earnest diligence and dedication to one's craft. It is the culmination of years of work - rehearsed breathing, perfected turns, articulated rhythm, uniquely blended choreography and passion, in abundance.
It is behind the scenes - mums and dads getting up at the crack of dawn, to drive keen dancers to the studio for the extra lessons before school; it is selfless sacrifice of not only one's family assisting a dream, but a teacher, a coach, a mentor and copious warm hugs from friends - when the days get hard, when a dancer's world seems not that shiny.
And when the fruits of their hard labour, turn sweetly ripe, we gladly join in to celebrate their achievements - a breath in the moment of time, when one can smile and say, 'I did what I set out to do'. Yet, we dancers' know well, prestigious sweet rewards don't come easily and tomorrow ones life time friend - the ballet bar will be waiting eagerly for us to perfect that plie', for the hundredth time. :)
We can all think the world gets along as a solo effort, but by fact it takes so many people to make great events such as the Brisbane Eisteddfods and the Sketa Oz Awards. Each year, we rely on the thoughtful efforts of gracious people to either donate their time or expertise to make events such as these happen.
Late nights organising dance schedules, weeks of preparation coordinating dancers, helpers, backstage people, equipment and even food preparation are all put together by event managers such as - Bill Pengelly and Sharon Packenas. Over the years, there have been many others. Two who come to mind are Vicky Hansen and the longstanding organiser Christine Spencer. Without all these people, the Brisbane Eisteddfods - Dance Solos and Groups would cease to exist. Such people take on the arduous task of organising literally, every breath that goes into making this event a success.
In the making of Sketa Oz trophies, we rely on the expertise of the Toowoomba Trophy Centre to produce wonderful looking trophies, prepared to our highly artistic, expectations. Without fail, these men produce awesome trophies that our dancers can't wait to hold. Thank you! And, if you think of all the other dance trophies required for the Brisbane eisteddfods, I'm sure there are lots of equally hardworking men and women, who continue to work behind the scenes, with minimal thanks. We would like to thank you, also.
And lastly, engraving is a huge task. I'm sure there are many of you - just like Charlie, who spent two hours with me on Monday catching up on names that needed to be put, just right. Thanks Charlie!
The 2018 Sketa Oz Most Promising Senior Classical Dancer and the Most Promising Junior Classical Dancer Awards have been confirmed. Ainsley Martin took out the Senior Award, while Alicia Woods has been awarded the Junior. Both talented girls are working hard to achieve their dreams of one day becoming a full-time professional ballet dancers in a company somewhere across the globe. If I know anything, it is sheer hard work that gets you a places in life.
So, to both young dancers, we congratulate you on your success, this year! I am sure there will be more - Sketa Oz always backs hard work, resilience, kindness and a humble outlook on life. These are the qualities that stand by you, as you grind your way to the top. It won't be easy, but if you want it bad enough - It will happen!
This year, the Brisbane Eisteddfods - Dance Solos were slotted in for April, but given the occurence of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, many dancers who would normally have participated, were unable to, given they were heavily involved in the Games.
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