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Top Class Dance Program 2021

Top Class Dance Program 2021 

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Top Class Dance – Thursday 18 March 2021

Welcome to Top Class Dance, part of the annual VCE Season of Excellence 2021, presented by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA).

Dance is a movement language, a way of communicating that gives expression to social and personal experiences. It is part of lives and cultures across the world, whether as a social activity or artistic expression. After a year of concert hall closures, we see more than ever the value of the performing arts – and the importance of celebrating the artists who bring them to us. Today’s concert showcases dance in just some of its many forms, from classical ballet to street dance and so much in between. The solos performed in these concerts are the result of hard work, incredible talent and creative passion.

Students who received the highest grades in the 2020 performance examination were invited to audition for Top Class Dance in January 2021. The 31 performers in today’s concerts were selected from those who auditioned, representing some of the best young dancers in Victoria. The selection panel comprised VCE VET Dance Chief Assessor Lisa Woolley, VCE Dance Chief Assessor Cheryl Kaloger, VCE VET Dance assessor Shaylee Ashby, and VCE Dance assessor Peter Tserbis.

Top Class gives current VCE performing arts students valuable insight into what is required to achieve excellence in their study. The concerts encourage and inspire students during their own studies, and provide a benchmark and realistic examples of best practice.

We thank all performers for their commitment and generosity in presenting their work once more for the benefit of current students, teachers and the general public.


Presented by the Chief Assessor for VCE VET Dance, Lisa Woolley

This solo performance is designed to assess a student’s technical ability and interpretive skills in performance. Students are required to perform two solos, in different dance styles, learnt from the repertoire of a choreographer or teacher. Dance styles are selected from ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, social, street or a nominated culturally specific dance style.

As part of the performance examination, students are required to present an Industry Statement describing the style, context and appropriate market or audience for the performance. This statement underpins the aim of the VCE VET Dance program to prepare students for employment in the performance industry.

VCE Dance

Presented by the Chief Assessor for VCE Dance, Cheryl Kaloger

Cohesive composition solo

This solo is devised by the student in Unit 4 and focuses on choreographic skills. Students design a cohesive work that communicates an intention. It also demonstrates an expressive selection and arrangement of movement vocabulary to create an overarching formal structure.

Skills-based solo

This solo performance, composed by the student in Unit 3, focuses on dance technique. The solo reflects a personal movement vocabulary and an understanding of how movement can be arranged to communicate an intention. The solo allows students to demonstrate artistry and physical skills through a range of movement categories and manipulation of the elements of movement.

Due to the modified VCE Dance exam specifications in 2020, examples of the skills-based solo will not be showcased in today’s program.



Note: For the context of today’s performance, some dancers have been asked to wear costumes that were not worn for their exams. Costumes are not a requirement for VCE VET performance exams. For clothing requirements in VCE and VCE VET Dance performance exams, please refer to the VCAA website.

Some VET Industry Statements and VCE Composition Statements of Expressive Intention have been revised for inclusion in this program.


Program One - 10am


Melanie Xuereb

Catholic Regional College, Sydenham


Time steps, batucada and hip twists consistent with the Latin dance genre feature in this work, which is intended to be presented as entertainment for guests at a function or event. Traditionally this is a partner dance; it has been adapted for solo presentation.

Kaiya Camilleri

Marymede Catholic College, South Morang


This solo is inspired by the choreographer’s own style. It explores fluidity, line and counterbalance technique, and moves in and out of the floor, a hallmark of contemporary dance. Choreographed as an audition piece, the work is suited to a small intimate studio or auditorium setting, for performance to a live audience of industry professionals and people who enjoy watching contemporary dance.

Ruby Hanna

Russian Choreographic Academy, Hawthorn East / Auburn High School, Hawthorn East


This classical-era ballet is Aurora’s Act 3 variation from The Sleeping Beauty, choreographed by Marius Petipa in 1890. The variation in the third act centres on the joyful celebration of Aurora’s wedding, held at a ball. The context for the performance is a traditional proscenium arch theatrical setting. This performance could be used as an audition piece, an international ballet competition solo or a show reel piece. Its market is anyone who enjoys ballet as a form of theatrical entertainment, as well as auditioning panels, adjudicators or assessors.

Martika-Carla Phemister

Mill Park Secondary College, Mill Park / Northside Christian College, Bundoora


This solo was choreographed using aspects of a postmodern approach to reflect the emotions of young women in contemporary society, particularly around body image. The solo is designed to be showcased at a mental health awareness event. The intended audience is young women and other community members impacted by societal pressures surrounding body image ideals.

Taylor White

Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School, Essendon


This solo is an interpretation of ‘The Music and the Mirror’ from the Broadway musical A Chorus Line. The routine occurs at the midway point of the musical on a bare stage with working lights, and represents a dancer auditioning for a part. An audience of musical-theatre lovers would engage with this piece.

Elyssa Wiffen

Kerry Moore School of Ballet, Ballarat / Damascus College, Mount Clear


The eclectic movement vocabulary in this piece is informed by the choreographer’s diverse dance influences. This piece is suited for performance in a theatrical context, to any audience who enjoys watching contemporay dance.

Lachlan Hayes

Bev Palmer Performing Arts, South Morang / Frankston High School, Frankston


This rhythm or street tap solo draws aesthetic and choreographic influences from the late 1940s (post-World War II) tap style. The work is suited for performance in a theatre setting in the context of an eisteddfod or competition, or to any audience of tap enthusiasts.

VCE Dance – Composition Solo Performance

Isabelle Hrubos

Mater Christi College, Belgrave

A Cancerous Cell

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: A cell mutates, gaining power inside the body, becoming abnormal as it invades the surrounding environment.

Section 2: The cancerous cell grows, creates its own blood vessels and travels through the bloodstream, causing destruction.

Section 3: The cancer cell begins to decay, collapsing as it eventually meets its demise.

Annabelle Love

Virtual School Victoria, Thornbury / Alexandra Secondary College, Alexandra

Overcoming Overwhelm

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: A happy teenager feels the pressure of her workload building.

Section 2: She struggles with feelings of being overwhelmed.

Section 3: She asks for help. Her stress dissipates, she is calm.

Jessica Daish

Rowville Secondary College, Rowville

The Escape

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C, D)

Section 1: An individual is struggling in confinement.

Section 2: They begin to plan and map out an escape.

Section 3: They try to execute the escape.

Section 4: The escape fails and the individual returns to struggling in confinement.

Rebekah Fox

Wantirna College, Wantirna

The Highs and Lows of Manic Depression

Formal Structure: Ternary (A, B, A)

Section 1: Depression has overtaken the body.

Section 2: An individual experiences a period of mania as their mood shifts. They become hyperactive as they explore their space.

Section 3: The individual is once again overcome by emptiness, sadness and frustration.

Annalise Sortino

Cheryl Kaloger Brown School of Dance, Hawthorn East / Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School, Ivanhoe


Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: The jellyfish is free, floating in the ocean.

Section 2: The jellyfish notices, follows and chases its prey. It becomes tangled in what turns out to be a piece of plastic.

Section 3: The jellyfish struggles to break free from the plastic. It eventually succeeds and returns to a state of freedom.

Alicia Yiannios

Michelle Rae School of Dance, Mount Waverley / Avila College, Mount Waverley


Formal Structure: Binary (A, B)

Section 1: A girl with schizophrenia shows symptoms of unusual behaviour.

Section 2: Overwhelmed by her physical symptoms, hallucinations and paranoia take over.


‘Going on stage and transcending the audience and becoming this otherworldly thing makes you a dancer.’

Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre

Ying Sim

Utassy Ballet School, Nunawading / St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar, Berwick

The Waiting Room

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: In a hospital waiting room, one anxiously waits for the results of a loved one.

Section 2: On receiving bad news, the initial reaction is denial and refusal. This denial spirals into anger and indignation.

Section 3: Finally, one accepts reality. Heartache and pain begin to seep in.

Lucinda Mottram

Firbank Grammar School, Brighton

Caught in Flames

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: A disorientated bushwalker falls over and hits her head. She wakes to a windy day.

Section 2: The bushfire begins to spark. The bushwalker rises to find herself in the bushfire, which ensares her as she passes out.

Section 3: The bushwalker wakes up to find the fire gone. Covered in burns, she grieves the loss surrounding her.

Imogen Turecek

Independent Dance Studios, Hallam / St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School, Warragul

Life Cycle of a Bird

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: A bird hatches out of an egg, vulnerable and new to the world.

Section 2: The bird grows up and experiences success and failure as she learns to walk and fly.

Section 3: The bird reaches her fullest peak of life before returning to the nest, restarting the cycle for the next generation.

Note: if two schools are listed, the first is the student’s Dance provider; the second is their home school.

Program Two - 2pm


Paige Johnson

Bev Palmer Performing Arts, South Morang / Beaconhills College, Pakenham


This solo embraces the hallmark aesthetics of Broadway Jazz. It is best suited for showcase in a proscenium arch theatrical setting, to an all-ages audience who like to be entertained by theatrical-style dance performance.

Tess Hanna

Elisabeth Murdoch College, Langwarrin


This solo was created in the style of American contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels and the pieces she did for So You Think You Can Dance. This piece is suited to performance in an arch and black box theatre context, or for a filmed audition piece. This is a highly accessible style of contemporary dance for the general public to engage with.

Grace Robson

Geelong High School, East Geelong / Matthew Flinders Girls School, Geelong


This routine reflects urban and street influences with aspects of B-boying, dance hall and tutting. This choreography would normally be performed by a crew within the context of a battle. The target audience is anyone who enjoys dance, but particularly people aged 10 to 30 years who appreciate hip hop choreography and urban movement.

Hannah Wise

The Jane Moore Academy of Ballet, Highett / Virtual School Victoria, Thornbury


This piece is inspired by the idea of a bird hatching. The movement vocabulary references a European style of contemporary dance. The context of this performance is either a small proscenium arch or a black box theatre setting. The appropriate market is an audition panel, adjudicators at an eisteddfod, assessors, students studying contemporary dance, or anyone who enjoys watching contemporary dance.

Cameron Shook

Ringwood Secondary College, Ringwood


This jazz piece is informed by a grunge style and was intended for performance in an arena setting at a live gig or a performing arts festival. This routine is designed to act as an additional element to a live band performance, appealing to an audience who enjoys live entertainment.

Mackenzie Witchell

Berwick College, Berwick


This contemporary dance is informed by the use of the breathing cycle. It could be performed in an abandoned industrial site or theatrical setting. The work was choreographed for an intended audience of senior school students and their parents, a mature audience of people who enjoy contemporary dance.

Melanie Xuereb

Catholic Regional College, Sydenham


Time steps, batucada and hip twists consistent with the Latin dance genre feature in this work, which is intended to be presented as entertainment for guests at a function or event. Traditionally this is a partner dance; it has been adapted for solo presentation.

VCE Dance – Composition Solo Performance

Tamsyn Sollier-Smith

Utassy Ballet School, Nunawading / Wesley College, Glen Waverley

Awaiting Flora

Section 1: A plant starts germinating – the seed sprouts and grows.

Section 2: The plant starts budding – new segments grow. The flower is blooming.

Section 3: The bloomed flower is dying. Its life has come to an end.

Sherylee Campbell

Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, Southbank


Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: A tsunami builds and evolves, the storm gradually getting larger and more powerful.

Section 2: The tsunami reaches its powerful climax. The wave disrupts the cohesive, calm environment.

Section 3: In its wake, the tsunami leaves destruction. All that was beautiful is broken and ruined.

Lachlan Draper

Northern College of the Arts and Technology, Preston


Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C)

Section 1: A taped mouth prohibits speech, symbolic of being afraid to speak up.

Section 2: As the tape is removed, there is still hesitation to speak out.

Section 3: The fabric becomes a symbol of growth and the ability to find one's own voice.

Caitlyn Serong

Virtual School Victoria, Thornbury / Lilydale High School, Lilydale

Learning to Love Yourself

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C, D)

Section 1: A young girl feels joy and freedom.

Section 2: She notices herself in a mirror and doesn't like what she sees. She begins to feel insecure about her appearance.

Section 3: She reaches her lowest point of poor self-esteem and anger.

Section 4: She realises that she is beautiful and worthy, and her spirits lift as she reclaims her happiness.

Tanya du Plessis

Caulfield Grammar School, Caulfield

The Grind

Formal Structure: Theme and Variation (A, A1)

Section 1: A confident corporate woman, content in her job, showcases her daily routine.

Section 2: She becomes overwhelmed with the pressures of work. She tries to break free but is swallowed by the routine and unable to escape the pressure.

Olivia Campitelli

Cheryl Kaloger Brown School of Dance, Hawthorn East / Star of the Sea College, Brighton


Formal Structure: Ternary (A, B, A)

Section 1: A girl is being held hostage.

Section 2: She experiences feelings of frustration, anger and fear.

Section 3: With no hope of breaking free, she returns to a hopeless state.

Gabrielle Armstrong

Mount Clear College, Mount Clear


Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C, D)

Section 1: I can feel the voices start to accumulate.

Section 2: The voices are suddenly louder and frightening – I feel overwhelmed.

Section 3: The voices are now distant.

Section 4: Suddenly, the voices return. The voices consume me.

Erin Shackcloth

Virtual School Victoria, Thornbury / Loreto Mandeville Hall, Toorak

What Makes Us Human?

Formal Structure: Narrative (A, B, C, D)

Section 1: The physical nature of being human is explored as I develop the use of my musculoskeletal system and become bipedal.

Section 2: The ability to communicate through gesture as language is established as I evolve further.

Section 3: Having gained the capacity to communicate, I experience happiness and freedom for the first time.

Section 4: Finally, a newfound intelligence and self-awareness is uncovered resulting in a fully realised human being.

Tara Booth

Firbank Grammar School, Brighton

Night at the Museum

Formal Structure: Ternary (A, B, C)

Section 1: A statue begins to come to life, gradually awakening throughout the body and space.

Section 2: The statue is entirely awake, exploring the limitless possibilities of its own movement.

Section 3: The statue gradually returns to its initial state; restricting pathways of movement, it solidifies.

Note: if two schools are listed, the first is the student’s Dance provider; the second is their home school.


‘To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.’

Agnes de Mille, dancer and choreographer


The performers and their families, friends and teachers

Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank

Ausdance Victoria and Dancehouse, for generously supporting today’s performers with membership


VCE and VCE VET Chief Assessors for Dance and MCs: Cheryl Kaloger and Lisa Woolley

Dance Selection Panel 2021: Lisa Woolley, Cheryl Kaloger, Shaylee Ashby and Peter Tserbis

Performing Arts Coordinators: Eleanor Boydell and Catherine Devery

Festival and Events Manager: Miranda Picton-Warlow

Festival and Events Coordinator: Jenny Sun

Festival and Events Officer: Jim Thomas

Festival and Events Assistant: Jessica Dunn

Curriculum Manager, Performing Arts: Margaret Arnold

Program Manager, VCE VET Dance: Danielle McAuliffe

Graphic Design: Nuttshell

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Top Class is presented, the People of the Kulin Nation, and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Enjoyed Top Class Dance

Take a look at some of the other exciting Season of Excellence 2021 events at the Season Hub