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By Bryn Kay
Blacktown Advocate
March 11, 2010


FORGET Billy Elliot. Blacktown dance school Dance Junction has become home to multiple male dancers expected to turn the female-dominated industry on its head after winning the studio’s sought-after yearly scholarships.

Principal Shayne Allen said the majority of dancers who auditioned for the scholarships were girls but, just as the industry was swaying, she gave all three of the financial prizes to “boys with potential.”

“They’ve all got great energy,” she said. “Boys often hesitate because they’re worried what other people will think but these guys were eating up everything we threw at them.”

[S]he expect[s] big things from was Granville resident Niitettey Koroma, 13, a Sierra Leone refugee who has been dancing since he arrived in Sydney in 2006 – although this was his first chance in a studio.

He catches several trains and buses from his Harris Park performing arts school to dance at the Glendenning studio four days a week. Without the scholarship and lifts home from studio staff, he wouldn’t be able to further his dancing, which would be a great shame, said Ms Allen.

“He blew us away with his natural rhythm,” she said. “He has just got music in him.”

Nii, as he [is] known, said he didn’t do much traditional dancing back home but was compelled to perform after seeing a western Sydney troupe on stage. The following year he joined the group. “At the time I was the only boy,” he said, until a friend joined in.

“Some friends made fun of us but we didn’t care. I do sport and dancing, I just enjoy dancing more. You’ve got to do what makes you happy.”

Senior scholarship winner Francisco Comafay, 18, of Erskine Park, said dancing was becoming a more acceptable artform for boys. “I pump iron in a gym but I would rather be able to move and be flexible,” he said.

Mali Comlekci, 12, of St Marys, was overjoyed to receive the junior scholarship. He said dancing made him popular at his school. “It got me school captain,” he said.

Ms Allen put the male dance revolution down to shows like So You Think You Can Dance and the abundance of performing arts schools.


© 2010 News Community Media

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