Twelve local dancers are a little closer to their dream of flying to Sydney in September for the Australian Dance Festival thanks to 700 sausages, and the generosity of a local businessman.
The Showtime HMS Performing Arts dancers have been quoted an outlay of $2200 per girl for flights and accommodation for the ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’.
One parent, Anita Audrain, said they’d been “coming up against brick walls” since they started an appeal to find local sponsorship.
That is, until a very generous “yes” left them amazed and very grateful.
Chucks Tender Meats’ new owner Jason Hampshire hadn’t yet met the dancing dozen when he agreed to donate hundreds of sausages for the girls’ fundraising barbecue.
“The business and the people of Gosnells have been good to me, so anything I can do to help out, you know, I’ll do it,” he said.
“And when you see what the girls are trying to achieve, you just want to do more,” he said, then offering to donate another round of sausages for their next fundraiser.
The Australian Dance Festival presents an opportunity to gain experiences and knowledge not readily available in the relatively small Perth dance scene.
Each of the 12 local girls hoping to attend are voluntary student teachers, so anything they learn over in Sydney will be brought back to Perth to benefit the local dance community.
They will take part in an average of four workshops per day across the three days of the festival.
Many of the Australian and international choreographers presenting the workshops have achieved a cult-like fame in the industry; the chance to meet their dance heroes and see them perform each night ranks high on the girls’ festival bucket lists.
“This is a big step for me and my dancing career,” Ella-Blu Schmook said.
“I’m so excited to see what’s out there – what the rest of Australia is doing,” Bella Couch said.
Dance is “life” for all of the girls hoping to attend. But for one girl in particular, the call to perform has been a literal lifeline.
Anita Audrain is trying to raise enough money to send three daughters over to Sydney this year. It’s an expensive undertaking, but for her, whether or not to send them was never a question.
“It’s a way to support their dreams, especially Braydee’s,” she said.
“From the minute she could talk she wanted to be on stage, and she hopes to go to WAPA.
“But she’s had a really difficult couple of years. Dance has been an escape for her – it kept her alive.
“So, we’ll do anything we can to support her journey.”
There’s still a long way to go until they get there.
The group collectively needs around $12,000 still to hit their target.
But Jason’s generosity has buoyed their hopes that they’ll make it eventually.