Can we enrich lives and whole communities through the performing arts?

Hell, yeah!!!

From the builder who had never danced a step, found the dancer within and the stole the hearts of the audience and the Judges Award…to the horse trainer who was more comfortable belting down a track on the back of horse at 60km hour than stepping out in front of an audience, but then in the most competitive blitz of the night, performed like Ginger Rogers, got the entire horse racing industry behind her and was literally only pipped at the post for highest fundraiser by a cheeky Scotsman and his formidable work crew…to the hilarious radio announcer with the biggest heart who only ever struts her stuff at a nightclub dance floor but presented the most emotional waltz…. to the community banker with a dodgy knee who renewed her childhood love of ballroom dancing and totally blitzed a stunning Viennese Waltz….to the highly infectious and energetic Zumba dancer who got the whole community behind her flawless Cha Cha to take out People’s Choice…to the charismatic Scottish estate agent who whipped out a Queen classic whilst his entire real estate organisation got behind him to play the game better than anyone else and take out the overall highest fundraiser of the night…to the blogger and all round champion bloke who has never danced a step in his life and pulled off a spunky cheeky Samba with the widest and brightest smile of the night…to the brewer who transformed from hilarious brewery floor dance with a broom to become Mr Scott Hastings in a Pasa Doble (Strictly Ballroom), right in front of Mr Scott Hastings himself (aka Paul Mercurio)….to the Greatest Showman, the policeman, come music theatre director who smashed it with a stellar entertaining performance….to a crazy old woman from Royal South Street Society who has always loved dance but not danced or performed in front of an audience for almost 40 years who thought she could give the Tango a whirl!

Dancing With Our Stars 24 was a triumph of community spirit and the magic and power of the performing arts! As I am sure, so were DWOS23, 22, 21 and the 20! What an incredible brainchild of whoever was responsible for giving this crazy idea the go ahead!

The biggest winners were of course, the Ballarat Foundation and all the community projects they support, with a record amount of funds raised…over $211,000.000 dollars! And the performing arts industry, specifically ballroom dancing! it has captivated an entire community’s heart, and we all want more….more dancing…more joy in our lives! The time, effort, creative direction and support of all at The Dance Studio Ballarat is un-comprehendible!

As for me personally, I will never forget the privilege to participate in this incredible community challenge on behalf of the Royal South Street Society.  I hope we have well and truly let everyone know that the RSSS is still going strong, and we are a very important part of our wider community!

From the night…I wish with all my heart that I could have bottled the moment when I put my glasses back on and walked onto the dance floor for the group dance, and finally saw my own adult family all up cheering for me in the audience… I have never had that feeling before in my life, and probably never will again! Time literally stopped for me at that moment!

That’s the funny thing about the performing arts and competitions and eisteddfods, it’s not always about the individual performance, it’s about how many lives are enriched because of the performance. In this case, a whole community has definitely been enriched through the charm and entertainment of the performing arts…and some very competitive fundraising!

Now that I have personally rekindled my love of dance…I’m off to Zumba classes this week, adult ballet classes next term, and hoping to return to the Dance Studio Ballarat where I would love to keep ballroom dancing with anyone happy enough to join me! And….I have the most amazing role…. where we have an incredible performing arts eisteddfod to deliver for 2024 and beyond….promoting and encouraging participation, enjoyment and enrichment through the performing arts! Maybe we need to include ballroom dancing in the future…..

I can think of countless people who I would love to see take on this challenge for the Ballarat Foundation in the future….I am sure you can too, so nominate someone now for 2025… Nominate here 

Words by Judy-Ann Quilliam, Business and Marketing Manager, Royal South Street Society and participant in DWOS24


Judy Ann

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