North Rocks school takes 100 star performers to Wakakirri 2016

Centre stage: Adam Foley and Samantha Emeish (centre) with other cast members in rehearsal for Wakakirri 2016. This year they are performing their own version of Maleficent.

Centre stage: Adam Foley and Samantha Emeish (centre) with other cast members in rehearsal for Wakakirri 2016. This year they are performing their own version of Maleficent.

It’s not often you see 100 primary school pupils dancing an Irish jig together in perfect unison.

At Christ the King Primary School in North Rocks, staff and the all-ages cast have been busy rehearsing just the complicated routine ahead of the Wakakirri final.

Adding to their enthusiasm is their 10th place standing in the state in the performing arts competition, which they achieved earlier this month.

Everyone knows they’re not just here to be cool in front of everyone, they’re here to dance and act. - Samantha Emeish

The experience has been an exciting one for principal actor Samantha Emeish, 12, who said she related to her character for her “goofy and crazy” qualities.

“She strives for what she believes in and I like how she leads her own people,” Samantha said.

“Our show is doing well because everyone’s sticking together as a team and listening to the teachers.

“Everyone knows they’re not just here to be cool in front of everyone, they’re here to dance and act.”

Adam Foley, of Oatlands, shares the spotlight with Samantha. He took part last year but in a smaller role.

Not one to suffer from nerves, Adam said he had been “quite pumped” when he auditioned to play the title role of the prince.

“It’s a bit scary getting on stage and performing in front of all those people,” he said.

“My favourite bit is when my mate Thomas – who plays the King – pulls me on stage for a huddle because we’re all together.

“I like doing theatre because later in life, it helps you.”

Wakakirri encourages students and staff to tell their own story through dance, song and story-telling.

Countless hours go into not only devising the narrative and rehearsal, but also prop construction and costume design. For teachers Lara Kelly-Hosking and Dympna Collignon, it began several months ago as they attempted to transform the plot of Maleficent into a seven-minute musical.

New elements featured this year include partner-dancing.

“We taught a group of year 6 boys to do a hip-hop tango,” Ms Kelly-Hosking said.

“This is quite an exceptional group of children – I think they have learned how quickly they can go from zero to 100. It gives them this sense of confidence that they can achieve anything if they work as a team.”

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