Dancers impress as more than 4000 take part in Eisteddfod
FOR more than 100 years the Lismore Eisteddfod has been showcasing an array of talent in the local region and last week's competition welcomed more than 4000 performers to the City Hall stage.
"The competition is fantastic, you can't get any better," Lismore Musical Festival Society secretary/treasurer Val Axtens said.
"There are amazing people here from the top studious on a great stage," Ms Axtens said.
The society was formed in l908 and has run the eisteddfod 103 times, with an aim of encouraging children and adults of amateur status to further their skills, she said.
The competition lasted for more than a week and included dance, vocal, instrumental, and spoken word categories.
The annual event brings "light, energy and promise" to Lismore, Ms Axtens said.
The eisteddfod helped young people develop, even if they did not pursue a full-time career on the stage, she said.
"They get so much out of it by learning to hold themselves with presence. It is a great confidence booster," she said.
At the weekend, the grounds of Civic Hall were awash with dancers of all ages, in a variety of costumes, preparing for their turn on the big stage.
The Troupes dance section ran over the weekend and involved 45 studios, many including up to 18 dancers.
The dance events were judged by Louise Buljubasich an eisteddfod veteran and experienced dance teacher.
The high standard and diversity of the Variety or Musical Theatre dance category mean contestants could be separated only by "a matter of taste", Ms Buljubasich said.
Winners included Brunswick Valley School of Dance.
Creative director Carly Connors said dance competitions were the highlight of the year for the dance troupe, which competed in four annually.
"Lismore is our favourite, it has the best stage," she said.
Brunswick Valley School of Dance owner Ruby Jeffery started off as a student competing in eisteddfods.
"It is interesting to see all the different aspects from being a student to a teacher," Ms Jeffery said.
Reshenda Thompson from Casino was at the eisteddfod to watch her son, a member of Casino Dance Academy.
It was not just about the excitement of performing on the day, but also the lead-up that required plenty of organisation of costumes and makeup, Ms Thompson said.
Son Zeike had been a dancer for seven years after he started hip-hop dancing at age seven, she said.
The event cost the Lismore Music Festival Society close to $60,000 to run and was made possible only by the efforts of many volunteers, Ms Axtens said.
She said the Troupe Days were the most popular days of the eisteddfod for the public and an important part of the fundraising for next year's event.