After COVID-19 caused the cancellation of its annual live production for the second year running, Sloan's Dance Academy still managed to celebrate its year of dance in a special way.
The Cessnock-based dance school held a beautiful formal dinner at Bimbadgen Palmers Lane on December 7.
Students dressed to the nines, participation medals and perpetual trophies were awarded, and everyone enjoyed a grand finale disco to dance the night away.
Sloan's Dance Academy owner Kelly Sloan Egan said it has been a "crazy" two years for the studio, with the effects of COVID-19 closures.
"Not only was the studio put into lockdown and classes moved online, but the school has a great number of dancers who compete locally, nationally, and internationally and have lost so many opportunities with local competitions cancelled and of course, international borders closed," she said.
Sloan's Dance Academy, which turned 18 this year, usually holds its dance spectacular in mid-November at the Civic Theatre in Newcastle, showcasing the students with an audience of approximately 1000 guests.
The 2020 show was filmed and screened at Heddon Greta Drive-In, while the second state-wide lockdown in 2021 all together wiped out the planned November 13 show, which Ms Sloan Egan said was "absolutely devastating" for the staff and students.
After attempting to move the production to another December date without success, and weighing up the safety of their community, the academy decided to celebrate its year of dance in another creative way with a formal dinner and disco.
"The event really focused on fun and was one to give back to the children who have lost so much due to COVID," Ms Sloan Egan said.
"SDA wanted the event to not be focused on what they had lost, but rather what dance represents for the community in the way of beautiful friendships made, working together as a team, supporting each other, and being rewarded for hard work.
"It is quite remarkable how the children have adapted to such huge changes not only in dance, but their whole way of life."
Ms Sloan Egan said SDA is planning for 2022 to be their "greatest and grandest show ever" to make up for lack of live performance opportunities these past two years.
"We are praying for an undisrupted year of dance, and to get their very talented dancers back to doing what they love and gracing the stage once again," she said.
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