10 December 2019

Page 8

Southern Peninsula


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Dance a way to better mental health ALEX Dellaportas describes herself as “a living example of someone who doesn’t always fit in - someone who thinks differently, who experiences emotions uniquely”. She admits to having a “sometimes difficult relationship with mental health” but also as someone who has learned to embrace and see “differences as a superpower”. Dellaportas, of Capel Sound, started Spark Youth Dance Company (SYDC) in 2016 hoping it would enable 7-25 year olds “speak about mental illness and to normalise difference, to encourage it, to channel it into art that speaks to people, that tells stories that change the way our young people live for the better."

Since then SYDC has created and performed four 90-minute works, focussing on such themes as war, feminism, mental illness and the conflict between logic and emotion. Dellaportas says young people can “have a voice through dance”. A registered charity, SYDC encourages its members to perform, choreograph and create new dance works. Now 21, Dellaportas works with groups of young people “with a large focus on mental health and neurodiversity, encouraging them to channel their stories of pain, confusion and emotion through dance”. "It was and still is my dream to create a place for young people on the Mornington Peninsula and surrounds

to go and feel completely welcome. Completely themselves," Dellaportas said. "In my opinion, theatre is always the best place for people from all walks of life to go and feel welcome. “My goal for Spark is to speak about mental illness and to normalise difference, to encourage it, to channel it into art that speaks to people, that tells stories that change the way our young people live for the better." Auditions SYDC’s 2020 contemporary dance extension program are being held on Sunday 15 and Thursday 19 December at Rosebud Memorial Hall. Details: www.sparkproductions. org.au/auditions. Keith Platt

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Southern Peninsula News

11 December 2019

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