Elsie Smith 14 from Yamba, Mali Dry 16 and Lily Smith 16 from Byron Bay, photographed just after they had won first place in the Open Hip Hop Choreography Competition at the CrankFest Xtreme Festival in Evans Head.
Lily Smith, Mali Dry and Elsie Smith all met each other for the first time at the Beats N Roots National Hip Hop Summit and Youth Arts Leadership Conference in Lismore a few weeks ago.
Although Lily and Mali both attend Byron Bay High School, they really didn’t get to know each other until they started dancing together at the Beats N Roots Summit. Elsie is from Yamba. But in just two days together, the threesome choreographed a hip hop dance routine that saw them taking off first place in the Open Hip Hop Choreography Competition at the CrankFest Xtreme Festival in Evans Head.
The trio are now all heading off to Melbourne this week for the Stand Centre Front Young Performers Conference.
They are all really looking forward to getting together again in Melbourne. Lily Smith said that she is “excited to meet new people who love to do the same things” she does and that “the conference in Melbourne is a great chance to spend time with others who are all looking at performing arts as a career, learning new styles of dance that I’ve never tried before and doing workshops with industry specialists.” Elsie said “Well I think it’s really exciting to actually go somewhere out of the state once in a while, getting to catch up with my friends again and more things to do in dance.”
Stand Centre Front will bring together 80 young dancers from across Australia to learn, be inspired and share their passion and experiences. Participants will hear from high profile performers, network with community leaders and learn new skills from industry professionals.
This years Conference will focus on mental illness. Participants will explore and discuss issues surrounding mental illness and youth, including stigma, drug and alcohol abuse, bullying and culture. Students will also look into how performing arts can improve mental health and improve resilience. Students will leave feeling better equipped to support themselves and their peers, and know how to access local youth services for help.
Students will also participate in a number of performing arts workshops, and can choose classes in Singing, Drama, Rapping, Circus Skills, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Belly Dance, Glee Club, Latin and Commercial Jazz.
The conference will end with a public showcase, where students will have the opportunity to demonstrate their passions and talents.
Lily Smith’s Mum, Nicqui Yazdi will also be attending the Conference, not as a performer, but as a facilitator, doing an introductory workshop to the Mental Health First Aid training programs. Nicqui specialises in providing Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid training across the Northern Rivers region, which seems to go hand in hand with many of the other programs she is involved in, including the new YACROCKCAFE initiative at the Byron Youth Activities Centre.
The YACROCKCAFE is a weekly Friday night teen drop-in, where they encourage young performers, musicians and bands to use the YAC stage and perform each week, providing them with the equipment, a full PA, instruments and even a sound engineer.
Nicqui said “I was so excited for my daughter Lily to be invited to attend Stand Centre Front and although my own invitation to be involved has come in at the very end of arrangements for the Conference, it is almost synchronistic that they invited me to be a part of this event as well. A lot of the work that I do centres around helping to facilitate young people to have opportunities available to them to use performing arts as a vehicle for good mental health and making good choices about their social lives, drugs and alcohol. This is a great opportunity and I’m very excited to be a part of such an innovative conference.” Nicqui will also talk with the young attendees about how “Good Friends BUDDI-UP!”, which is essentially tips on how to be a good friend and look out for your mates, especially when they may have been drinking or using drugs and in a mental health crisis. The ‘BUDDI-UP!’ concept has come through her work as the Team Leader of BUDDI – the Byron Underaged Drinking & Drug Initiative, Byron’s own Community Drug Action Team and through running the Schoolies HUB each year.
The Stand Centre Front Young Performers Conference will take place this weekend, 19 & 20 May at the Fitzroy Town Hall in Melbourne, culminating in a public Showcase on Sunday night.
For information on the YACROCKCAFE contact Nicqui Yazdi on 0402013177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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