48 www.uniqueestates.com.au Unique Luxur y 49
Out There - Timothy Szczepkowski-Collins,
Chantelle van der Hoek,
Jack Gibbs & Jasmin Dwyer
Photo - Aaron Veryard
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hen Australia’s largest classical ballet company wanted
to spread the word about its performing arts education
program Out There, its first step was to partner with a world
leading technology company.
Since The Australian Ballet teamed up with Samsung as presenting
partner in 2014, the relationship has gone from strength to strength,
helping the Out There program reach more than 18,300 students
across 117 schools across five states and two territories last year
The program is part of Samsung’s ongoing commitment to work with
a range of partners who support young people’s education across
Driven largely by The Australian Ballet education team including
senior education manager Katy McKeown and dance development
manager Hayley Arundel, Out There exists to break down geographic,
socio-economic or physical barriers to students seeking access to
performing arts education.
Dance educators Jasmin Dwyer, Jack Gibbs, Chantelle van der Hoek
and Timothy Szczepkowski-Collins, who are also classically trained
dancers, make up the Dance Education Ensemble.
The program itself includes workshops, demonstrations and
discussion forums designed to reinforce the arts outcomes of the
For primary aged children this takes the form of a roving interactive
presentation that offers participants an introduction to dance
movement with a focus on kinetic learning. In addition the program
seeks to inspire participants to use a mix of observation, participation
and interaction, both with the dance presenters and each other.
The Secondary School Workshop and Community Program, introduced
for the first time this year, focuses on developing dance movement
skills through co-authored choreography technique with a dance
vocabulary and performing arts appreciation.
As an extension to its offering Out There last month teamed with the
Sydney Opera House’s Access program to offer a week-long residency
program where saw the ensemble work with children to offer
workshops specifically designed for their individual needs.
Each workshop was complemented by a special performance of
The Sleeping Beauty, which saw the ensemble perform a 40-minute
contemporary ballet experience featuring a traditional Aurora and her
Prince mixed in with a Wolf in a Hoodie, the Bluebird in a Beanie and a
tomboy Red Riding Hood with a Samsung tablet in her rucksack.
To further extend its support of the program, Samsung’s Corporate
Social Responsibility division conceived the idea of launching an event
specifically targeted at students with special needs who wished to
take part in the program.
Dubbed Samsung Dance Discovery, the program was an interactive
multisensory experience tailor made for special needs students keen
to learn more about dance.
Consisting of three different zones, each with their own cameras,
mirrors and other touch points, the flexibility of the program meant
participants were able to select the zone best suited to their individual
strengths and capabilities.
The first zone, called The Rehearsal Studio, explored the movement
and vision of dance. Students had the opportunity to watch a dance
rehearsal on the Samsung Gear VR, affording them a realistic studio
experience. Vision-impaired students joined in by touching and
standing at the barre and moving in character.
The second zone was termed The Orchestra Pit and
celebrated the wonderful role sound plays at the ballet
and at the theatre generally. Students listened to music
using Samsung Level One Pro headphones while
sitting in the ‘orchestra pit’. All students, including
those with a hearing impairment or those who did not
feel comfortable wearing headphones, were able to
touch and ‘play’ various instruments that would usually
be found in the pit.
The final zone, called Backstage, allowed for a more
tactile experience, exploring touch and the beautiful
textiles of costumes. Students were asked to match
fabrics with costumes on display on tablets. The task
was completed on beanbags providing a quieter zone
for those who may have become overwhelmed by the
new experience and the buzz around them.
But it was not just participants who received an
education via this process.
Tess Ariotti, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager
at Samsung, says by putting together the Dance
Discovery program the company learned that students
respond well to activities that they can see themselves
in or have authorship over.
“Our research reminded us how simple things can
make a big difference. We know that repetition helped
students feel more comfortable so colours, costumes
and music were repeated across the zones and
mirrored the Out There workshops and performance,
responding to the insight that new experiences can be
overwhelming for students. This approach helped calm
them and was further supported by the provision of an
activity booklet prior to the experience, meaning some
parts of the Samsung Dance Discovery program already
Samsung says the most inspiring take-away was how
much learning improves if students are given the right
support to overcome barriers.
Ms Ariotti says this is something these teachers work on
every day and that it was “a very humbling moment” for
Samsung to contribute to education in this way.
“Through the creation of Samsung Dance Discovery
we’ve been able to enhance learning outcomes
and make cultural experiences more accessible
for all members of our community. We believe our
technology can be used to overcome barriers and
support young people’s education, which is why it is
important to create activities like this where we can
see it in action. Through our Corporate Citizenship
program, we are contributing to a future where all
young Australians have access to the best technology
and learning opportunities.”
In addition to its support of The Australian Ballets
programs, Samsung also works with a range of
partners who support young people’s education
across Australia via its sponsorship of Questacon,
The National Science and Technology Centre and its
associated Smart Skills workshop as well as offering
support to teachers through different channels such as
the NSW Premier’s Samsung Technology in Rural and
Remote Schools Scholarship.
Samsung says it is committed to continuing to invest
in this area in the future. To maximise the success of
Samsung Dance Discovery it is now designing follow-
up documentation to share the insights and results
from the activity.
Jack Gibbs, Chantelle van der Hoek
Photo - Aaron Veryard
Opposite page: Out There - Jasmin Dwyer
Photo - Aaron Veryard