Dillmac performers follow dreams

Strike a pose: Dillmac’s senior dance troupe will be among nine teams from five states competing for one of the most coveted titles at the song and dance competition’s national titles.

Campaspe entertainment company Dillmac is aiming to produce a second national champion in as many years as it prepares for the national finals of the Follow Your Dreams dance and vocal competition.

Tripping the light fantastic: Kyabram singer Larni Heazlewood mid-pose during the audition stage of the Follow your Dreams competition.
Lighting up the stage: Tongala singer Amy Caldwell is one of Liz Dillon’s vocal students performing in Adelaide.
Solo performer: River Bawden will perform five different acts as one of the 16 Dillmac Entertainment performers at the Follow Your Dreams national finals in Adelaide this week.
Stairway to heaven: Archie Turnbull from Merrigum will compete in the vocal competition, having qualified through the Moama auditions

Sixteen students from the Echuca and Kyabram studios of the renowned performance company are currently in Adelaide for the national championships.

The competitions started on Monday (January 10) and will continue all week.

Last year Indi Gilmore returned from the finals with a national championship when she and Josh Parker were the only Dillmac performers involved in the event – due to COVID issues.

Indi will not be involved in this year’s song and dance championship as she has a lead role in Bendigo Theatre Company’s youth production of Cats, and the opening weekend clashes with the FYD event.

Josh, who also returned with a swag of trophies from the event, will again be going in search of a national championship.

Dillmac partner Liz Dillon said there had been several challenges for performers who had qualified for the FYD event, due to COVID.

“In order to qualify for the national finals the performers first need to compete at regional events during the year,” she said.

“At those events they need to score 87 and above (out of 100) to qualify. All our kids scored above 90.”

There were originally 26 competitors selected for the troupe events — duo, trio and solo performance divisions — but due to COVID only 16 will be travelling to Adelaide.

“Those 26 kids were chosen from 195,” Ms Dillon said.

“There are three levels, they have to audition for us first, then at regional level before making the nationals.

“Fortunately both of the auditions were held in Moama this year. We normally have to go to Albury and Melbourne,” Ms Dillon said.

Kylie Drew, whose family started the FYD competitions in 1995, now has events in Australia, London and New Zealand.

Ms Dillon said performers had been working all year in order to compete at the nationals, travelling at their own expense.

She said there could well be another Indi Gilmore in the group, who is the national under 14 vocal champion and also picked up the award for the most outstanding performer of all the dancers and singers at the titles in 2021.

“Our seniors have a good chance of placing in the troupe competition, this is the one everyone vies for,” Ms Dillon said.

Dillmac is taking the only Victorian troupe to the event.

“They are doing a number of items, there are about seven numbers they will be performing,” Ms Dillon said.

The Dillmac troupe will also compete at a gala event dance off with the other eight troupes.

Dillmac will have competitors on all of the five days of competition in the individual events, along with Sunday’s troupe event.

There are six members of the senior troupe, aged 14 to 16 years, while three juniors will compete in solo dancing.

The other six performers from Dillmac are competing in vocals in five different genres.

“All six will compete in the champion events in their age groups, with the hope of competing for a national title,” Ms Dillon said.

The competitors are:

Juniors: River Bawden (Moama, competing in five solos), Imogen Leersen (Echuca, competing in three solos).

Seniors: Indra Hubble (Kyabram, competing in one solo), Isabelle Turnbull (Merrigum, competing in seven solos), Claudia Moon (Echuca, competing in two solos), Lulu Oman (Echuca, competing in three solos).

The senior team has qualified for nationals by placing first at both FYD regional competitions in all of their routines and will be competing with six routines as a troupe at the nationals.

The members are Indra Hubble, Mikayla Brown (Kyabram), Rose Grills (Kyabram), Lulu Oman, Issy Turnbull and Claudia Moon.

The vocal competition Dillmac representatives are: Josh Parker (Echuca), Georgia Armstrong (Moama), Amy Caldwell (Tongala), Archie Turnbull (Merrigum), Larni Hazelwood (Kyabram) and Kinsey Graham (Echuca).