Breanna McFayden started dancing at the age of three, as like many little girls she just loved to dance. She was lucky enough to be trained by Colette Brazier, Principal of Australian Dance Enterprises, who fostered her love of dance. Breanna has also had the experience of learning from so many amazing teachers and choreographers, both in the North West District and Greater Sydney.
How long have you lived in Armidale? Tell us about your family …
I was born and raised in Armidale. I attended two fantastic schools, Ben Venue for primary and Duval for high school. Both my mum and dad are locals and still work in Armidale. I have a younger brother and sister who both also reside in Armidale. I moved to Sydney in 2013 and currently reside in the lovely Sutherland Shire (it’s not as lovely as Armidale, though).
When and why did you first become involved with dancing?
I started dancing at the age of three, as like many little girls I just loved to dance. I was lucky enough to be trained by Colette Brazier, Principal of Australian Dance Enterprises, who fostered my love of dance. I have honestly been so lucky to have been able to learn from so many amazing teachers and choreographers, both in the North West District and Greater Sydney. I had the most amazing opportunities as a dancer growing up; I was a part of the NSW public schools dance ensemble, participated in the Schools Spectacular, participated in dance festivals at regional and state levels, choreographed for creative arts festivals and fashion parades, attended many workshops with professional choreographers and amazing teachers around NSW, performed in numerous eisteddfods and met some amazing lifelong friends. Still today at uni I am experiencing amazing opportunities with dance, allowing me to network with some amazing mentors and choreographers in the hope to pass on these experiences to my future students.
How is dance as a subject in schools different to studio dance?
People often think dance is a bludge subject; however, this is not the case. Dance is available to students to select as an elective from Years 7 – 10. The syllabus is an integrated study of practices of performance, composition and appreciation. During the HSC there is also a major work. I guess you could say the main difference is that studio dance serves for recreational practices for fun, fitness and friendships; whereas, at school the study is purely dance as an artform. However, these days many studios including ADE offer exam work, where students are able attain certificates in dance. I was lucky enough to be able to study dance at school and complete my certificates in Jazz and Ballet. These experiences have definitely aided me in my studies at university.
How do students benefit from dance?
Dance is more than just a form of physical activity – particularly in the school syllabus, where the focus is dance as an artform. Dance education provides countless benefits for students, such as developing physical fitness, appreciation of the body, coordination, flexibility, along with deeper appreciation of cultures and diversity. Students also have the opportunity to develop friendships, confidence, and the power of expression and creativity.
Who inspires you?
Colette – she has fostered my love for dance, but has taught and encouraged me to be the best teacher I can be. The students I am lucky enough to work with inspire me more and more each time; their dedication, passion and results inspire me to provide them with the best learning experiences and opportunities.
Who has been involved getting you to this level?
My mum and dad have not only funded all my tuition growing up, but have encouraged me to do everything and take every opportunity. My biggest supporters would be my grandparents; they have not missed a performance, and growing up often took me away to Sydney to dance. But the biggest thank you needs to go to all my teachers I have had, both at school, particularly Jane Cullen and Bindy Hodgson, two of the most dedicated PE/ DANCE teachers ever, and at Australian Dance Enterprises.
What are your other interests?
When I am not studying or working, I love to bake and cook, and I love catching up with my friends near and far. I also love yoga! If I wasn’t finishing a degree, I would be travelling; I can’t wait to see the world. I also take every chance I get try to watch dance performances, whether it be the ballet, Sydney Dance Company, a musical, or an independent company.
Plans for the future?
My ultimate goal is to move back to the country, particularly the New England area, and create a programme that allows regional rural dance teachers and students both in schools and studios access to a wider range of resources. I sometimes feel that students in the country can be disadvantaged, and I feel that every student should have access to quality education, regardless of where they live and financial situation. Ultimately I hope to be the best teacher I can be, pass on my love of art of dance and provide as many opportunities to students living in regional areas.