Bendigo Dance

Shining through Dance!

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Sharon Saunders Dancers were finalists in the READY SET DANCE Awards at their Conference in Sydney on the weekend.

They were thrilled to be finalists in 3 Awards chosen from over 200 Dance Studios throughout Australia & New Zealand.

READY SET DANCE Regional Studio of the year

READY SET BALLET Studio of the year

READY SET BALLET Teacher of the year (Hannah McBain)

They didn’t win any of their categories but Principal, Sharon Saunders was announced the recipient of the Gold Twirl Award which was a people’s choice award chosen by her colleagues. READY SET DANCE is a pre school dance program. Their aim is to get preschoolers moving and focuses on the 3 C’s- Coordination, Creativity & Confidence.

Photo: Sharon Saunders with ‘Freeze’ & ‘Twirl’ from Nick Jnr. TV show READY SET DANCE.

Preschooler to READY SET BALLET Teacher of the year finalist!

Hannah McBain was 2 days old when she first attended her big sister Ashlea’s dance concert!

When Hannah was old enough, it was her turn to start dancing. 17 years later Hannah has been announced a national finalist for READY SET BALLET Teacher of the year which will be announced this Sunday in Sydney.

Each week Hannah inspires preschool boys & girls and helps build their independence. 

Sharon Saunders Dancers Founder/Principal Sharon Saunders says “Hannah is loved by all, she is kind, caring and always has an infectious smile.” “To see her & other students grow from a preschooler to a confident young adult is a gift I will never take for granted.”

The past 2 years Hannah has been delivering the Ready Set Dance program, an Australian/New Zealand structured and creative dance program for pre-schoolers. In the words of Emily, a parent of one of Hannah’s students “If I could bottle Hannah up in a jar and pass on to every single person who wants to dance……. That would be the best gift.”

Sharon Saunders Dancers are thrilled to be finalists in 2 other National  Awards. 

READY SET DANCE Regional Studio of the year & READY SET BALLET Studio of the year. 

Andy Banks Photography attends all classes for Photo Week. It's an exciting time to see our concert start to come to life with new costumes!

AUSTRALIAN TEACHERS OF DANCING Examiner Mrs. Penny Butler with our National Character exam candidates at the end of our 2019 Exam day.

Our students are taught using the ATOD System of training and have the option to sit exams each year.


Thankyou to everyone who came along to our first ever Preschool concert yesterday,
READY SET PARTY! We had lots of very proud dancers, teachers and parents! Children as young as 2 years of age performed at JB Osborne Theatre.

You were a truly wonderful audience, we hope we filled your morning with laughter, pride & joy! We are very proud of the children who all behaved beautifully. We hope they enjoyed their morning, even if they were a little shy this time and sat in the audience and watched with their family. Massive thanks to Hannah, Julia, Alyce, Damien, Sheryll, our DanceStep helpers Ali, Sasha, Taylah, Olivia and of course our guest performers who all brought the show together as a team.


Our Senior Ballet & Contemporary students were extremely fortunate to have Teaching Artists from the Sydney Dance Company take their first classes this term! They learnt contemporary technique and reportoire from the upcoming performance of Cinco at Ulumbarra Theatre!


Term 2 commences today!

I hope the holidays were amazing and you got some rest! Welcome to all of our new families, we hope you love SSD as much as we do!

Thankyou to everyone who attended our Easter Festival performance, we had a great attendance and the dancers had fun which is the most important thing!

I had the most amazing 3 days of professional development at Victorian Dance Festival which is always inspiring and great for bringing new elements to our classes. We were extremely fortunate to have The Joffrey Ballet & Travis Wall return from the USA for workshops! Some of the other professional development sessions I undertook at VDF were Anxiety, Well being, Injury prevention & safe dance practices which I will pass on to my team.

Yesterday we had a really powerful day as a Team working on our values, musicality, Examiners notes & expectations for ATOD exams from a recent Training day & finished with lots of fun learning new Ready Set Dance & Ready Set Ballet content for this term! We were happy to welcome our new teacher Jo, who will be teaching all of Zoe's classes (after the commute from Melbourne became to hard with the demands of uni). You can learn more about Jo on our website. 

In the afternoon we had our first DanceStep session with our class assistants which was very rewarding. It is a pleasure to mentor these beautiful young role models and empower them to be leaders at SSD & beyond. I would love more dancers 10 years & over to join our small group and benefit from the DanceStep program.

We finished the day with Ready Set Dance & Ready Set Ballet Taster classes which were filled with lots of fun & joy! Details of our Preschool concert which will be held on Sunday June 23 is in our SSD Ready Set Dance Parents Facebook group. We will be inviting a few extra classes to perform as guests at this concert! Stay tuned!

I have done LOTS of costume shopping over the holidays! If you are paying costume levies, please bring your costume bag to the studio asap (see handbook for details if you need to buy one). 

We are looking forward to an exciting term and trying on lots of costumes!

See you at the studio!

Sincerely, Sharon Saunders

Sydney Dance Company Contemporary Workshop
Sharon Saunders Dancers Studio
Monday April 29 from 6.45pm-8.45pm
Cost $35

Delivered by Sydney Dance Company’s Teaching Artists, students will be offered the unique opportunity to experience how the Company creates and performs new and original movement. Sydney Dance Company will guide participants through a contemporary technique warm-up, teach company repertoire and lead participants through a composition task utilised by the Company to generate new movement for Rafael Bonachela’s work Cinco.

This workshop is also open to dancers throughout Central Victoria.

Limited places available through Trybooking. Minimum age 11 years.

SSD Families please read details on Movitae or Email regarding participation.

Photo credit: Pedro Greig

We couldn't be more excited! We are now the Official location for Ready Set Dance & Ready Set Ballet in Bendigo! After 12 months of fun with Ready Set Dance we have decided to extend our preschool program for budding ballerinas!

Ready Set Ballet is a magical 30 minute ballet program for 2-5 year olds! Check out our website page for details.

Ready Set Dance started on Nick Jnr on January 21 and we are fortunate enough to have lots of new content to teach this year!

To find out more click here and sign up for more information if desired.

Maiden Gully Carols 2018

Our Ready Set Dance kids were so great performing at the carols in December. Who would have thought that so many shy children would jump up on stage and perform so confidently in such a short time. Huge thanks to their teachers and Ready Set Dance central for creating an incredible program!

Dear Teachers, Dancers, Families & Friends,

I would like to extend a huge thank you to each and everyone of you who helped make our concert so wonderful! 

I honestly could not be prouder. Each and every group was well prepared by my amazing team, confident & performed to a very high standard for their age group. Even our Ready Set Dance and Enchanted Kids were confident on stage (and so adorable)! Big hugs to James who missed the performance due to sudden illness.

Our senior students performed at a new level! On Friday Emma asked them to perform like they were on a Cruise ship and I continued to remind them on Saturday. They came out and nailed it with some very challenging choreography and had a ball! This year they were introduced to heels and it wasn't easy. It's a whole new ball game performing in heels, especially with such a fast routine! They were a bit worried if they could make it, but they certainly did! Next year they will perform a heel routine in their Elementary Jazz exam. That will be a breeze now!

Driving home to Barham this morning I was reflecting on how strong all age groups have become and of course credit goes to our teachers but I also feel that the huge improvement has come from the past 3 years studying the ATOD Syllabus. Also the amount of Professional Development and Team Training I have invested in during that time. The other factor is Movitae. This resource is invaluable and ensures teachers can access the syllabus 24/7, students can also access their exercises they need to practice plus catch up or practice new choreography. The ATOD syllabus is world renowned, professional and progressive which ensures every student is receiving a quality dance education by qualified educators. In a country where dance is not regulated this is very important. We teach Safe Dance practices in a Child Safe environment. Our children from 2 year olds with Ready Set Dance through to Adults are in safe hands. Ready Set Dance isn't just heaps of fun it is created and approved by Dance and Preschool professionals to have learning outcomes for every song. We are in a very exciting phase with Nickelodeon investing heavily in the program. Our ATOD affiliation ensures our children from Test 1 through to Teachers are given age appropriate content that is sequential and moves dancers through levels to become strong confident dancers and people!

Once again I must thank my wonderful teaching team! I can honestly say that we have a cohesive and supportive group of beautiful people who support each other and me! They live our values, care for their students and spend countless unpaid hours preparing each year. They will be creating over the holidays and thinking ahead for 2019! I am thrilled to have all teachers continuing and excited to have Annaliese & Zoe joining our team with the support of regular guest teachers Peta Hungerford, David Williams & Ash Rokesky. I cant forget to thank our Class Assistant and Leadership Program participants who help every week and at special events like exam weekend and the concert. They are a wonderful support to teachers and students.

Thanks to the parents for entrusting your children to us. It is an absolute honour and privilege to be given the gift of having a small or often much bigger part in their development whether it be for a few months or 20 plus years! We hope you feel part of our SSD Family. Thanks for all the beautiful grooming, getting to class on time and of course reading your concert handbook (you can put that away now) and keeping up to date with news and emails!

To my dancers, thankyou so very much for listening, being prepared, coming to class when it was a challenge to get there, being kind, trying your hardest and making SSD a beautiful place to be. You should be so proud of yourselves. To my older students remember the level you performed at and make that your standard from now on. Don't settle for just practising in class, treat every exercise and run through as a performance and the sky is the limit!!!

Huge thanks to the Backstage crew, we could not do it without generous people like you! You sacrifice watching your child from the theatre, run all day and night and make sure it looks effortless to get the dancers on stage. We know that couldn't be further from the truth and it takes great team work and coordination! I know you would have been tired on Sunday too!

I would love for you to comment on social media or movitae about your favourite concert memory! Those moments are precious and I would love to share them. I will share lots of photos from the past few weeks and at the Theatre (with the help of Kellie) over the coming weeks.

Much love, Sharon Saunders

Ready Set TV!

Recently Sharon Saunders attended the Ready Set Dance conference in Sydney and met some of the Nickelodeon family! 

We are super thrilled to be going on this exciting journey with Nickelodeon and Ready Set Dance! We will continue to focus on the 3 C's Coordination, creativity and confidence and encourage all preschool parents to check out this incredible program that recently won the BEST NATIONAL ACTIVITY FOR PRESCHOOLERS at the What's on for kids awards! 


We are very privileged to have David Williams join our Team as a Guest Teacher. David has just returned from Camp Protege in Canada with Stacey Tookey and Kathryn Mc Cormack, 2 of our favourite instructors from the USA whom we met at Victorian Dance Festival. 

Read all about David on our Team page.


On this weeks episode of The Business of Dance Podcast, I have as my guest the wonderful and talented Sharon Saunders of Sharon Saunders Dancers. We get to learn more about Sharon and dive into our favourite tech tools as studio owners as well as branding tips! To listen to this episode simply visit:…/business-of-dance-p…/id1276431018

Once again we are heading to Victorian Dance Festival to be educated and inspired by Australia and the worlds leading dancers, choreographers and educators. VDF is an important part of our professional development each year to ensure we continue to evolve our dance classes and be up to date with the latest resources, technology, dancewear, resources, safe dance practices and choreography!

Dancers 8 years and over are encouraged to join us! Full details here.

Sharon Saunders Dancers- Paint the Stage!

Ulumbarra Theatre- November 25 2017

Our dancers certainly filled the stage with colour and excitement at Ulumbarra Theatre! It was a joy to see so many excited dancers in the weeks leading up to the concert and definitely at the theatre!

Our 2018 Concert Date is Saturday November 24 at 7pm.

We are heading to Melbourne!

We are very excited to announce that we have been invited to Jason Coleman's Ministry of Dance for 2 free workshops!!!! 

SSD students (7 years & over) can book at the studio for Sunday August 27 2017 Jazz and Musical Theatre 11am-1pm.

Contemporary Workshop- May 201

With Adam Wheeler - creator of ATOD Contemporary Syllabus 

BIO: Adam Wheeler had just joined the Team at Transit Dance. He is a Stompin’ & Victorian College of the Arts Alumni. Adam’s passion is in the development of youth and emerging dance practice. The future of a strong and vibrant Australian contemporary arts landscape is in our next generation of dance makers and thinkers. Throughout the last 15 years he has founded Yellow Wheel, Victoria’s premier pre-professional dance company and is an Artistic Associate of Stompin’. Adam has also created and produced dance works with companies such as Chunky Move, Tasdance, 2NDTOE , Yellow Wheel , Stompin’, Steps, QL2 and Fling Physical Theatre.

Other career highlights include performing in Opera Australia’s The Ring Cycle (2013), the Australian Ballet’s Out There Project, Festival Directing Short+Sweet Dance Melbourne/Sydney and The Australian Youth Dance Festival and developing a Contemporary System of Training for the Australian Teachers of Dancing, which is now taught all over Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.

ATOD Exam day Bronze Medal examinees with Mrs Witchell - October 2016