Meet Melissa Ayers: AUSTRALIAN PERFORMING ARTS GRAMMAR SCHOOL
What sets APGS apart from other similar schools in Sydney?
"The most unique aspect of APGS has to be the incredibly supportive and safe environment created by the students and staff. It doesn’t matter whether it is in academic and performing arts classes, lunch time, assemblies, house competitions or showcases, the students are always accepting of each other’s unique talents and personalities and constantly cheer each other on.
There is not only support for students to excel in their strengths, but also a lot of encouragement to branch out of their comfort zones and develop new skills. We’ve had a number of students come in thinking they’re exclusively a ‘singer', and within a semester they’re also branching out into dance classes, percussion, film making or stagecraft."
What kind of dancer could benefit from training at APGS?
"Dancers that study a number of styles and want to be versatile performers. Our dance program covers a variety of dance techniques as well as different specialty skills each semester such as acro, contact improvisation and choreography, all taught by specialist teachers with industry experience. Through the different classes, dancers have the opportunity to work on developing their technique, their own personal styles, ability to pick up choreography as well as performance skills.
APGS also caters very well for dance students who are also interested in other areas of the creative arts. The timetable is structured so that they can mix in classes in vocal, instrumental, art or drama streams with their dance classes, and in Year 11 and 12 they are able to take multiple arts subjects for their HSC."
What do you look for in an audition?
"Our auditions involve two different performance pieces as well as an interview. In both of these components we are looking for students that demonstrate passion and commitment for performance and discipline in their training."
What do you love most about your job?
"I love the creative atmosphere and culture of the school. The small size allows all of the staff to work collaboratively to support the students in all areas and to have the flexibility to cater the curriculum to the needs and creative interests of the students. Also in teaching the students in small classes from Year 7 to Year 12 we’re able to build strong relationships with students year after year. It’s very rewarding to be a part of their growth as students, artists and people."
What would you say is the most common next step taken by graduates from the dance program at APGS?
"Most of our dance students choose to study a Certificate IV, Diploma or Bachelor’s Degree in Dance after graduation, with many students also pursuing studies in related fields such as Physiotherapy, Nutrition and Musical Theatre."