We were so pleased to hear many inspiring presentations from our Youth Grant recipients at Deaf Children Australia’s Youth Grants Award Night on 22 July. Below, one of our Youth Grant recipients, Chelsea shares her story about her trip to Montenegro to dance at the Montenegro Dance Festival. We look forward to sharing more of the Youth Grants recipients’ stories with you over the coming months.
Hello I am Chelsea Pearce and I would like to thank Deaf Children Australia for enabling me to partake in the Montenegro Dance Festival, without your help it would not have been achievable.
This European tour made it possible for me to meet other dances from all over the world and see them also perform in different genres. This was the first time Australia had performed at this festival and the other dancers and the audience were so excited to meet us and inquire about our country. They were astonished when we informed them it took over 30 hours to get from Australia to Montenegro. The long hours in transit was worth it, this country with its breath taking countryside, long history with historical ruins and buildings, we actually danced and competed in an open aired stage in a fortress ruin. Some of history and buildings date back further than 809AD.
Montenegro is actually a new country gaining its independence in 2006 from Serbia, earlier a part of Yugoslavia in 1929. Blessed with sunshine and its beautiful beaches and whitewashed old towns the Montenegro coast has become one of Europe’s wanted properties. The local people are very friendly and helpful.
Our performance went well, the audience cheered and some even chanting the “Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi”. I was surprised they knew of us on the other side of the world. The Russian dancers were exceptional, we shared our accommodation with both the Russians and South Africans, they practiced morning and night so dedicated and focused.
We were awarded first place in the Grand Prix in the modern category and received a special judge’s prize. I heard there were over 20 countries competing at this festival. We were featured on European News, although I was unable to attend as I had an earlier flight.
The music to the dance routine was ‘We can do whatever we want” by Havana Brown which seems to be appropriate after this International dance festival as we really were not expecting to win, and this song helps to inspire others to reach their dreams. I was the only dancer with special needs, a severe bilateral hearing loss and an auditory processing learning disability…. little recall, I was encouraged to dance at an early age as therapy, who would of expected that I would be dancing along with my hearing peers in an International event for Australia…. and winning a major prize!