Making their hearts sing: Ela & Jarrah at QL2

Why does Judy Knowles drive 100km each way to bring two children to QL2?

“I think most parents want nothing more than for their children to find happiness and fulfilment in life — to find what makes their heart sing.”

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“I have four children who all happen to have a deep connection to dance. It is a passion they all share and although within dance they have different interests, it is their primary creative outlet.

The first time I took the children to a QL2 performance was in about 2011. We attended a schools matinee performance. I was totally blown away by how professional the production was, how it seemed to have children of all ages and backgrounds coming together to collaborate and produce a dance work that had a heart beat. It was so expressive and thought provoking, and I wanted that experience for my children. I listened to Ruth, the Artistic Director, speak following the performance. She encouraged all interested children to apply for upcoming productions regardless of dance experience. This I made a mental note of. I had no idea that in a few years we would be travelling to Canberra twice a week – not a small undertaking from our house in the wilderness, 30 km south of Braidwood….

Ela, aged 10, joined classes in term 2 to prepare for the Chaos project audition in August. My younger son, Brodie, also joined the Licence to Move class for boys. Ela missed the audition as she was sick but was able to audition in class. She went on to perform in For The Win in 2014.

It was a huge commitment for us. We had to find accommodation in Canberra for at least part of the three weeks of production. Driving in and out was not an option as it would have been too exhausting for all of us and the fuel cost prohibitive. Luckily a friend had a place we could use for part of the time. Ela loved the whole experience and made some wonderful friends, particularly one of the senior girls who she looked up to and admired. This was one of the really wonderful aspects of the whole project, the chance for the younger children to work alongside more experienced dancers and to feel a valued part of the team.

Although at times it was physically and mentally challenging and all of the children found life in the city a bit overwhelming, after the first performance Ela was hooked. This was a world she felt totally at home and supported in. She could see that all the hard work was worth it and she had been a part of something truly special. Many of her friends and teachers from the dance studio in Braidwood came to watch her dance.

Ela at home.

Ela at home.

The following year her older sister Jarrah joined the classes and they both performed in the 2015 Chaos project, All The Things. They are both currently in the Intermediate program and loving it. The teachers are all dedicated to helping each child follow their own path, whether they end up following a career in dance or just finding out, through dance, more about themselves and what they are capable of.

QL2 is a truly unique dance environment where you feel part of a big family who values who you are as a person as well a dancer. We have been fortunate through the generosity of QL2’s donors and supporters to give two of our children an opportunity to grow and learn through contemporary dance. It has opened up a whole world for them that living in a rural community sometimes doesn’t offer, and for this I am sincerely grateful.”

Judy Knowles

This entry was posted in 2016, Alumni and tagged , by Gary. Bookmark the permalink.

About Gary

Gary is General Manager at QL2 Dance, previously General Manager at the Australian Choreographic Centre which developed the approach to youth dance programs which forms the core of QL2's work. He is a recovering computer programmer and live sound engineer. He discovered social dance through contemporary dance.