SINCE 1995, the Moe Dance Eisteddfod has been up and running, inviting young dancers from all over to perform against each other while being able to make friends and have fun.

This year’s eisteddfod starts on April 3 and ends on April 10, at Lowanna College Auditorium, Newark Avenue, Newborough. Dancers of all ages, from the age of two to 18 participate.

“The week aims to have a whole heap of kids from all dance schools and ages come together and enjoy a friendly competition. Even though it is a competition, we like our kids to have fun,” Moe Dance Eisteddfod President, Shirley Weir, said.

“We hope that allowing them to dance on stage gives them the confidence not only to dance but the confidence in themselves, to grow into the great people that they can.”

Over the week, there will be over 1500 performances, starting at 9am and ending around 10pm.

Ms Shirley has been on the eisteddfod committee for 10 years and told the Express that it has been a friendly experience for her, saying it often becomes a family event where families come together and help support them as part of the audience.

Over the week, people are welcome throughout the day to prance into the doorways of the auditorium to watch the performances.

“Anyone is welcome to watch. We have a morning session at nine o’clock, an afternoon session at one o’clock, and an evening session at six o’clock. Usually, during those sessions, they might see four or five different sections, four or five different age groups, and dance genres,” she said.

The dance genres included are classical, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, jazz, song and dance, character dances, national dances (dances of a country), solos, duos, and the occasional trios.

Ms Weir said that many of those who have come through over the years are mainly in for passion and fun, but she has seen some continue and turn their passion into their occupation.

“Over the years, we have quite a few kids who continue and go onto cruise ships, showcases and productions, or professional dancing. Some go on to do the Australian Ballet or other ballets. We have kids who will then move on and open their dance schools or take over others,” she said.

Many performers experience nerve troubles, but according to Ms Weir, quite a few of the performers that attend lose their nerves after their first interaction with the stage.

“Any time you start with something unknown, you find that the nerves will be there, but once the kids come off stage, many say it wasn’t too bad. They enjoy it,” she said.

“It’s lovely to see the young kids, especially those who have just started. You can see that they are quite nervous. They get on that stage, come off, and are relieved and realise that it isn’t that bad.”

“They do what they do because they love it and have a lot of fun doing it. The next time you watch them, you can see the excitement and the joy that it brings them to get on stage, and you watch as the years go on and on that, these kids are actually building confidence, and they just want to get on stage and dance. Those nerves, in those cases, are no longer there.”

For more information on the eisteddfod, visit the Moe Dance Eisteddfod Facebook page.