IN A bid to stop the Sunshine Coast losing its most talented young dancers to Brisbane and other capital cities, two local teachers have set up this new dance academy.
Donna Ferguson and Nikita Whalley say dancers who are serious about developing their skills to a professional level currently have to go to Brisbane or other major cities for training at elite schools.
"The real kicker for us as educators is that we lose these kids - the ones at this level - because they often have to leave school to go to these higher programs," Mrs Ferguson said.
"It means they're putting their eggs in one basket, rather than finishing off their education, getting their certificate while developing their passion."
The new academy, Elite Dance Institute, would enable young dancers to study a higher dance qualification while at high school, with the course counting towards their Queensland Certificate of Education.
Immanuel Lutheran College graduate Prue Paslow, 19, moved from her Sunshine Coast family home to Brisbane so she could follow her dance passion through Queensland University of Technology, but has just returned and started working a full-time café job.
"I love the coast," she said.
"I can't really say I'm a fan of the city. I deferred my course, but I'm not sure if I'll go back to that.
"The costs to support yourself down there is hard. It was full-time at uni and to find the spare time to work to pay for your rent and food was a struggle."
She was considering furthering her training through the new dance academy, which will take its first group of students in first semester next year.
Working at Point Cartwright café Little Miss Saine was great, she said, and could fit easily next year with the one day per week attendance requirement of Elite Dance.
Ms Paslow has trained in hip hop, ballet, tap and jazz, and said school-age dancers should be excited about the new school opening to them.
"If I had the opportunity to do that through school, it would have been awesome," she said.
"I've considered those courses but they're all based in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast. It's pretty good there's going to be one on the Sunshine Coast."
Mrs Ferguson said qualifications for the program would be provided by a registered training organisation and a "well-rounded curriculum" would include contemporary dance, lyrical, hip hop, commercial and normal jazz - "everything you would need for musical theatre".
"We've worked the program so that... they can complete the entire Certificate 4 in one year only. That's coming to us only one day a week."
Comparable courses outside of the Coast required at least a two-year commitment on a part-time basis, which was too much to juggle with school, she said.
"With the other programs, it involved the Sunshine Coast kids relocating as 17 or 18-year-old kids," she said.
"That's a big thing. It's a big adjustment and a huge financial cost. In terms of our costing, we're less than half the price.
"We've basically trimmed it so it's what they need and they're getting the quality but not all the fluff."
If students complete their Elite Dance Institute qualification before they finish Year 12, it will count for eight Queensland Certificate of Education points.
That's double the weighting of a standard subject, and almost half the total requirement for their final senior certificate.
"It's worth twice as much as any other subject, because it's a higher qualification," Mrs Feguson said.
"They can drop one or two other subjects so they can manage the load."
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