Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Dance Company thriving together

4 November 2022

Relationship between organisations creating great outcomes for students.

Two of Australia's leading arts organisations have teamed up to deliver a world-class Music Theatre program in Sydney.

Sydney Conservatorium of Music students

Sydney Conservatorium of Music's inaugural Music Theatre cohort

After agreeing to a partnership in early 2022, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Sydney Dance Company signed a memorandum of understanding which means that students pursuing Music Theatre will be trained in dance and movement by some of the country’s finest practitioners.

This collaboration has answered a need for specialised integrated multi-disciplinary performing arts training, bringing together two of Australia’s leading arts organisations together to deliver education which will help to elevate the artistic potential of the students.

The partnership was conceived by the Conservatorium's Music Theatre Program Leader and Director Narelle Yeo and Artistic Planning Manager Scott Ryan.

Yeo says that Sydney Dance Company’s existing programs and shared values made the partnership a no brainer.

“We were looking for a way to deliver first class dance training to our new cohort of Music Theatre students,” Yeo said.

“Scott (Ryan) and I immediately thought of the Sydney Dance Company as we knew about their Pre-Professional Year training program, we were also seeking a partner who shared our philosophy of teaching music theatre.”

Through the partnership with Sydney Dance Company, students are given invaluable exposure into the professional world.

“We are working in one of the world’s great dance studio spaces, with investment from a range of different choreographers with expertise in different styles,” Yeo said.

"In this way, we are providing a rich education in a number of disciplines to both cohorts of students. This kind of partnership is extremely rare in the competitive creative arts industry, and reflects our joint view that there is a wide and open collaborative space for making art in Sydney."

Artistic Planning Manager Scott Ryan believes the partnership has given the Music Theatre program a real point of difference when comparing to similar courses, with students benefiting greatly from the exposure to industry-leading expertise.

“Sydney Dance Company are industry leading professionals working with our students,” Ryan said.

“They have welcomed us into their family – we are not just a venue hirer. We watch each other’s performances and engage with the work of students of both organisations.

“All of the dance teachers who have worked with the students are world class experts in their field.”

Ryan has been incredibly impressed with how much improvement he has seen out of the students since the inception of the partnership.

All of our students have shown significant improvement over this time. This is exciting to watch
Scott Ryan

One student who has benefited from the partnership is Matteo Persechino, a member of the current cohort of Con’s Music Theatre program.

Persechino says the training with the Sydney Dance Company has been particularly beneficial for those students without a dance background.

“For music theatre student such as myself, it is so beneficial to be able to work with professional dance teachers and be in an environment of dance excellence,” Persechino said.

“The classes gave me a chance to connect with my body as a performer and break away the stigma often surrounding the stereotype of what a dancer should look like."

As a non-dancer music theatre performer, I've found being in this professional environment has allowed me to not only observe but be immersed in the musicality and physicality of dance and really helped me improve.”
Matteo Persechino

Staff involved with the program have been incredibly impressed with the students development and how quickly they have been able to improve due to the partnership.

Yeo believes the shared values of both organisations have played a key role in this development.

"It has been fantastic seeing students grow and flourish,” Yeo said.

"We share a view of artistic work as incredibly important and brave, but also a space to experiment and grow. This shared perspective has definitely been a highlight of the partnership so far."

With the current Music Theatre students thriving within their new surroundings, Yeo credits the partnership for helping the students to grow.

"The level of camaraderie in our cohort is due in part to the atmosphere at our Sydney Dance Company classes, our students are proud to attend that campus as well as the Conservatorium.”

“They are proud of their work, and this impacts self-esteem, confidence, teamwork and mentorship. We are seeing amazing results and growth from this partnership.”

Interested in a career in music theatre? Become a triple threat performer with a Bachelor of Music in Music Theatre.

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