Give dance its due sporting status: winning teacher

Perfect poise: prize-winning dancers from the Katharine Mantle Performing Arts Academy.
Perfect poise: prize-winning dancers from the Katharine Mantle Performing Arts Academy.

Katharine Mantle, dance teacher at Cockburn Central’s Katharine Mantle Performing Arts Academy, said her students worked just as hard as other athletes but didn’t always get the recognition they deserved.

‘Sometimes I think dance is perceived, especially when you see shows like Dance Moms, as all a bit crazy, but it’s not’ she said.

‘They train just as hard as any other athlete, but in Australia there isn’t the same recognition as there would be in Europe or America. They don’t have that same support from the public and the government.’

Ms Mantle said Perth was already producing world-class dancers, but said further government investment would allow athletes to stay and work in WA.

‘It’s sad that our dancers have to go overseas and to the other side of the country and that we don’t get to keep them here,’ she said.

Ms Mantle’s own students could be part of a future exodus of dancers, with the local academy claiming four team championships and five individual awards at the Showcase Australia Dance Championships in January.

Among the winners was Atwell resident Sophie Moore, who won the lyrical, choreography and open category national titles.

‘I was pretty nervous but I knew that I had practised hard. I went over the year before and didn’t do that well, so I really wanted to do well this time around,’ the 14-year-old said.

Beeliar resident Summer Willans (13) also won a national title for choreography.