Emily McMahon joins Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year

Congratulations to 2019 graduate, Emily McMahon, who is the first student from our Senior Contemporary Dance Program to be accepted into Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year. Raised in Adelaide, Emily commenced the College as a boarder, participating in both the ballet stream and contemporary dance stream. In her final year, she was nominated for HSC Dance Showcase, Callback, for her Core Performance. Emily spoke with us about her journey at the College.

I started at the College in 2017 as a boarder where I was enrolled in the Classical Ballet stream. In my second year, I moved to the dance stream, which definitely helped me with adopting and learning new styles of dance. From when I started at the College I always had an interest in contemporary dance, which is why I was very interested in the new program when it was announced. 

What was your overall experience of the Senior Contemporary Dance Program as one of the first participants?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Senior Contemporary Dance Program as I learnt so much in such a short period of time. Although I was only in the course for one year whilst I was finishing off Year 12, it broadened my understanding of dance and changed the way I perceived it. 

Senior Contemporary Dance Program Erik Sawaya 2991
Photo: Erik Sawaya

What were some of your highlights from the program, including guest teachers?

The highlight of the program was having access to such a wide range of highly skillful professional artists and choreographers. It was a privilege to work with them every day. 

How does the program challenge students and prepare them for a pre-professional pathway? 

The course is designed to challenge students in all different aspects of dance including repertoire, technique and improvisation. It is such a unique course with an amazing variety of teachers who support students on their journey to becoming a pre-professional dancer. 

What is your advice to prospective students who are interested in the program?

The advice I would give to prospective students who are interested in the contemporary course is to go in with an open mind and fully immerse yourself in every session, especially during your initial first weeks of the program. 

What are you looking to achieve from your experience in Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year?

Personally, I am looking to achieve a deeper understanding of contemporary dance and developing my ability within this style. Internally, I want to explore myself further and widen my scope of knowledge about movement and the body. 

What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given as a performer?

Be yourself and don’t let other people’s negative comments get you down and stop you from growing as a dancer. 


Find out more about our Senior Contemporary Dance Program and Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year