Coffs dance students attend the Australian Ballet in Sydney

Harbour Performing Arts Centre student Hannah Wood attending Jewels at the Sydney Opera House.

HARBOUR Performing Arts Centre (HPAC) ballet students Violet Simpson and Hannah Woods attended the Australian Ballet at Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre in April and May this year.

The tickets were awarded to the ballerinas for their hard work and dedication to dance by HPAC Patron Mr Mark Hardy as part of its Cultural Scholarship Program.

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Violet attended the ballet Don Quixote presented by the Australian Ballet.

“Violet’s impression of the Opera House was a surreal experience,” her mother wrote.

“Violet was mesmerised by the grandeur of the building and the occasion.

“She loved the Opera House, the ballet and the Australian Orchestra that accompanied the ballet dancers.”

The first time they have been to see the Australian Ballet, they both described the production as very inspiring, and Violet’s mother said it was the experience of a lifetime for her daughter.

They are both hopeful that one day they can do it again.

Hannah Wood said her experience at the ballet Jewels was “an inspiring moment and an amazing opportunity”.
Hannah and her mother said the Opera House was “amazing”, describing the orchestra and the ballet dancers as “a wonder”.

“I found the ballet most motivational during the Diamonds act, when the dancers came on stage and performed a series of talented routines.

“I am so honoured that I was chosen to be awarded for this experience,” said Hannah.

“An experience I will never forget.”

Hannah’s mother said her daughter was just sparkling with delight and the experience remained with her right up to the time she fell asleep that night.

Ms Francesca Montanaro, the principal of the Harbour Performing Arts Centre, where both students take weekly classes, said she has seen an incredible improvement in the students’ technical and performance skills since their visit to watch the Australian Ballet.

She also said the experience had expanded the students’ understanding of where dancing could take them, elevating their enthusiasm for ballet and its challenges.

“It has been wonderful to see the students recount their experience to their peers with such elation,” Francesca told News Of The Area.

“This was such a wonderful experience for the young dancers, one that I would highly recommend for all dance students.”

The Patrons support the Harbour Performing Arts Centre by purchasing tickets to see the Australian Ballet perform at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House.

Once the ballets are chosen from the schedule for the current year, in consultation with HPAC Principal Francesca Montanaro, the Patrons then purchase the tickets.

The selection process by Ms Montanaro and other ballet teachers of HPAC then begins with discussions as to which students should be awarded the honour, based on their hard work and focus during their dance classes.

This year four students were awarded tickets.

Violet and Hannah are the first two to fulfil the honour.

The HPAC is still seeking more patrons.

“For a worthwhile cause you can be a part of the process and make a little boy’s or girl’s dream come true, by attending a world class ballet company, The Australian Ballet,” said Mr Hardy.

The Patrons have been purchasing tickets as a reward to students for three years and HPAC would love to see it continue well into the future.

If you wish to be a Patron, please email Francesca Montanaro at


Harbour Performing Arts Centre student Violet Simpson attending Don Quixote at Sydney Opera House.

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