More than 60 Bendigo South East College students have enjoyed success at the Wakakirri Dance Challenge.
The students collaborated to create a dance piece that told a story for Wakakirri.
Using a theme that took on body image issues among teenagers, BSE finished in the top four schools in the state and will perform in the final at The Palais on September 11.
Other schools in BSE’s division 1 category are Braybrook College, Hoppers Crossing Secondary College and Traralgon College.
Year 10 student Taylah Chisholm choreographed the work, which won best mental health story, best teamwork and best minimal use of sets, props and costumes.
“We weren’t expecting as many awards as we got but I am just so proud of everyone,” Ms Chisholm said.
“We were so happy with it and getting awards after brought so much more positivity to it.
”I have done a little bit of choreography before but not a lot. It was a little bit hard because you always have doubts about if people like it and if teachers will approve of it. But when everyone is happy it gives you a confidence boost.”
BSE’s entry – Beauty Within – was about a group of models struggle to find their place in society.
When they come face to face with body image issues and wonder if they fit the perfect image, the models go through a series of phases where they learn to love themselves inside and out.
The idea for the dance performance came after the 65-person strong troupe had already begun preparing a different work.
“It was a bit wonky for a while, and we didn't know what to do with the piece until someone decided body image was a big issue in society and (something) kids our age are insecure about,” she said.
“We just wanted to get that story out there that not everyone is perfect and you don’t have be the same as everyone else. It definitely fell together easily as soon as we had the idea we wanted.”
Dance teacher Donna Lierse and drama teacher John Murray advised on the performance piece but it was the students who did the hard work.
“We wanted to break that body image stereotype a bit and were very happy to nail that mental health issue with our performance,’ she said.
“This was run as a subject with year 9 and 10 classes who had to work together in the last final weeks to put it all together.
“It’s been a great privilege to get where we are against some very elite schools.”
Bendigo South East College is also nominated for best lead cast, best ensemble, best group dance, best solo singing and best solo dance in the production and performance categories. Those winners will be announced on August 27.