Rosie Surace: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Giving all dancers a chance to shine and grow
Shalvey Community Centre
Amazing. Dedicated. Beautiful
University student Rosie Surace believes everyone deserves to dance, no matter how much money they have.
That’s why she volunteers her time to run Shalvey Community Dance for children from disadvantaged and migrant families around Mt Druitt.
“Our goal is to run a safe haven for the community and give struggling parents the chance to allow their child to be a part of something amazing,” says Rosie, who is in her final year of an education degree.
“It is about offering families a place to bring their children, a place to seek advice and most importantly a place where support and guidance is given.”
Rosie feels honoured and humbled to have been voted a Westfield Local Hero by her local community, whose support she relies upon to run the centre.
But her greatest joy comes from knowing her vision is putting smiles on the faces of the dancers, who are aged two to eighteen and include those with disabilities.
“Our centre is a rarity in places like Shalvey,” she says.
She took over the studio in 2016 when it had twenty-four students. Since then, the number of students has increased six-fold.
Rosie organises festivals and an exciting end-of-year concert at which the young dancers can show off their new moves to their families and friends.
“It’s held in a professional theatre, so our students get to experience what it’s like to perform on stage with proper lighting, sound and costumes,” Rosie says.
She takes the time to get to know all the students and works with each one to build confidence and resilience, which is just as important as the dancing, keeping fit and being part of a team.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.
Shalvey Community Centre will put the grant towards new safety gear, mirrors and a better sound system. It will also fund dance shoes, costumes and a great venue for the end-of-year concert.
“This grant couldn’t have come at a better time,” Rosie says.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.