NSW Public Schools State Dance Festival

Kindergarten to Year 12

The State Dance Festival is held at the Seymour Centre in Sydney and showcases choreographed dance work from public schools across NSW.

Each performance reveals the determination of students and teachers to explore the art of dance and to achieve performances of the highest quality. These performances are underpinned by technical training, stamina, creativity, confidence, cooperation and respect for one another fostered by their dedicated and talented teachers.

Performance of Boy Overboard at the 2019 State Dance Festival

2024 State Dance Festival

The State Dance Festival celebrates classroom dance achievements of students from Kindergarten to Year 12.  The Festival runs across 5 days (6 performances), with students participating from across NSW.


Monday 16 to Friday 20 September 2024 (Term 3 Week 9)

Performance times

Daily performances 7:00 pm (16 to 20 September)
Schools matinee 12:00 pm (Friday 20 September only)


Everest Theatre, Seymour Centre, Chippendale


General admission tickets are available from mid-August; please contact the Seymour Centre Box Office directly at 9061 5344 or refer to their booking information page.


Regional dance festivals

For details on regional dance festivals, please visit Local arts programs.

Nomination guidelines for school items

Considerations to create a successful item

  • Schools present choreography that caters to the age/stage of development of all students in the ensemble and reflects the dance composition syllabus material for the particular stage taught.
  • The choreography employs safe dance practice in the movement selected.
  • The work should demonstrate a creative response to dance as an art form
  • Exhibit strong creative development of an idea that has a clear intent expressed consistently throughout the item. Demonstration of an understanding of the choreographic principles, processes and structures.
  • The students demonstrate strong performance quality and commitment to the work.
  • The costumes visually support the intent and assist to clearly articulate the item while being appropriate for the age of the performer and meeting DoE requirements.
  • (If selected/necessary) Props are integral to enhancing the visual story of the item.

Item requirements

  • Ensembles should comprise between 6 and 30 students.
  • Items must be suitable for performance on a stage of 10m by 12m.
  • Item choreographers, preferably, should be teachers or students on staff at the school submitting the item.
  • Primary items must not exceed 5 minutes in length; secondary items must not exceed 7 minutes in length.
  • Ensembles should perform at the area/ regional dance festival (if available)
  • Music and lyrics must be relevant to the age and skill of the performers and be suitable for public performance in an education setting.
  • Copyright information regarding the source of music (CD/iTunes) must be provided for our records.
  • Schools should nominate their strongest item/s for representation at state level.

How to prepare your group (such as rehearsal techniques)

Schools nominating for the State Dance Festival should participate in their regional/local area Dance Festival. This experience provides vital performance skills and develops stagecraft in preparation for performing at a State level.

Regional/local area festival coordinators are responsible for the supply of performance footage for nominated items to be considered by the state selection panel.

Selection process for nominated items

The panel will assess items based on choreography, technical skill and performance quality, the overall cohesiveness of the piece in relation to style, regional representation, age group of performers and the relevance of the piece according to dance curriculum outcomes. The panel carefully considers all applications.  Due to the large number of applications, the panel's selection is final.

Variation to applications

Some schools may find that the State Dance Festival application requirements do not suit their circumstances.  Any variation to these requirements should be forwarded in writing before the closing date for applications with the support of the Principal.

Schools unable to be involved in their DoE Area Dance Festival may send a link of their item and an application form directly to Joanne King, Dance Performance Officer at The Arts Unit joanne.gilmour2@det.nsw.edu.au

State Dance Festival 2022 - Q&A with Rafael Bonachela

Rafael Bonachela, Artistic Director, Sydney Dance Company and Dance Program Ambassador for The Arts Unit, answers students' questions and provides insight into the world of dance.