Gemmason Green, 11, from Blackbutt will dance onstage with the Queensland Ballet in The Nutcracker if she wins this year’s Suncorp Dream Big Challenge (Photo: QB)

July 22, 2021

Aspiring dancers across Queensland are performing arabesques and pirouettes in front of their favourite Queensland backdrop in the hope of winning the Suncorp Dream Big Challenge.

The competition is encouraging young dancers aged 5-13 to upload a photo showcasing their big move in front of a picturesque Queensland location to win a walk-on role in Queensland Ballet’s festive favourite, The Nutcracker, in December.

Submissions so far have spanned both metropolitan and regional Queensland, including Brisbane, Mackay, Ipswich, the Whitsundays and the Lockyer Valley.

Entrants have used glistening oceans, rich rainforests and vibrant outback landscapes as their backdrops.

Gemmason Green, 11, from Blackbutt, has been dancing for seven years, and says she loves getting lost in the beat of the music.

She captured her big move in front of a picturesque Queensland coastline, symbolising both her love of dance and the beach.

“I entered the competition because I love to dance and will dance anywhere and everywhere,” Gemmason said.

“Coming from the country I love it when we get to go to the beach, so if I can combine the two things I love the most, then that makes me happy.”

Gemmason has big dreams of becoming a dance teacher and said if she was named the lucky winner of the challenge, she would be honoured to join Queensland Ballet’s dancers on stage.

“I love to perform in front of an audience. It gives me such pride and joy to show people how amazing dance can be and how it brings joy to the dancers and the audience,” she said.

Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin AO said he was impressed by both the passion and originality showcased in the submissions received so far.

“It has been fantastic to see so many young dancers channelling their creativity and capturing their favourite ballet move in front of Queensland’s beautiful scenery,” Mr Li said.

“It really goes to show how dance can touch the hearts of young people, far and wide.

“I can’t wait to see the other beautiful big moves that are captured over the next few weeks.”

Now in its eighth year, the Suncorp Dream Big Challenge has fostered some of Queensland’s most promising rising stars, including 2019 winner, Mekonnen Knife.

After performing onstage in The Nutcracker, Mekonnen went on to host a children’s television show for Channel 10, worked as a prankster on Oz Kids Networks, and is continuing his role as a child entertainer with Drax4Kids at Dracula’s Cabaret Restaurant.

“Participating in the Suncorp Dream Big Challenge made me believe that I could dream big,” Mekonnen said.

“I loved being a part of something so professional with so many amazing, dedicated dancers.”

His advice to those who are considering entering the competition this year is to take the leap and get creative.

“Go out there, take those photos, answer the questions and go for it.

“It’s one thing to dream big, but it takes action to make those dreams come true!”

The Suncorp Dream Big Challenge closes on Sunday, August 15, and finalists will be announced on Tuesday, August 31.

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