Border closure heartbreak for Jerrabomberra dancers

Dominic Giannini 6 January 2021 41
The Rubies

The Rubies will not be able to attend their national dance championships in Adelaide because of border closures: Photo: Supplied.

Despite there being no travel restrictions on Canberrans entering South Australia, five young dancers just one kilometre over the ACT border have been blocked from attending their national dance championship in Adelaide next week.

The 12-year-olds all live in Jerrabomberra, and because South Australia closed its borders to anyone who had been to NSW in the previous 14 days, the Follow Your Dreams competition is now anything but.

One desperate dancer even tried to entice Premier Steven Marshall with chocolates and more followers on Instagram.

The young Rubies dance team would be allowed to quarantine in Canberra for 14 days and then enter South Australia; however, the competition would be over before their quarantine period finishes.

The dancers and their families remained in the local area and cancelled Christmas holiday plans in the hope of being able to attend the championship before the South Australian regulations changed on 1 January.

“We have all purposely stayed in the Jerrabomberra area and have asked people from hotspots not to visit. Our movements have been very limited,” said parent Reshenda O’Mara.

The heartbreaking news comes after the troupe spent half of 2020 training at the Bom Funk Studio over Zoom and still managing to qualify for the championship.

READ ALSO: Explainer: what the ACT’s new COVID-19 restrictions mean for you

“It was their first time qualifying and they were so excited to represent Canberra having qualified in the Canberra regional competition in September,” said Bom Funk Dance Studio director Kym Degenhart.

“The incentive of attending the national dance competition after such a challenging year gave the girls motivation and a goal to work towards.

“Now, this has been taken away from them due to a technicality.”

National dance championships

The Rubies will not be able to attend their national dance championships in Adelaide because of border closures: Photo: Supplied.

Ms Degenhart said there needed to be an agreement between the governments to include capital region towns like Queanbeyan in the ACT green zone, especially as the suburb even shares a postcode with some Canberra suburbs.

“Our region has had no positive cases for months,” she said.

“We take for granted the regional bubble and invisible border crossing we make regularly along with 25,000 people living in surrounding communities commuting into Canberra every day.”

The dancers are continuing to practice in case they are allowed to enter South Australia, and earlier this week received their uniform for the nationals.

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41 Responses to Border closure heartbreak for Jerrabomberra dancers
Fiona Jane Fiona Jane 8:57 am 08 Jan 21

So sad for the girls after working so hard. The Australian Irish Dance National Championships had to be cancelled in October last year as it was to be held in Perth, with border closures no-one could get there. There are several Irish Dance schools in Canberra, all with dancers attending and everyone had to cancel their trips at the last minute after training all year. I'm sure there were many other sports/dance events cancelled as well. The girls are not alone in their disappointment!

Meg Nehme Meg Nehme 11:56 am 07 Jan 21

The RiotACT you guys forgot to mention the amazing work of the girls who dance for bomfunk and are able to attend nationals. I know this is sad and devastating for the kids unable to attend and I could only imagine how heartbroken those girls are but they should be super proud and grateful for the girls who are able to attend nationals and represent you and bomfunk dance studio. Massive shoutout to the dancers that were handpicked from hundreds of entries to be workshop assistants, you girls worked so hard and this is such an achievement and big call out to all the soloist and dancers going, dance your beautiful hearts out girls and best of luck I know you will make Bomfunk and all their dancers super proud 🥳👏❤️ Sara Gray Letisha Newell

Alyson Azzopardi-Mason Alyson Azzopardi-Mason 10:23 am 07 Jan 21

Poor kids!!! Hopefully kylie from FYD can come up with an alternative for them to still be able to compete good luck girls X

Acton Acton 10:33 pm 06 Jan 21

A law is wrong when it has unintended consequences of punishing young girls and making a normal activity illegal.
The failure to apply laws and guidelines with flexibility, discretion and common sense is an abuse of power.
The failure to challenge abusive laws is cowardice.

Bev Lamb Bev Lamb 10:12 pm 06 Jan 21

Jordan Lamb Rebecca Gorman does this effect the girls?

    Rebecca Gorman Rebecca Gorman 7:54 am 07 Jan 21

    Bev Lamb the girls troupe decided not to register

Pari Gilmour Pari Gilmour 9:04 pm 06 Jan 21

Very sad. And the NSW govt is fine with a cricket team from off-shore!

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 7:44 pm 06 Jan 21

Why can they not submit a recorded entry in this case? In these circumstances, wouldn't it be sensible to have *all* the entries per recorded?

    Alyson Azzopardi-Mason Alyson Azzopardi-Mason 10:22 am 07 Jan 21

    Beth Mansfield because it wouldn’t be fair. The only way around it would be for the Comp to allow a live link stream for the team to compete virtually but in real time. Hope they get to dance 😞

Rick Jackson Rick Jackson 7:09 pm 06 Jan 21

Rajesh Walton - Meadowlark Lemon?

    Rajesh Walton Rajesh Walton 7:11 pm 06 Jan 21

    Rick Jackson YOU SOUND LIKE MY WIFE!

    Rick Jackson Rick Jackson 7:13 pm 06 Jan 21

    Rajesh Walton - you get to see the stars of tomorrow, today...

    You don’t have to wait the extra day...

Christine Gilbank Christine Gilbank 6:52 pm 06 Jan 21

Absolute madness.😡

Allan McDonald Allan McDonald 6:19 pm 06 Jan 21

Yes, it is definately unfortunate but they are not just "technically" in NSW they are also "practically" in NSW.

    John Forcier John Forcier 6:24 pm 06 Jan 21

    This covid stuff has just highlighted how pointless State governments are. We just need Federal and Local...

    Allan McDonald Allan McDonald 6:33 pm 06 Jan 21

    John Forcier I agree, 3 tiers of government is one too many. Federal and perhaps larger regional councils in some areas where current small shires could be amalgamated.

Jenny Purseglove Jenny Purseglove 6:08 pm 06 Jan 21

Why should they be excluded? They are nowhere near any hot spots. Poor kids.

Laura Rose Laura Rose 6:06 pm 06 Jan 21

So proud of you Rubies, you are all phenomenal! These girls have worked their butts off for months and had their opportunity literally shafted from them. A discussion about a CBR/QBN/Jerra bubble needs to be had so that we can start living in a new normal with the greater Canberra region

Helena Geyer Helena Geyer 5:53 pm 06 Jan 21

Jodhi Pretlove you know what we call that? Life.

Catherine Sanders Catherine Sanders 5:34 pm 06 Jan 21

So disappointed for these girls. They are an excellent dance troupe and worked hard all year! Hopefully they can still compete via video link or something similar.

Tracy Robinson Tracy Robinson 3:38 pm 06 Jan 21

Jerrabomberra is not technically in NSW.

    Adam Hingston Adam Hingston 4:26 pm 06 Jan 21

    Tracy Robinson it’s very much technically NSW. It’s literally a suburb of Queanbeyan.

    Tracy Robinson Tracy Robinson 4:26 pm 06 Jan 21

    Adam Hingston

    I meant that it is in NSW.

Jeremy Calero Jeremy Calero 2:52 pm 06 Jan 21

If it’s not to late I’m sure the Canberra community could house them for 2 weeks so they meet the minimum time required and fly over?

    Michelle Cody Michelle Cody 6:30 am 07 Jan 21

    The article says that the competition would be finished by the time they finished quarantine

Deb Champion Deb Champion 1:57 pm 06 Jan 21

They are in NSW and it’s a pandemic

    Bekah Glaz Bekah Glaz 2:01 pm 06 Jan 21

    Deb Champion in NSW, but an area so far removed from Sydney that there should be the same definition for ACT. I kinda wish ACT govt would just claim greater Canberra region for the ACT now...

    Trish Roberts Trish Roberts 2:16 pm 06 Jan 21

    ACT is a separate territory, apparently Jerrabombera is in Queanbeyan. However I thought Queanbeyan people were not blocked from ACT?

    Heather Tim Davis Heather Tim Davis 2:18 pm 06 Jan 21

    Trish Roberts they're not, but they'd be blocked from South Australia too.

    Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 5:52 pm 06 Jan 21

    Bekah Glaz as is much of the rest of NSW, and yet restrictions apply to them also.

    Chantell Hunt Chantell Hunt 9:07 pm 08 Jan 21

    Trish Roberts not blocked from ACT but as it is legally NSW we can’t cross other boarders that are closed to NSW in general, sad I know.

Peter Lennon Peter Lennon 1:46 pm 06 Jan 21


Jason Moore Jason Moore 1:22 pm 06 Jan 21

And this is a good illustration of why a nationally consistent hotspot definition and management protocol is required.

Joanne Mitchell Joanne Mitchell 1:18 pm 06 Jan 21

This is sad and so disappointing for them but the truth is - they do live in NSW .

    Louise Frodyma Louise Frodyma 9:14 pm 06 Jan 21

    NSW that is practically joined to the ACT, not NSW Greater Sydney or Hotspot NSW.

    Joanne Mitchell Joanne Mitchell 9:48 pm 06 Jan 21

    Louise Frodyma The ACT which is formed from a very pocket in amongst a large regional segment of NSW which is causing the issues 🙂 Unfortunately the border restrictions for SA include all of NSW and doesn’t differentiate. It’s a blanket ruling which is unfair but unless they apply for exemption , it’s SA’s call .

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