21 October 2022

Dance recital gives daughters and daddies something to twist (and shout) about

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Andrew and Poppy Bagajluk

Andrew and Poppy Bagajluk dressed up for the daddy-daughter dance. Photo: Andrew Bagajluk.

Little girls, pink tutus and uncoordinated dads in suits twirling around on a stage – introducing the Daddy Daughter Dance.

Four-and-a-half-year-old ballerina Poppy Bagajluk and her dad Andrew are one of 10 daddy-daughter duos in Canberra participating in Tiny Tutus ballet school’s nationwide annual dance recital.

Daddy Daughter Dance invites little ballerinas aged 16 months to eight years old to bring their dad, granddad, uncle, big brothers, cousin, friend, or guardian for several weeks of online and in-person interactive dance lessons, culminating in a special recital.

Participating for their second year in a row, Andrew said they love getting involved with the Daddy Daughter Dance as it’s a great way to bond with each other.

“It’s all about getting little girls who want to be ballerinas on stage to dance with their dad and have a bit of fun,” Andrew said.

“The best thing about it is that I get to hang out with my daughter.

“I get to play with her, I get to dance with her and I get to be a gentleman, so she knows what is like to actually have someone treat her properly.”

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The Daddy Daughter Dance launched in Newcastle nine years ago, and after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response, it launched nationally in 2014.

It was also featured on this year’s season of Australia’s Got Talent.

Daddy Daughter Dance national coordinator Kate Collier said the Daddy Daughter Dance was her favourite event of the year.

“It is my passion. I have the pleasure of teaching every Dad across Australia in a Zoom session to learn the basics steps before their first face-to-face class with their local teacher,” she said.

“I love seeing the finished product up on stage, how far they have come in mastering the steps together, and the excitement in both dad’s and the ballerina’s eyes while they are performing.

“Sharing the moments together and learning the simple routine to performing in recital with their little girl is a truly unique experience to be treasured. It’s not just about the performance; it’s also about all of the moments together leading up to the performance.”

Andrew became involved with the Daddy Daughter Dance in 2021 after his wife Lucinda suggested it would be a great chance for him to do something with his daughter Poppy.

“I jumped at the opportunity,” he said.

“I do lots of things with my son, especially with his sports, so this is something really special I get to do with Poppy.

“The little girls get to dress in their best tutus and become ballerinas and the dads or fatherly figures get all suited up to look somewhat handsome. We get to learn about finding our position on stage, learning all these ballet moves and most importantly for us dads, try not to make complete fools of ourselves.”

Preparation for the Daddy Daughter Dance recital consisted of more than a month of online tutorial videos to learn the steps and then in-person dance classes every two weeks.

“It was September when we kicked off, and the time has just gone so quickly now,” Andrew said.

“We would learn the routines step-by-step through a series of Zoom classes and then have a few face-to-face lessons with the instructor.

“Now, we’re ready to rock and roll and get on stage and we can’t wait.”

Poppy rehearsing with her dance class

Poppy dancing in Tiny Tutus ‘Ballet’ class for 4 to 5-year-olds at the Baptist Church in Kingston. Photo: Lucinda Bagajluk.

Poppy has been dancing with Tiny Tutus since she was two years old and told her dad she really enjoyed getting involved with the Daddy Daughter Dance.

“I love being a ballerina,” she said.

“Doing the arabesque is my favourite. I also like to spend time with mummy and daddy.”

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Andrew said Poppy spends time with her mum Lucinda on Fridays and then rehearses with her dad every week to two weeks for the Daddy Daughter Dance.

“I’m a terrible dancer, but it’s nice to get out there with my girl and have a bit of fun,” he said.

“I absolutely recommend other ballerinas to grab their dads and get involved.

“Guaranteed, you don’t need to know how to dance either, and you certainly won’t be the worst one on the dance floor, I will be.”

The Daddy Daughter Dance takes place this Sunday, 23 October, at 11: 30 am at Canberra College Performing Arts Centre. To register for next year’s program, visit Tiny Tutus.

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