Performers enjoy chance to shine on centre stage

IT was an extravaganza of elegant dance moves, appealing voices and show-stopping performances.

Penrith Regional Gallery hosted the Sizzle 2012 festival, a showcase of visual and performing arts followed by a joyous disco, last week.

Developed to allow people with a disability in western Sydney to stand before the microphone and share their skills, the event also formed part of the celebrations for International Day for People with Disability.

"It's an inclusive festival so there may be some people who don't identify as having a disability but it's driven by the people with special needs as the stars," gallery education manager Naomi McCarthy said.

"It's a wonderful thing the gallery can do, to elevate the creativity that's already happening in the special needs sector and give them that showcase moment."

Igniting the stage with energy was a solo saxophone routine from Nemoy Malcolm, a group performance of the song Moves Like Jagger by students from Nepean High School, dance and sign performances by students at Xavier College, a powerful solo performance by singer Hailey Nicol, an energetic tap dance routine by performers at Northcott and rousing performances by acts from Nepean Area Disabilities Organisations and the Blackheath Area Neighbourhood Centre.

Ms McCarthy said the chance to step into the spotlight during the festival, which is now in its fourth year, meant a lot to the performers.

"I think it means tons," she said.

"It's lovely to see the mix across the generations being very supportive and delighting in each others' performances.

"The performances are all that kind of nervous energy — stepping up, taking the stage and performing really well — but the disco is all on the floor celebrations and was really joyful."

Having received additional funding from the NSW Arts and Disability partnership this year, the festival also involves a series of creative workshops that the gallery will host in the coming weeks.

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