Hundreds of students at the Wagga Academy of Ballet have not performed for a crowd in a year, but in a week's time they will finally take the stage for their major concert.
The students met at McDonald Park on the weekend for an unconventional outdoor dress rehearsal, one of many ways the long-standing concert will look different this year.
Academy principal Leanne Nicol said the show had this year been split into a juniors and a seniors performance as the academy manages the logistics of a smaller Civic Theatre capacity and a COVID safe backstage area.
"I like the family atmosphere so we can all be together, but this way we're mixing it up a bit so there is less people backstage," she said.
Ms Nicol said this concert was what the students worked toward all year, and for much of 2020 they did not think they would be able to perform.
"A lot of dancers around the world are not able to get on a stage this year, so we do feel very grateful that the theatre have made it possible for us," she said.
Among the students looking forward to taking the stage for the first time in a year is Heidi Gaynor, 12.
She said performing was an "amazing feeling."
"We haven't been able to do any performing in Wagga, out of Wagga, anywhere, but now we get to go onstage and dance in front of a big audience, it's an amazing opportunity," she said.
"At the start of the year we really didn't know what was going to happen, but thanks to Miss Leanne and the studio we're allowed to make this happen and experience the dance concert yet again."
Heidi said while the year had been tough, she had been enjoyed online Zoom classes through the earlier part of the year because it was a new experience.
"You get to learn all together, learn some combos and it's really fun," she said.