Deon Nuku on the upcoming Victorian State School Spectacular

The Victorian State School Spectacular is an annual celebration of government school students from Prep to Year 12.

Since 1995, the Victorian State Schools Spectacular has allowed students to work alongside industry professionals in all areas of performing arts, on and off stage, to develop and showcase their skills, knowledge, and talents.

Deon Nuku

This year’s theme is Made Of Stars, and will feature out-of-this-world performances by 3000 students from over 200 schools across Victoria. These students will be presenting an amazing revue of singing, dancing, and even some BMX stunts for two shows only, on Saturday 14th September. They have rehearsed tirelessly for weeks to prepare for the three-hour Spectacular, but they wouldn’t have been able to do it alone – Deon Nuku is the show’s Dance Director, overseeing the choreographic work across the show. His role assists in developing the show’s concept, co-ordinating costumes and music for each routine, organising the setlist, and most importantly, working with the kids on the dance routines.

A dancer, actor, and choreographer, Deon has performed alongside artists such as Kylie Minogue, Ricki Lee, and Macy Gray. Past theatrical credits include West Side Story, Footloose, Fame, and Saturday Night Fever. Deon was also a featured dancer in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge. We had a chat about his involvement in VSSS and what audiences can expect from Made Of Stars this year.

Could you tell me a bit about your history with dance?

I have been involved with dance and choreography since around the age of 16, when I was in a Breakdance Crew. It later represented Australia in one of the most prestigious comps called ‘Battle of The Year’ held in Germany. I also had a dance troupe which had regular work, then went on to a full time course for 3 years which lead to musicals, TV, movies, and travelling the world. Choreography was something I’d always done from day one.

How have you found choreographing/dance directing so many students?

Choreographing for this many students is very challenging as there are many different levels of dance experience. We go from Mass Dance where kids have never been involved with learning choreography before through to our Principal Dancers that are completely ready for the industry, so the choreography goes from being at quite a basic level to an advanced level and everything in between. It’s challenging but it continues to push me out if my comfort zone and forces me to think outside the box when creating steps, which I love.

What can audiences expect from this years VSSS?

They can expect to be wowed by the sheer talent that these kids have to offer. This show has everything from Rock to ballads, Hip Hop to Pop and musicals to movies. You will be transported to another galaxy.

Why do you think Victorians love the VSSS so much?

Because it’s so inclusive of students near or far. Kids from all over Victoria have come together to express themselves through the Arts for a one of a kind experience and in doing so become involved in a show that showcases Performing Arts at its absolute best.

What is one piece of advice you’d give any kids who are hoping to make it in the performing arts industry?

The advice I would give is obviously to work hard but also to stay in your lane, keep focused on your goal/goals and not to be sidetracked by anything that doesn’t serve your purpose to learning your craft as it’s your own personal journey.

The Victorian State School Spectacular will be performed for two shows on September 14th – 1pm and 6:30pm. For tickets, please visit Ticketek.

The show will also be filmed and broadcast on Channel 7 at a later date.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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