The southern dance students to watch in 2024 and beyond

Meet Zara and Milly, two Westminster School of Dance students who illustrate what’s possible when ambition and talent are skillfully guided.

Welcome to the Westminster School Arts series, illuminating the achievements and aspirations of the creative and tenacious students flourishing within Westminster School’s enriching arts curriculum.

From Dance to Drama and then Music, we will share the stories of six young achievers chasing their dreams and setting an example of what can be achieved when passion, purpose, focus and hard work come together.

Let us turn our attention to Zara Papst and Milly Schwartz, two shooting stars amid the dazzling firmament of Westminster School’s Dance program.

Both faced significant obstacles while pursuing their dancing ambitions that could have dissuaded them if not for the insight, courage, and maturity propelling them to realise their potential. As you will read below, these attributes, blended with the dancing skills they are learning at Westminster School, will continue to serve them well:


For Westminster’s Dance Captain Zara Papst, dancing is more than a subject to her; it’s been a common theme throughout her early childhood and teen years.

“Dance is a creative art form, and it has always been such a positive way to express myself,” Zara said.

“As a child, I danced around the house all the time, no matter the time of day or night. I have Dyslexia, and I feel that dance has consistently been a positive outlet for sharing my creativity.

It has even improved my processing strategies and encouraged me to form strong connections with others.

Since joining Westminster, Zara said she has been supported and taught by some incredible teachers, who have allowed her talents to flourish.

“Dance challenges me to work out of my comfort zone, grow my confidence, become self-motivated and show resilience,” Zara said.

“I clearly remember the first time I auditioned for the Westminster Dance Collective in Year 8. I was super nervous and felt so little on the big stage. I was unsuccessful in obtaining a position that year because I was competing against stronger, older dancers.”

“However, because I was so motivated, I regrouped and stepped up the next year to face auditions again. This time I was selected to be part of the Dance group. It was an amazing feeling. Dancing with other students across a range of genres and year levels has also fostered my teamwork and communication skills.”

Zara is now the School’s Dance Captain. She feels the position has been a privilege and something she will cherish forever.

“I have grown and matured throughout my years participating in the dance program, and I am honoured to represent our dancers. I am using my time to support, encourage and promote dance in our school community as I would love others to continue participating in the positive program I have experienced.”


Growing up in the Mid North, Milly Schwartz was no stranger to a long commute for doing what she loved. While many would stray away from the hour-long commitment, it only grew Milly’s love and drive for dance.

“From an early age, around 3 or 4, I started to learn dance routines from my nanny via self-recorded videos of her dancing that were burnt onto CDs and played on my TV,” Milly said.

“I lived in the Mid-North, around two hours away from the Riverland, so I couldn’t attend her classes in person. Since then, I have only continued to involve myself in more classes and genres as she always encouraged me to follow where I thrive, which, in this case, is on stage.”

Since arriving at Westminster in year 10, Milly feels like she has the world at her feet. After years of searching for the right Dance school for her, she is now soaking up every aspect of her Dance program.

“Before starting at Westminster School in Year 10, I had only danced at small country dance schools, many shutting due to low numbers, forcing me to travel further and further to attend classes. Because of this, I had only experienced a small number of genres, but everywhere always offered jazz. I completed three years of ballet in my early primary schooling but stopped when I moved companies as they did not offer the genre. 

“After deciding to move away to boarding school, a big part of the decision was whether the school offered on-site dance after travelling long distances to attend classes. So, when we found out that Westminster School offered curricular and co-curricular dance, my sights were set on attending this School.”

Since 2022, Milly has completed Stage 1 and Stage 2 Dance and is currently studying the CUA30120 Certificate III in Dance as a curricular class, introducing her to skills for the dance industry. The CUA30120 Certificate III in Dance is delivered onsite at Westminster School under an agreement with Australian Teachers of Dancing Limited RTO 31624.

While the question of what she wants to do after high school still looms, Milly knows her roots in dance will always stay close to her.

“I have always turned to dance for happiness and haven’t really thought of taking it any further for a while now. However, a childhood dream of mine was always to follow in my Nanny’s footsteps and become a dance teacher,” she said.

“The idea of teaching dance in small country towns is especially appealing to me as I would love to help children discover their own love for dance and give them the confidence to pursue their dreams.”

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