HISTORY will be made today when the Gympie and District Eisteddfod begins.

The first session for 2014 will start at 9am and dance students will take centre stage for the first time.

President Thelma Reisenleiter said it was an important progression that would revitalise the eisteddfod.

She said the new category had also boosted entries for the entire competition.

“Now we have actually covered all the art forms,” Mrs Reisenleiter said.

“We will cover a wide range of dance and the opportunity to have dance is wonderful. I’m really looking forward to it and I think to offer this platform will be an experience for the competitors and us.”

Former Gympie ballet dancer and Queensland Ballet soloist Tracey-Lee Heilbronn will adjudicate the dance session of which there will be three categories – jazz, classical ballet and tap dance.

Dance on Focus principal Leaha Hosking said the new opportunities would be beneficial for her students.

“I think it is a great thing for both the dance students in Gympie and for the eisteddfod,” she said.

“There are so many children and young adults learning dancing in the area. It gives them an opportunity to perform and to see what other students are learning and doing.

“Part of a dancer’s education is being exposed to as much dance as possible and this will be a great chance for them to watch and learn.”

The annual competition is a Gympie tradition, showcasing the enormous talent of the region’s youth.

Richard Morphew will adjudicate piano and instrumental, Daniel Calder will adjudicate vocal sessions and former Gympie performer Trena-Jane Reisenleiter-Rowlands will adjudicate speech and drama.

Mrs Reisenleiter said there would be many impressive performances but the piano and instrumental sections are expected to be a highlight.