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Issue # 14 - Nov/Dec 2013

Dance Audition Etiquette Memoirs of a dance teacher

Ten characteristics of dancers Six reasons why ballet dancers make excellent employees The Foot: A dancers best friend Bethany Cockburn: Dance Portfolios

Debra Byrne


Dancehub Magazine has been activate for over 3 years now. During the christmas break we will be working on a bigger and better website that has a few new and amazing features that will help the dance community even more. The team at Dancehub Magazine would like to extend a huge thank you to our dedicated article writers and photographers who give up their valuable personal time to provide educational dance content for our magazine. We ask that you support the contributors who generously give back to the dance community. They provide this valuable content free of charge. We would also like to thank our advertising partners who assist us to make the production of our magazine possible. Your support and backing allows us to grow and spread our dance content to the wider dance community. May we also take this time to wish our writers, photographers and loyal readers a very Merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Our January/February magazine will be launched Jan 1st 2014.


contents Feature Articles

10 Characteristics of a dancer 6 reasons why ballet dancers make awesome employees

Shopping

Superb Xmas dance deals.

USA Hot Topic

Ballet dancers explain their signature leotards, leg warmers and other style secrets.

Syllabus Update

Karen Malek lifts the lid on the ATOD.

Marketing Help

Why Google+ is the next big thing for your studio.

Genre Advice

Our choreographers cover topics that will help your career.

Dance Teacher

Memoirs of a dance teacher - Jan Conroy.

Industry Leaders

Debbie Byrne was Born to Perform. She reveals her insights into Musical Theatre.

Healthy Dancers Stress Fractures, Foot Health and Lash Application.

Everyday Dancer

We focus on Aussie dancers overcoming adversity and hear about their dreams.

Show Off

Show off your dance moves in our photo gallery.

Competition

Win tickets to see Grease in Melbourne.

Career Advice

Is te stage at sea for you?

Dance Expo

The Australian Dance Expo launches to Sydney.

Surviving Dance

Opulent Souls give sound advice to help nervous dancers on stage.

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Collide - Photo by: Belinda http://www.dancephotography.net.au

10 Characteristics of Dancers BY SHEENA JEFFERS


Agnes de Mille once said, “Ballet technique is arbitrary and very difficult. It never becomes easy-it becomes possible. The effort involved in making a dancer’s body is so long and relentless, in many instances painful, the effort to maintain the technique so grueling that unless a certain satisfaction is derived from the disciplining and the punishing, the pace could not be maintained.” Notice the words difficult, effort, long, relentless, painful, grueling, discipline and punishing. The bottom line: Dance is hard. To dedicate your life to dance means developing certain personality traits that will enable you to maintain focus and stay committed to your dream.

10 Characteristics of Dancers

Passionate

In the musical “A Chorus Line” the performers say, “All I ever needed was the music and the mirror.” It takes passion to see your dream and to continue coming back to it over and over again, when the rest of the world tells you “no, thank you.” It takes passion to dedicate hours to training and rehearsing. These are hours away from your family, friends and community. It takes passion to remember why you do this during times of exhaustion, fatigue and frustration. Perhaps above all, dancers are passionate about what they do.

Photo by: Belinda http://www.dancephotography.net.au

A characteristic is: A feature or quality belonging typically to a person, place, or thing and serving to identify it. So what characteristics identify a dancer?


Confident

The dance world is always requiring you to stand alone. Choreographers, companies and teachers want to see your individual work. In auditions, they want to see your individual style, personality and talent. It takes confidence to believe in yourself and your ability. This isn’t always easy, especially during times when auditions simply aren’t going your way. It takes confidence to remind yourself that you can keep going, and for every 500 rejections you get, there will be one “yes, you’ve got the job!” Confidence is what pushes you to the next level in training and performing, and it tells you that deep down, you know you can do it.

Meticulous

Dancers pay close attention to details. For example, where are you placing your weight? (In the heels or in the balls of your feet?) Are you closing to fifth position? (Completely?) Where is your head, your shoulders, your eye focus? These are all questions that cross dancers’ minds during class

and while performing. A dancer’s brain never rests while dancing. You are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating. This is what makes you better. Being meticulous is what leads to better, stronger dancing. It also comes into play when remembering details about companies, people or characters for auditions. Being meticulous is what helps dancers strive for perfection.

to be part of such an elite group.

Stubborn

This may seem like an odd characteristic to develop, but dance training and the dance life requires a slight stubbornness from those who wish to do it well. For example, sometimes you have to choose to believe in your dream even when others tell you not to. In class, you have to be stubborn about holding Humble a pique arabesque high in the air, even Dancers are constantly being humbled when your body’s weight wants to by their bodies, their peers and their give in to gravity’s pull. It takes a little teachers. If nothing else, dancers are stubbornness to return to auditions, humbled by the difficulty of the art. Ted even when you’ve been told “no” Shawn once said, “Dance is the only thousands of times. This stubbornness art in which we ourselves are the stuff - when used for good - can foster within of which it is made.” That means, each yourself what is called “grit.” Grit is day requires dancers to assess their defined as: A positive, non-cognitive bodies, their minds and their emotional trait, based on an individual’s passion and mental status. Some days are good for a particular long-term goal. Christa and some days are bad. Staying humble Justus, a lifetime performer, once said, is important for dancers because it helps “If you want to dance seriously, do. remind everyone that they can always do You must think about it day and night, better. Not everyone has the opportunity dream about it--desire it.” Use your or facility to do such things, and dancers stubbornness wisely, and it will help you should always remember it is an honor to succeed .


Optimistic

Merce Cunningham, American dancer and choreographer, said, “The most essential thing in dance discipline is devotion, the steadfast and willing devotion to the labor that makes the classwork not a gymnastic hour and a half, or at the lowest level, a daily drudgery, but a devotion that allows the classroom discipline to become moments of dancing too.” Dance is always looking forward. Dance honors progress, growth and the hope for something better and more. Dancers attend classes each week in hopes that after each class they are a little better, a little stronger. Dancers believe each step is moving them closer to something grand. Just as ballet classes start small and move to large movements, so does the dancer’s mind. Dancers hold within them an optimism so strong that they are willing to sacrifice their time, energy and bodies to their craft.

Fearless

Photo by: Belinda http://www.dancephotography.net.au

Being in the dance world comes with a lot of fears. Questions such as, “What if I’m not good enough?” and “Why can’t I do that?” haunt dancers almost daily. There is the fear of not having money, fear of injuries, fear of not being liked. Fear is always waiting to consume the mind and body. Dancers learn to overcome this fear. They learn to use fear as fuel to be better, work harder and stay focused. Dancers allow fear to drive them forward as they go leaping into the unknown.

Dedicated

Nothing can come between a dancer and their focus. When a dancer sets a goal, their mind is made up. Dancers know what it is like to sacrifice for their art, and they do - without hesitation. They will rehearse during odd hours simply because that is the only free studio space available. They will work everything around a performance, a rehearsal or a class. Dancers know what it is to give their all, and they do it every day. They “walk the walk” and they do it with tireless dedication.


Independent

Conscientious

Conscientious (adjective): Wishing to do what is right, especially to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly. Dancers wake up each morning with this initial desire. You hope for a good class, for a strong body, and for improvement. You hope to impress the teacher and to impress yourself. The desire to do well at dance is what runs through dancers’ veins and helps start the fire of all of the other qualities. It is what drives dancers to defy gravity, to work themselves to and past exhaustion, and then say, “I’ll try it again” without having to make the teacher ask. These ten qualities are what make dancers who they are; a fascinating group of individuals ready, willing and prepared for anything. Dancers care deeply, and they are willing to alter their bodies, minds, attitudes and schedules all because they love to dance.

Photo by: Belinda http://www.dancephotography.net.au

Dance can be isolating at times. You, alone, have to train your body. You will have help from your teachers, but only you can take feedback and put it back into your dancing. You, alone, have to audition. You, alone, have to figure out how to keep going during times when you feel weak or find yourself questioning your talent. Through trying experiences, dancers become fiercely independent. They run their schedules, their life, while handling bills, scheduling classes, traveling, and sometimes working multiple jobs. Dancers learn how to make everything work: dance, work, life, friends, family. And they do it on their own.


6 Reasons Why Ballet Dancers Make Awesome Employees Author: Sarah Jukes

Job seekers need to be able to articulate what makes them more superior to hire compared to everyone else in the job-seeking crowd. My interest and training in classical ballet is pretty unique. Technically I am a non-professional but on stage I can match it with the best amateur dancers New York City has to offer.

1. Ballet dancers are teachable They have to be. Otherwise they won’t be able to learn and master their craft. Ballet dancers are reliant on their teachers to school them on correct technique, alignment, etiquette, musicality and everything else that goes with ballet in general.

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Photo by: Belinda http://www.dancephotography.net.au Dancer: Georgia Swan

I know that out of a pool of similar job candidates, my classical ballet training could help me to stand out from the rest of the pack. This lead me to think about what unique attributes and transferable skills my training in classical ballet could offer to a prospective employer. I came up with a list. A list of six attributes that make ballet dancers awesome employees and an asset to any workplace:


Being teachable requires ballet dancers to listen hard, to hone their focus, to recognise the flaws in what they’re doing and to adjust their movement to the best of their ability. As such, ballet dancers are used to taking instruction from someone of superior skill and better at their craft than what they are. Even the very best professional ballet dancers still get corrections from their teachers.

2. Ballet dancers are flexible An obvious choice. But ballet dancers need to be flexible in mind and not just body. That’s because there’s an awful lot of rules and structure that goes on in ballet. It’s part of what makes it look so beautiful when it’s executed properly. But within these rules, large chunks of flexibility is required as well. Ballet dancers are used to dealing with constant change. Ballet teachers and choreographers are constantly revising their choreography and dancers need to be flexible enough to cope with these changes. Ballet dancers live with having their superiors constantly making changes and then having to adjust accordingly.

Photo by: Belinda http://www.dancephotography.net.au Image: Eifman Ballet


3. Ballet dancers are fast learners Part of the skill of being a proficient ballet dancer centres around how quickly you are able to pick up the steps, techniques and other choreography. As such, ballet dancers are used to being given verbal and visual instructions and quickly translating them into action. An ability to learn quickly demands an excellent memory, superior listening skills, exceptional concentration and a strong mind-body connection.

4. Ballet dancers are always prepared Ballet dancers of all people understand the importance of good preparation. They know that how you set up a pirouette is vital for its final execution. The most complex dance sequences like pirouettes, jumps and other turns simply cannot be executed without the right preparation. Also, ballet dancers know that all the work and preparation is done behind the scenes. By spending large chunks of class time doing repetitive and routine exercises at the barre. Preparation is key for what the audience sees and enjoys at the centre of the stage.


5. Ballet dancers work hard It doesn’t matter whether one dances as a hobby or as a professional, the reality is the same for everyone. Ballet is exacting, demanding and hard.

In summary, people with classical ballet training are teachable, flexible, fast learners, prepared, hard-working and team players.

As such, ballet dancers turn up to class, rehearsals or performances ready and willing to buckle down. They are energetic in mind and body and they expect to work hard.

The point I am trying to make here is that these attributes are vital for success in dance but they are also vital for success in the modern workplace.

This makes ballet dancers incredibly dedicated to their craft. They are full of passion and love of the art form. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

If you find yourself in a situation where you could hire someone with classical ballet training, you should consider whether these kinds of attributes would make for an awesome employee at your workplace. I am willing to bet that they would.

6. Ballet dancers are team players This sounds silly when ballet looks so much like a solo event. But it’s not. Dance is a collective. Dancers feed off the energy of those around them. They are used to working in small groups and are reliant on their peers for support, feedback and advice. Ballet dancers look to other dancers for a sense of community and fun. Some of my most creative and interesting friends are fellow amateur dancers.

Better yet, find out if the candidate knows what unique attributes their ballet training can offer you as a potential employer. Chances are if they know, they’ll follow through and give you these attributes in spades.


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Since the 1930s, George Balanchine’s dancers have occupied the Upper West Side, gracing the streets with their heads up high, shoulders back and feet elegantly turned out. Those who studied under the prolific New York City Ballet choreographer had a very particular look, too: They tended to be fair-skinned and feminine with an innocent, doll-like quality. But it’s been 30 years since Balachine’s death, and the New York City Ballet has certainly changed since its beloved co-founder passed. Nowadays, the NYCB dancers are more concerned with blending in with the city’s trendy, contemporary style, as we learned on a visit to Lincoln Center to speak with the dancers themselves.

Ballet Dancers Explain Those Signature Leotards, Leg Warmers And Other Style Secrets

“I definitely don’t feel like I dress like a ballet dancer,” says Tiler Peck, a principal dancer at NYCB who is performing in the current production of “All Balanchine Black & White.” Peck hails from sunny California but has embraced dark colors, leather jackets and boots as her city uniform. As much as she loves “people clothes,” however, Peck spends the majority of her time wearing a leotard and tights, like the rest of the company’s dancers. Take one peek into the rehearsal room, and it’s clear that not one leotard style fits all, though. Peck wears a bright purple number with black tights and striped, thigh-high leg warmers, which she’ll take on and off throughout the day as it gets pretty cold in the studio and pants are too cumbersome. Gretchen Smith, a corps de ballet dancer, shows up in a geometric printed blue leotard.

TILER PECK


“I’m very scissor-happy when it comes to what I wear at work,” Smith, an Indiana transplant, says. “A lot of people are just like, ‘You cut that again?’ I just don’t like to feel inhibited.” It’s not uncommon for the dancers to take matters into their own hands when it comes to rehearsal style. “A lot of times I think of something I want to wear, and I don’t have it or it doesn’t exist,” says principal dancer Janie Taylor. “So I’m like, ‘Well, I’ll just make it.’” Fortunately, Taylor knows her way around a sewing machine, turning up in a solid turquoise leotard with ruched shoulders, one of her original creations. Trends amongst NYCB dancers vary, with some opting to wear “trunks” (briefs worn under leotards during performances) and a t-shirt while others grab a pair of scissors to cut a bra-top out of a pair of tights (see photo in slideshow below). Then, of course, most of the ladies in rehearsal wear their footless tights over their leotards with the ends rolled up above their ankles because it “feels more casual,” says Peck. These nuances are just some of the ways ballet dancers can express their style in a week packed with up to 7 performances and 6-hour a day rehearsals. Often times, the outfits they wear to and from work only see the light of day during their brief commutes to Lincoln Center. So where does that leave their personal style?

Ballet Dancers Explain Those Signature Leotards, Leg Warmers And Other Style Secrets “When you know you’re going to walk for five minutes and then take everything off again, it just kind of puts a damper on it,” Taylor admits. It may be easy to feel discouraged, but Taylor goes for bright pops of color, bold accessories and layers when she’s off duty -- hardly the look of a woman who’s been defeated in the fashion department. In fact, it seems like the dancers’ rigid style schedule has only served as motivation to amp it up when they’re not performing or in rehearsal. “I find a difference now in how I dress when I’m not working,” Smith says. “I put a little bit more time and effort.” Though she prefers flats, Smith has her go-to heels for when December rolls around and her calves are “blown out” from performing Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker” for weeks on end: J. Crew’s wedges. “The plastic from the wedge absorbs your shock when you’re walking,” she says. “It gives your calves a break. And it’s cute.” These ladies may not fit the mold of your archetypal, prissy ballerina, but they’re sure unique and they definitely have style. Something tells us Balanchine would be proud.


Australian Teachers of Dancing - ATOD more than a not for profit organization, it’s a family

Hi everyone. My name is Karen Malek and I am the National and International President of the Australian Teachers of Dancing. I have served on the board of ATOD for an extensive number of years and have been in my current role for what is now my seventh year. I was thrilled when Dancehub Magazine asked me to write a regular article for its magazine and hope this is the first of many more to come. I would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself. I am a country girl born and bred and moved from country Victoria to Melbourne to live almost 20 years ago. I have danced since I was a little girl first with Enid Zdanowicz and then with Joy Davey. I never aspired to be a professional dancer. I always wanted to teach. This came to pass and I eventually took over my teacher’s school with a dear friend when she retired. I have now taught for over 40 years and am as passionate about the dance industry as ever. In fact I am more passionate than ever about education and ongoing learning. I couldn’t get enough information when I lived in the country and often travelled to Melbourne to attend various courses. When I moved to Melbourne I joined the teachers’ course part-time at Box Hill TAFE and then The Australian Ballet School Teachers’ Course in 1997. I am a founding member of ATOD which was established in 1991 and served on the initial board of directors.

Karen Malek - ATOD President


On behalf of ATOD I am very excited to bring you information on our various programs and training systems and will start with a brief history of ATOD …. ATOD was founded by many teachers who had been under the umbrella of an organization with both a ballroom branch and a theatrical branch. The theatrical branch members moved across in large numbers to found ATOD with the blessing of the surviving founder of the original organization Miss Dorothy Cowie who was our first Patron. ATOD celebrated its 21st birthday in 2012 and continues to thrive and grow in large numbers. This is in no short measure to the number of training systems in various genre that have been created by ATOD to ensure our members’ needs are met and their businesses continue to blossom. We are currently preparing for our regular Teachers’ Training days in mid to late January that occur throughout Australia and we are excited to announce the launch of our new and inspiring early childhood development program.

For further information on Teacher Training days or our Imagine Program please email secretary@atod.net.au I can also be contacted directly on president@atod.net.au


Why Google + is the next big thing for your studio There are so many different social media platforms available now that businesses may struggle to find their way around the social world. It’s clear that Facebook and Twitter have become household names across the world, favoured by thirteen year old girls as much as by breaking news companies as effective means of keeping in touch, but what about the other platforms? Where do they fit into this ever changing world of social networks?

The beginnings

Facebook is widely credited as being the first social network to trail blaze the way for socialising on the internet after it was launched as a network for university students to use. However, once it received global recognition, the doors were opened for almost anyone to join. Hot on Facebook’s heels was Twitter, giving people a platform to post their thoughts in just 140 characters. This then followed with an explosion of social media platforms, some of which gained considerably more popularity than others. Google+ launched in 2011 and has progressed to become one of the main networks in use today, thought to have over 500 million members. Interestingly, although the network itself is the second largest social media platform in the world, there are still an alarming number of people who don’t have it or don’t know how to use it.

Different categories

It would appear that although Google+ can boast huge numbers of members, research has shown that they aren’t spending much time on the site. Compared to Facebook, it’s a minimal amount so how far reaching is the impact of Google+? It’s all well and good having masses of members, but it means nothing if they are hardly using the network. The important thing to remember here is that Google+ is not the same as Facebook or Twitter. It is a different type of platform, with a different target audience.


There’s a fine line between social media for socialising and social media for business, with different platforms falling into two categories. LinkedIn is a great example of a professional network that can still be considered sociable. You can meet people, interact, share content and create a network of your own.

Fitting in

However, you don’t see pictures of people’s baby bumps or weddings, their holidays or albums full of ‘selfies’ appearing on the LinkedIn news feed. You are likely to see highly shareable content, blogs, articles and job vacancies, as well as indepth discussions with industry leaders across various different sectors. The fact is, LinkedIn isn’t trying to compete with Facebook, and perhaps Google+ isn’t either. You’ll often find that the connections people make on Google+ tend to match quite closely with those that they have on LinkedIn; a social network for professional use.

The business perspective

If you are running a business and trying to crack the social networks, it’s essential that you understand the differences between the different platforms and what sort of content you should be sharing on each. Facebook is great for running competitions and joking around with your customers; it’s about building a cult following. Twitter gives you the opportunity to get personal with your customers and talk directly to them, allowing them to buy into the brand. However, Google+ is a different ballpark altogether. You are thinking from a professional perspective in that you will be connecting with other businesses, perhaps even the competition, as much as you will be with customers. It’s likely that you will be engaging with people outside of your usual social circles and that’s the key thing to remember. The fact that Google+ is still gathering a following is a testament to the potential influence it could have in the future. While Facebook may be light years ahead in terms of active users, it has also spent eight years cultivating that following. In comparison, Google+ is catching up rapidly and has only been going for a quarter of the time.


Superstars of dance, Teagan Lowe, Elise-May, Winston Morrison and Paul Malek offer their genre tips to help you become a better dancer.


Grooming is essential in Classical Ballet and goes all the way down your pants and involves your privates. PAUL MALEK

Inspirational

In 1987, in the small country town of Morwell, Gippsland, Victoria. A then 5 year old boy donned a support, white tights and plush ballet top for the first time and made his soloist debut. Being the son of a dance teacher, there was only one thing I was going to do at 5, although my dad was a football umpire, I never was the keenest on contact sport. More of an imaginative creative type. So dance was perfect way to explore my creativity and passion.


Grooming (continued) ... Living in a small country town however, being a boy, in the 80’s, and being a classical ballet dancer, wasn’t quite the norm. There were maybe 3 male dancers I remember growing up with in my younger years in the area, two from my mothers school (both were sons of the joint principal) and one from another school, also the son of the principal. Fancy that. There were a couple of boys who came and went but we were the steadfast boys at competitions, and boy did we cause a raucous. Ah, fun times. So there weren’t many boys around dancing then, and if we are only just getting through certain stereotypes regarding male dancers, you could imagine what it was like almost over two decades ago. I was extremely blessed to have a very supportive upbringing, and my mother taught me so very much in my younger years about acceptance, on all levels, even to those who were overly nasty towards me. Something I always remember so vividly as much as I was upset, my mother and her words for forgiveness and understanding to those who clearly were the ones needing a good kick in the head. Anyways, slightly off track. So back to my life as a 5 year old male ballet dancer and the introduction of the male support/jockstrap.

PAUL MALEK

Inspirational

PAUL MALEK The beginning One of the earliest memories of my mother’s teachings is making sure my wing wang is in the middle. For those who are unclear of the positioning thy of wang in ones male support or jockstrap (as they are more commonly known). It is facing up and in the middle. No need to worry too much of the grapes at that age, but the positioning of the noodle is of extreme importance. Grooming is essential in Classical Ballet and goes all the way down your pants and involves your privates. I sit in horror at dance concerts or competitions as I watch young men not wearing the appropriate attire downstairs, their tights sagging around there knees like they have got sand in their jocks or unfortunately just dropped one on stage. Bright underwear, white tights, and the junk just all over the place. It


Grooming (continued) ... is so very important, as much as we still live in a heavily female dominated recreational industry, that education and care be paramount when dealing with the male appendage. Especially if we want more boys to be donning thy tights and gaining the training needed to excel into a career in dance. There have been many an instant in the past five years where young men have come into full time training, and for whatever reason, don’t own a support, don’t know how to wear a support, and have no idea where their bits go. One young man even came into me and was like, “I don’t think this is going to well”, and I was like “okay, what seems to be the issue”, he was like “well because the small bit is way too small for my package, and it just flops out.” He was putting it on backwards, meaning the strap that goes up the back was trying to be positioned to hold the front. As you can gather, unless there is a male teacher, and I am unsure if many dads would be familiar with a dance

support, the young men are being left to just figure it all out. It, as it is with most things in life is about education. It sounds so simple, but clearly, as discussed recently with a fellow male teacher, is more common an issue than we had expected. My mother after one of my first performances was told by the male adjudicator via penciller message “that you must wear a support from however young you are”. Fine she said and off to the shops she popped to find a support. Hmmmm no, the closest size for a 5 year old she could get was a mens small. Problem solving time, so the mens small was altered to fit me, and made so it grew with me as I got older and lasted a very long time. Well until I became a mens small anyway. Now that’s called being on a budget. and just for interest sake, I definitely don’t still have it now. It cost my mother $32 at Martins and was Capezio from the USA - now that was a lot of money back then but we clearly got our money’s worth. Now

comes the hilarious part of when we first put it on. My mother and company were like, “okay so where does ‘IT’ go. Down?” “No he will look neutered.” “Up?” “well i guess that’s the only way to go!!” Well one thing was for sure ‘it’ needed to be ‘in the middle’! And from that day forth, a male dancer was born, supported heavily from all angles. Hopefully this little story has been informative, and has inspired more female teachers to take pride in not only how a young man dances, but how he looks upstairs and down when he performs onstage. Here is a lovely clip from my first classical solo to round off my addition to this wonderful edition of Dance Hub. Happy Dancing. :)

PLAY VIDEO

PAUL MALEK

Inspirational


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DANCE AUDITION

Let’s face it for all us dancers, full time professional, freelance, student looking to enter a full-time school, dance company or even an amateur looking to step into the professional dance world, an audition is our version of a job interview. Therefore we need the knowledge to know how to conduct ourselves in all audition environments & apply these helpful hints to ensure we give ourselves the best chance at a successful outcome. I think the first step, and one that is often quite easily forgotten by dancers, as we are usually too busy focusing on the physical side of auditioning, is to do your research! Make it your first point to find out as much as you can about the school, course or company that you are auditioning for. What style do they practice, look for, or best summarises their organisation? Are they overall more interested in “performance” or “technique” or a combination of

by teagan lowe


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DANCE AUDITION

both? What do they like to see in dancers? What are the current students / company members like to watch as artists & professionals? Who are the artistic staff that run the school / course / company? Are there any questions you would like to ask the faculty if given the opportunity? Knowing these types of things are helpful to have in mind when you audition, even if they aren’t brought into the picture on the day of your audition, it is always better to be over prepared than under. Find out what you need to

wear if you are auditioning for a school or course, you can usually find out what attire is required on the school’s website or brochure. If it is a company audition you will generally be able to wear whatever you like as long as they can see your body. Most auditions require girls to wear black leotards and pink tights, and boys to wear white shirts and black tights. If the colour of the leotard is not specified, wear a bright and unique colour, it will help you to stand out in class. It is still a good idea to bring along

a black leotard though, just in case. Choose a leotard with a simple, flattering style, and don’t wear patterned or multicoloured outfits. If you must wear black, choose coloured earrings or a pretty headband / small hairpiece to wear so you will be remembered more easily (without going too overboard, again this could detract from you if you’re not careful). Small earrings and rings are all right, but remove all of your other jewelry. Don’t wear dangly jewelry or anything that gets in the way. Never, ever wear

legwarmers, black tights, or any other “junk” to an audition, it will give off an attitude of carelessness. Having a professional look is very important in an audition; it shows that you are serious about what you do. Make sure your hair and clothes are clean and neat. Your hair doesn’t have to be completely slicked back, but make sure that it is still neat without loose strands. Make sure your flats and pointe shoes are in good condition, with no drawstrings or threads hanging out, and


your tights are free from holes. If you like to wear make up, it’s usually nice to have a small amount on, but definitely do not wear anything close to ‘stage’ make-up; avoid anything too dark or heavy. Find out what else you need to bring with you. Like the attire, the materials you need are most likely specified on the website or brochure. Some auditions (particularly overseas) have a fee of anywhere from $5 to $30. Some also require you to bring a headshot, photos, or your full resume / CV. If you are not sure about photos, bring along a headshot and a first arabesque photo just in case. For female dancers auditioning for a ballet school or company pointework is usually included in your audition, so remember to bring your pointe shoes. Make sure your pointe shoes are going to work for you, test them out the day before, if needed. There is nothing more frustrating then being limited by dead or too-hard shoes. Also, like the rest of your attire, be sure they are neat & not too dead or shabby.

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DANCE AUDITION

This goes without saying for most dancers but….prepare your body ahead of time! Don’t come to an audition straight after a vacation. You should be taking class right up until the audition day so that you are in the best shape you can be.


Get plenty of sleep the night before, and eat a good breakfast and/ or lunch. Make sure that you are hydrated before, because it is not polite, and usually you’re not permitted to drink water in the middle of an audition. Even if it is okay to drink water, talk, or sit down in your class at home, never do it in an audition. Also be aware to not lean against the bar or cross your arms. Don’t be too casual, but always be genuine. The directors will know who’s putting on airs, so don’t try to be too eager or too perfect. Just aim to be kind and respectful, and be yourself. It is a good idea to arrive at least thirty minutes early to your audition. You want time to adjust to your surroundings, relax (as much as possible), and it will also give you time to fill out an application. If you are auditioning for a large or popular school / company, there is likely to be a line at check in. Don’t feel like you need to be one of the first in line, because generally these large auditions have dancers go in groups, so if you have a later number it will give you time to watch other dancers before it is your turn. Once you have settled in & done all of the general housekeeping prior to the audition make sure you warm up properly. Do the exercises you usually do before class; it will help to calm you down if you do your usual routine. Make sure you a quite warm before class, because many auditions do not do a long and intensive barre. There are probably only a few things more nerve wracking in a dancer’s life than walking into an audition, particularly if it’s for something you’ve been wanting & preparing for, for a really long time.

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DANCE AUDITION

Usually, the audition class (or classes) happens in an unfamiliar place, with few of your peers, perhaps even only strangers, and a new teacher. This can be quite daunting as a dancer if you don’t know how to prepare yourself both mentally and physically. It is very important for you to remain as calm as possible, jitters can affect your performance in the audition & your ability to stay focused on what the teacher is asking of you. If you’re all worked up, take a deep breath; remind yourself that it is ‘just another class’, that you’re prepared & that you can do this. Encourage yourself; never discourage yourself! As dancers, we tend to be our own harshest critic, so remember it’s good to have a little bit of anxiety or ‘nervous energy’, it will actually make


you work at your your hardest, but don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Take advantage of the adrenaline rush, use it to your benefit & be confident in your technique. Once class has started be sure that you give the teacher your full attention. Pick up the combinations as quickly as you can. A couple mistakes are not a big deal, but if you repeatedly do not know the exercise, the directors will question your retention ability. If the teacher corrects you, do your best to apply the correction. It shows that you are teachable, and you respect and care about what they say. Also, it is your responsibility to keep track of what group and formation you are in, so that they do not need to take up time figuring out where you go. Always watch for details, this is one of the most important parts of an audition. Never change any part of the combinations that the teacher shows. The school or company that you are auditioning for might practice a different ballet style than you are used to. If this is the case, try to pick up the obvious details of the new style, such as placement of arms before a turn, etc. The directors will be judging how well you can adapt to the new style. Don’t use an audition as a way to show off too much or over trying, keep your technique clean. When it comes to turns, do what you are comfortable with. Don’t aim for four pirouettes if you know you can’t land them cleanly. For an audition, do only what you know you can control. You want to push yourself more in class, but in an audition, the directors want a clear understanding of your technique level. It is important to focus on you in an audition, and by focusing on you I mean don’t compare yourself to others in the room, or ‘size up your competition’.

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DANCE AUDITION

If you do focus on other dancers you will only waste your energy, shift your concentration and chances are, you probably won’t do as well. Do class as you normally would, and focus on doing the best that you can, and be the best YOU can be. In saying this, it is important to remember to always be polite to the other dancers at the audition. Don’t think of it as a competition, because it’s not. Treating it as such will make you more nervous. Instead, focus on your own dancing and understand that the others are trying to do so as well. Also, the directors and those auditioning dancers can spot a rude unfriendly dancer from a mile away. Most of all enjoy your audition experience & let your true personality shine through. Even if you are nervous, try to smile and look pleasant, it will help you to relax. You don’t have to be mechanical, and you don’t have to be perfect. Smile if the teacher says something funny. Ask


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questions if you’re confused (although it’s probably best to not ask too many). If you fall from a pirouette, keep going. If you forget the exercise, just correct yourself and move on. Don’t obsess over every little mistake, because that’s not what directors care about. They are looking at your dancing as a whole & believe it or not they look beyond your technique and see how well, overall, you handle yourself.

DANCE AUDITION

At the end of the day your technique IS a big factor, though I do believe that by using the tips mentioned in this article you will be able to increase your chances of a successful audition experience. If you only take once piece of advice away from this article, I would say that the most important quality you could possess at an audition is self-confidence. Confidence is admirable and also shows maturity.

If you think you are the best, you will come off as being the best! If you can leave an audition feeling empowered, having learning new things and feeling more confident about your ability as a dancer (without relying on the results of the audition) then you will be a winner no matter what! Good Luck!


REFERENCES

DANCE AND THEATRE it takes two to tango ... by ELISE MAY

EDC WEBSITE

Dancer/ Choreographer Expressions Dance Company

Elise May writes about the contemporary dance genre known as ‘Dance Theatre’, which she describes as a kind of liaison between dance movement and theatrical ideas. She also shares her insight about the challenges of playing the fiery, passionate character of Carmen in Expressions Dance Company’s upcoming season of Carmen Sweet.

ELISE’S BLOG


DANCE AND THEATRE it takes two to tango ...

‘Dance’ and ‘Theatre’. We can identify with these two terms separately, but what does it mean when we put the two words together? Historically, the first signs of the two words used together emerged with the German term “Tanztheater” translated as ‘Dance Theatre’ in the 1920s. As modern dance was breaking away from its ballet tradition and as drama too was departing from its naturalist history, it seemed unavoidable that these two forms might eventually crossover and begin to share some of the same territory. At the same time, dance seemed to be moving towards naturalism with the use of everyday movement and gesture, whilst drama was looking for ways to become more abstract and more physical. Inevitably a hybrid form emerged when both dance and drama adopted elements of the other, breaking down the barriers and allowing for a new form to emerge. (2) The beginnings of dance theatre emerged in the work of a series of dance artists including Rudolf Laban, Mary Wigman, Kurt Jooss and later, Pina Bausch. Laban was the first to make a clear distinction between what he called ‘movement choir’ and dance theatre. Rather than a dance form in which anyone could participate, he insisted that ‘dance theatre’ was and art from presented by professionally trained dancers. His student Mary Wigman called her dance art “dance absolute” and choreographed many works

revealing a central issue; man and his fate. Kurt Jooss, another of Laban’s students wrote an article called “The Language of the Dance Theatre.” In this article he wrote: “A work of Art in order to have meaning needs a concrete subject… The choreographer conceives the theme of the dance work and he translates and structures it into harmoniously composed rhythmic movement, into dance.”


Pina Bausch, a choreographer well known for prolific dance theatre work in the twentieth century, was influenced by this lineage of artists as well as American Modern Dance and German Expressionist Dance (Ausdrunkstanz). She became the director of her company ‘Tanztheater Wuppertal’ in 1973. Her unique dance theatre was based on realism. (2)

DANCE AND THEATRE

it takes two to tango ...

“Pina Bausch’s dance theatre is largely autobiographical; its strength is in the intensity of the experience in its expression… Bausch intrudes uncompromisingly into the private sphere and observes the seemingly unimportant with clinical eyes. She brings out people’s motivations.” What emerged in Bausch’s work has been referred to as a ‘theatre of images’, This form of theatre is not so much concerned with telling stories, but rather with conveying feelings using visual, vocal and physically embodied images. (2) We cannot discuss the development of dance theatre without in turn mentioning the work of Loyd Newson and his company ‘DV8 Physical Theatre Company’. ‘Physical Theatre’ is another term, which possibly only came to public attention around 1986 when DV8 was founded, but which has since been used by a younger breed of theatre and dance artists to capture a sense of the ‘exciting’, ‘risky’ and ‘cutting edge’ when promoting their work to possible new audiences. The term ‘physical theatre’ has recently been synonymously interchanged with ‘dance theatre’, which has blurred our understandings of the subtle differences. Loyd Newson was a practising psychologist before he became a dancer and his works essentially speak of human emotions and feelings.(1) He has spoken of his work as: ‘breaking down the barriers between dance, theatre and personal politics’ and of ‘taking risks, aesthetically and physically’. (3) In Australia, the physical in theatre has been present since the 1980’s with a rich landscape of leading companies and choreographers employing elements of dance theatre in their work. Such artists as Meryl Tankard, Leigh Warren, Graeme Murphy, Gideon Obarzanek, Gary Stewart, Tanja Liedtke and Expressions Dance Company’s founding artistic director Maggie Sietsma, to name only a few, have shaped a uniquely Australian aesthetic and physical embodiment of theatrical ideas and concepts, each in their own unique ways.


DANCE AND THEATRE

it takes two to tango ...

Natalie Weir, current Artistic Director of Expressions Dance Company and creator of Carmen Sweet was initially careful not to ‘label’ her work as dance theatre, however Natalie is known internationally for her highly physical partner work, her organic movement style and her touching insight into human nature. As Artistic Director of EDC, Natalie continues to create work that balances artistic risk with accessibility and that speaks of humanity. Although Natalie’s body of work displays diversity from strongly theatrical to quite abstract, her upcoming production of Carmen Sweet, is very much informed by the traditional notion of dance theatre. What is very unique about this production is that Weir’s femme fatale is brought to life by three dancers playing Carmen’s different states of mind and alter egos. Natalie said of her approach; “I thought it would be interesting to see how the story unravels when you have three women take on different aspects of the Carmen persona. The Carmen story has all the elements for great dance; passion, love, revenge, jealously, betrayal, and even a touch of murder”. In Natalie’s work, I play one of the three aspects of Carmen. I find the role challenging because as a performer, you need to identify the desires and motivations of the character in order to convey the ideas to the audience. I believe in the ability for dance to tell stories, and it is the nature of Natalie’s work, in particular where there is a strong narrative driving the movement and performance that I feel most challenged and fulfilled to perform. For me, the body is a tool to communicate and it’s primary expression of being is what dance and theatre are all about.


Audition Reels May Be the Next Frontier for Musical Theater Hopefuls Performers used to have one shot to nail their audition in a studio, but we are now in an age of technology in which actors looking to break into the business may be smart to first shine on the smallest of screens. Online video has quickly become the popular way for stage actors to be seen. Tim Grady realized the need for theatrical video reels in 2012 when he was working a gig at Maltz Jupiter Theatre in Florida. As the guy with a Flip cam, he was constantly being asked by cast mates to record them singing so they could send clips to a New York audition they were missing. “I kept thinking while I was filming actors that there had to be a way professionally to put yourself together in a three-minute reel that shows off your acting, singing, dancing abilities and then present that to casting directors,” he says. So Grady founded Tim Grady Films—a professional reel-making service catering to musical theater performers. “The need for a theatrical reel is becoming as necessary as a headshot and résumé,” he says.


In the eyes of director-choreographer Jerry Mitchell, “[video] is a tool to get you considered if you can’t make the audition.” Recordings render physical distance a nonissue during early rounds. Yet video submission is not only useful for actors unavailable for an in-person session. Technology makes it easier for casting moguls such as Bernard Telsey to discover unknown talent. His agency’s YouTube Project, launched in September 2012 and headed by casting associate Andrew Femenella, allows him to reach actors on a global scale around the clock, without tying the request to a specific show. “It’s almost like a continuous open call,” says Telsey. Telsey compares video submissions for the unknown theater performer to “American Idol” for the next pop sensation. “They don’t have the connection, they don’t have the agent, they’re not known, but they can send a tape and someone here will watch them,” he says. Once they do watch you, Grady believes the best reels are professionally made because they showcase performers in their best light. Yet for the purposes of preliminary screening, creative teams are just as happy with a nofrills approach as with a professional one.

Audition Reels May Be the Next Frontier for Musical Theater Hopefuls


Audition Reels May Be the Next Frontier for Musical Theater Hopefuls Mitchell says he doesn’t care “if they’re done with somebody holding their iPhone in their bathroom on tour, and their best friend is reading the sides.” Casting directors emphasize quality specifically for film and television actors because they could be cast straight off the reel. For musical theater performers, it’s crucial to see them live.

how quickly they learn, how they take adjustments, how they adapt to the different styles. You can’t learn that stuff if somebody is just showing you what they do.” Gattelli agrees: “I love to feel the energy in the room and really see what’s behind the eyes and actually have a work session with [a dancer].” He adds, “I can’t imagine videos will ever be able to replace the energy and direct contact you get from seeing someone in a room.”

Still, reels definitely lead to work. “Our latest Newsie was essentially called in because of video,” says choreographer Chris Gattelli. The young talent wowed Gattelli via video clips before the show was even looking for replacements. “But the While video may not replace work done in the room, in next time we needed someone, I said bring this kid in.” an audition world saturated with talent, a demo reel is a necessary tool in an actor’s arsenal. After all, “performing is Success stories like this beg the question, Is it just a matter part of who you are,” says Telsey, to which Femenella adds, of time before video takes over the audition scene? Telsey “Why not help us get a better sense of who you are and what and friends insist that tapes will never replace live sessions. you can do?” “Nothing can beat having an actor in the room auditioning for you in a live situation,” says Mitchell. “I’m looking at


Don’t just dance – perform! by Kricket Forster

Why do you dance?

Not many dancers have to think too hard when answering this question. For some it is simply a fun way to exercise, while others love the physical challenge. For some, it may be the social aspect that keeps them coming back to class or even the beauty and glamour of it all. There are those who love the spotlight and praises of a thoroughly entertained audience, and many of us just cannot imagine life without it. Now I would like to present a more difficult question.

winston morrison


Don’t just dance – perform! Why do people like to watch dance?

This may seem to have an obvious answer and some may argue that it is because dance is beautiful and exciting to behold. However, I believe there is much more to it than just visual appeal. If you ask me, people love to watch dance because it expresses emotions that are far too huge to be contained within our body. With this in mind, I feel that it is our duty as dancers to find the emotion in our movement and express this outwards for our audience.

Kricket Forster

Yes it is an incredible thing to witness the athletic finesse that dance can present, but when it has no feeling, it can come off as nothing more than a strenuous sport. Have you ever noticed how sometimes, after a few minutes, even an amazingly strong and technically perfect dance can become uninteresting? Of course we may still “ooh” and “aah” over the difficulty of steps and tricks executed, but somewhere along the line we lose our passion or connection to the piece. This can happen when dancers get too involved in the sport of dance and lose sight of the emotional needs of their viewers. Dance is an art and therefore needs to express what the performer or character is feeling and experiencing. By this I am not referring to ‘face choreography’. For those unfamiliar with this term, it refers to where a performer goes through a routine in rehearsal and puts no more thought into their expression than deciding “this is where I will wink and then I’ll give a sassy pout followed by opening my mouth like I am excited”. Of course these elements have their place in performance, but audiences can tell when facial expressions are not driven by emotion or purpose.


Don’t just dance – perform! Dancers are actors because we work to make our movements connect with the story or idea we are expressing. If we can communicate our feelings effectively to an audience, they can often feel so moved that they are brought to tears (or even raucous laughter depending on the piece). As someone who has received both these kinds of audience reactions, let me tell you that the sense of elation and selfsatisfaction is immense. Now for some tips on how to achieve this: How do I perform a routine, rather than just dancing it?

1. Don’t alienate your audience. Open your eye line out to them. There is a reason your teachers always tells you to “get your eyes up!” Not only do you look like you are uncertain of yourself if you stare at the ground, but your audience then doesn’t feel that they are a part of your performance. Please trust me when I say that the easiest way to get an audience on your side is to make them feel that they ARE somehow a part of your performance, as this gives them a more personal connection to what you are doing.

2. Dance with purpose. If you don’t know what motivates and moves you, how will anyone who is watching know? Sometimes a routine has a story line that you can use to help with this. If that’s the case, don’t just rely on props and hand gestures to make your narrative clear – imagine that you are in the situation of the character, imagine what they would be thinking and how they would react to things and always remember to use eye focus to drive the story home.


Don’t just dance – perform! Other times you must simply decide whether you want to be happy, sad, playful, angry, hurt, or even hopeful. Let the feeling of that emotion flow through and out of your whole body, including your hands and eyes. Yes, your hands as well, the emotions that can be carried in hands are often underestimated (think of how someone’s hands shaking can indicate that they are either afraid or nervous).

3. DynAmiCS! – use them! Ups and downs in our lives are what keeps it interesting and help us to appreciate the high points. This also applies to dance. Allow your energy to match that of your music and notice its nuances to help with the dynamic of your routine. If the music builds and your energy builds with it, you can find an audience cheering for you long before you’ve given them the final pose!

4. Be the character Having an inner monologue (what your character is thinking and feeling) will help with nerves, because you are now focused on something empowering instead of worrying over whether you will nail that triple pirouette or not. You will have more connection to your routine this way and will often find the other technical things you have rehearsed over and over will have a much more organic and natural feel. This can make tricks and choreography that you may have been over thinking seem all of a sudden simple. Now take these 4 tips out on stage, and make your audience feel something!


Memoirs of a Dance Teacher My Early Years by Jan Conroy.

About 65 years ago a little girl lived in the small country town of Beaudesert and loved to dance. Beaudesert only had about 2000 people, and of course no dance teacher. My mum had always wanted to dance, but never had the opportunity, having grown up in the smaller town of Crows Nest. My best friends were the Doctor’s 2 daughters - Judith and Helen one was a year older than me, one a year younger. Their mother took them to Brisbane - (about one and a half hours away by car) every Saturday, to dance. I dearly wanted to go, but my mother couldn’t drive a car, and my dad owned a garage and service station and sold new cars also, and Saturday was his busiest day, so there was no way he could take me. Mum and Dad did not think it fair to let me go with these friends, if they were unable to take a turn with the driving. My friends had a little stage of sorts under their house, and we would play dancing for hours. I knew the whole of the Grade 1 RAD ballet exam dance - the Minuet - before I ever started lessons. One year - when I was 8 years old, it was announced that the friends teacher (Miss Jill Moodie - later Mrs Jill Casey) would come to Beaudesert on Saturday afternoons to teach dancing. So exciting. Miss Moodie would not have been 20 years old,but she seemed very authoritative and

Jan Conroy


experienced, and she arrived in a little tourer car - with the roof down - and her mother - and about 70 children turned up - all at the one time - all very excited to commence lessons. There were so many for one young teacher, but I remember we were all stood in a circle. I remember we were taught to tap “Shuffle hop together” on that first lesson and how we practiced it up for the next week. We all went to dancing on Saturday afternoon for about 2 hours. We were divided into grades - I was put in Grade 1 ballet, and we would all get our turn. Grade 1 barre for 10 minutes - then “you go away and practice that” - then the next grade would do their barre. How we learnt all the syllabus, I dont know, but we did. Then came the RAD ballet exam - we had to go to Brisbane - only 5 or 6 were doing the exam. My grand mother was a milliner by trade (made hats) but sewed exquisitely and she made my white tutu to do this first exam. It had eyelet holes up the back, and was laced up with white cord. I still remember it, and you will see a photo of me in it, taken down my grandmother’s back yard, in front of the chook pen, on exam day. Notice the hairdo My hair had been curled, then a band was put around it, and the sides were pinned over the band. (not many had long hair in those days of dancing). That year we have the most hardest examiner that had ever been to Australia - she came from England to conduct the exams - she was called Miss Betty Davis. I got 70% for that first exam, but remember that I got 89% for Grade 2, and continued with a similar mark to that, afterward. Some people failed with Miss Davis, as their examiner. My mum grew cleverer with this dancing. The girls in Brisbane always knew so much more and were so much more “polished” than we Beaudesert girls with our one combined class, so in the school holidays, Dad would take our caravan to Brisbane,park it in my Aunty’s back yard in Belmont, and mum and I would take the tram into dancing at Wooloongabba, each day, for me to take dance lessons.


This all continued until I was about 14 and ready for high school. By this time, Dad was running me to Brisbane during the week for dance classes, so he decided to send me to Brisbane Girls Grammar School, so I was based in Brisbane to continue my dance classes. I can remember Dad saying to me “Don’t you think it’s time to give this dancing away now” - but of course my reply was “no”. Then begins another story - BGGS would not allow a boarder to go out at night time to classes, so I stayed with my Aunt in Windsor, and used to tram it to Wooloongabba several times a week to continue my beloved dance classes. About this time, the CSTD examinations had started in Brisbane and Miss Moodie was one of the teachers who entered

students for these first exams. We did “Theatrical” and “Tap” exams. I always felt I was very good at this used to get high results and always had great personality, which the examiners seemed to love. Miss Dorothy Gladstone (the founder of the society) was always the examiner - but later we had Miss Fierenzi. Miss Gladstone appeared very old to me and she was a big lady. She took a “liking” to me, and approached my mum and dad when I was about 15 or 16 to ask if they would allow her to take me to Melbourne and train me there. My Dad said “No”! I was at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and I had to finish my education. I was always the highest level exam student - and each year the new work for the next highest grade, was taught to me, so it could be learnt and be ready for examination the next year.

I remember doing my Diploma at 21 years of age, and I was the very first dancer in Brisbane, to gain the CSTD Diploma. And there begins another story - my teaching and examining career.


I would like to share some thoughts with you regarding Born to Perform. Sarah and I were so pleased to post photos of the space, the buildings and the reactions are exciting and encouraging. thank you x BUT

TAP FOR CONTACT DETAILS

as much as I know that this space allows us to create the environment and atmosphere we desire. It is not the building that makes the space work. It is the people and what they desire for their students. I have three daughters Arja 34, Lauren 32 and Lucille 13. Over the 32 years I have transported them including my Grandson Oliver 8 to and from ballet and jazz classes etc, paid the costume hire, paid the end of year concerts tickets, not to mention the fees throughout the year and I know how stressful it can become just getting the kids to the classes let alone in the right uniform with the right hair doo. It really can be mentally physically and financially overwhelming. All of which can lead to a not so pleasant time in our lives.


I have seen children and parents breakdown with the stress of all the above and all they wanted to do was go to dance classes and have some fun, make new friends.

When my daughter played the role of Annie and the role of Jemima in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the role of Young Louise in Gypsy she wore no makeup.

stress and tension for both students and parents. At the end of each term we will stage a presentation for parents and friends so students can begin to experience an audience without the stress of the big end of year one. of course the last one of the year will be an even greater celebration!

A student wants to perform and I have also seen the not so gifted ones most often prefers to dance in their always in the back row and the gifted rehearsal gear where they feel free and ones always in the front. themselves and not trapped under tight fitting scratchy materials with pins I have felt sorrow for the students who poking in the heads and Mums stressing never see the audience and the parents out trying to apply all of the above. As a performer I have played large and who barely see a glimpse of their child. small roles. On the stage we are part Over the past ten years I have Costumes can be fun and assist in the of a picture we often don’t get to see. seen young children especially creation of a character but they are not But we feel it. We experience the joy of girls performing to songs that are the be all of a performance and it should creating together something amazing inappropriate wearing costumes that are certainly not restrict the performer. something that we give to the audience. also inappropriate. Little girls dressed in As you grow and mature as a performer wigs, false eyelashes, and way to much costumes become a bigger part of your In Cats the song Memory at the end unnecessary make up. education. of Act One would never have been the moment it was unless the ensemble I have seen fathers cringing in stalls How to cope and manage and dress for performing the Jellicle Ball had not upon seeing their young teenage quick changes are all things a performer worked themselves into a feline frenzy daughters dressed and moving in a way must learn to do but for a young student setting up the moment for Grizabella to no parent should witness. that must come later. I would not throw appear. so much on a student that creates


Every person with the desire to perform has a gift. I could never do the splits or kick a high kick or a lay out. BUT Ross Coleman loved the way I danced because I felt it in my bones. Sarah and me believe that technique is paramount. It is where you draw your strength the understanding of your body. Great technique will assist in protecting your body from injury. BUT there must be more than technique. THERE MUST BE the want, the drive, the passion, the love to do it, otherwise WHY. Our school is about giving all students equal time equal value equal exposure at the front of the stage equal importance because we want our students to learn generosity, respect, team work, and the joy of accomplishing something wonderful together. It takes all shapes all sizes all gifts all talents to make a performance. If you believe you were born to perform- we understand you. Debra Byrne


The Foot: A Dancer’s Best Friend Catherine Worsnop Dance Physiotherapist (B. Phty, APAM) Performance Medicine, Melbourne

The foot not only provides those finishing touches to the beautiful lines a dancer creates but also plays an important role in the overall execution of almost every skill a dancer will perform. Although seemingly small, the foot is complex and by understanding its anatomy and biomechanics we can understand why it is such a critical tool for every dancer.

The Building Blocks of the Foot – The Bones The foot is made up of 26 weight bearing bones, each with its own important role. The foot can be divided into three main compartments: the forefoot, the mid foot and the hind foot.


The Foot: A Dancer’s Best Friend The Forefoot

The forefoot is made up of the metatarsals and the phalanges (toe bones). This section of the foot allows the dancer to stand en pointe and demi pointe. It allows the dancer to move through the foot when jumping and landing, and provides floor pressure during tendues and glissés.

The Mid Foot

This section of the foot is made up of the cuboid, navicular and cuneiform bones. The three arches of the foot are created because of this section of the foot. The foot arches allow for shock absorption and add a spring like quality to the leg. This is important for jumping and landing, pliés and pointe work.

The Hind Foot

The hind foot is made up of the calcaneum (heel bone) and the talus and together they form the subtalar joint. The hind foot joins to the lower leg via the talocrural joint created by the tibia and fibula bones. The majority of foot plantar flexion (pointe) comes from this part of the foot.

The Source of Strength – The Muscles

There are many muscles that allow the foot to be a strong base for a dancer. The intrinsic muscles of the foot reside alongside and between the metatarsal bones. These muscles play a crucial role in supporting the arches of the foot and give length through the foot and toes when pointing. Doming is a great way to strengthen these muscles. It is crucial that the foot intrinsics are strong to prevent injuries in all types of dance, but especially when dancing en pointe. The gastrocnemius muscle, which is part of the calf complex, provides power to the foot. It is the prime mover that plantarflexes (pointes) the hind foot. This muscle also generates the propulsion force for jumping and rélévés. The flexor hallucis longus muscle (FHL) is an extremely important muscle in the dancing foot. It is responsible for pointing the tip of the big toe and also for bringing the dancer from demi to full pointe. The gastrocnemius and FHL must work in unison to reduce the risk of injures to each muscle. Calf rises can ensure that the gastrocnemius is strong enough to decrease unnecessary load through the FHL.


The Foot: A Dancer’s Best Friend 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

The muscles and each compartment of the foot work together to create effective support and shock absorption so that you can dance beautifully. Take a look at your feet and be kind to them by wearing correctly fitting dance shoes and supportive footwear!

Gastrocnemius Soleus Tibialis Posterior Flexor Hallucis Longus Intrinsics Extensor Retinaculum Tibialis Anterior Extensor Digitorum Longus Peroneus Longus Peroneus Brevis Achilles Tendon


As dancers we are trained to push through a certain amount of pain to achieve those amazing ranges and to be able to push ourselves to the limits. But when is the time to stop and listen to your body and get some help? From experience in my own body and from feedback from my clients I have found that you can separate pain into 2 kinds: the sharp kind and the more spread out and general kind. You can also separate pain into gradual onset and the kind of pain you get as a result of trauma or injury. The way you deal with the pain depends entirely on diagnosis. Generally, you will heal much more quickly if

you listen to your body and see a treating practitioner, especially if the pain is ongoing. It always amazes me that we often regularly get our cars serviced and repaired but expect our bodies to just keep going! A treating practitioner such a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath will help you with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Sometimes, people have told me that the treating practitioner they saw didn’t help them. In that case, keep trying until you find the one who works for you. I often work in conjunction with the treating practitioner because as a Pilates

instructor I am not trained to diagnose or to give adjustments, but can work to help strengthen and balance the muscle systems that support pain free movement. In the Pilates studio I often help dancers who are experiencing pain brought on by slow build-up of tension through incorrect alignment, incorrect technique or muscle imbalances. We are all actually pretty good at creating muscle imbalances just though our everyday habits. We all have a favourite leg which, without even realizing, we use repeatedly as the gesturing leg or we constantly cross our legs the same way, or carry our hand bag

When pain happens CONTACT LISA FOR MORE INFO

by LISA PERESAN


over the same shoulder. These small tasks when compounded over a number of times a day, multiplied by years create imbalances which eventually can lead to pain. The other who is

thing that can lead to pain is dehydration. Science has shown that someone 110 kilo should drink 110 ounces of water per day. So the quantity of water you drink should vary according to your body mass. Sadly as we age, we are not as good at knowing when we are thirsty. Tests done in an American study found that 75% of people tested were dehydrated. Further, 80% of people who increased their water intake also reported a decrease, and even complete disappearance of pain.

Food also has a huge impact, especially as we age, and many of my clients have benefited from reducing the amount of acidic food in their diet. It really surprizing what actually turns acidic in your body, and it is these acid foods that fuel inflammation, not only in your gut but also in your joints! If you are experiencing joint pain, I really recommend that you limit your intake of dairy and wheat products. They can be replaced with foods that turn alkaline like oats and rice milk. I would encourage you to seek the guidance of a naturopath or nutritionist to find the best diet for your needs. It seems that as you become more in tune and aligned with your body and its needs, you also become more aware of what you put into it and you naturally try to be more loving to yourself by nourishing your body with the things it needs. This includes limiting smoking with sadly seems to be on the rise in our youth. Along with all the other illness that are linked to smoking, recent science has shown that rheumatoid arthritis is directly linked to smoking. Wish you many years of happy pain free dancing! Lisa P


What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is an overuse injury and generally occurs when an increased workload is placed on a bone over a period of time causing it to form small crack or fracture. Most commonly stress fractures occur in the lower leg and foot. In dancers a very common area for a stress fracture is in the long metatarsal bones of the foot, especially the 2nd metatarsal. Common signs and symptoms of a stress fracture may include bony tenderness over the Metatarsals, swelling and redness, tenderness when walking on the foot especially first thing in the morning, pain over the metatarsal bones when rising onto demi pointe or when on pointe.

STRESS FRACTURES Erin Riddell (BPhty)


What Causes a Stress Fracture?

There are many causes of stress fractures most commonly in dancers they will occur from:• Rapid increase in level of activity without correct conditioning such as extra rehearsals for concerts • Poor technique and strength, such as incorrect weight placement through the foot, poor calf strength or intrinsic foot control • Repetitive impact on a hard surface i.e. jumping on a dance floor that is not sprung • Wearing poorly cushioned shoes while walking (or dancing) on hard surfaces. This is a huge problem for dancers as ballet shoes tend to lack essential support Poorly fitted shoes also add tremendous amounts of unnecessary stress to the bones of the foot. • Abnormal foot structure, such as flat feet or extremely high arches. • Eating Disorders (Malnutrition causing bone density to decrease).

Will it Recover?

Yes, given the correct treatment and support it should recover fully. By identifying and eliminating factors that contributed to the stress fracture in the first place this should stop it from re occurring.

Will I have to take time off dancing?

Yes, in order to allow the bone to heal a period of rest is recommended however there are many exercises and activities you can continue to do to maintain strength and fitness during this time. The bone should heal after approximately 6 weeks if treated well. However you may be able to get back into some basic class work earlier than this if appropriate.


What is the best treatment?

Treatment will vary depending on the severity and nature of the stress fracture. • Often treatment may require the foot to be immobilised in a boot it for 2-6 weeks. • Sometimes a period of non-weight bearing on crutches for 2 weeks is recommended. • Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation in its early stages can be beneficial to reduce any inflammation • A strength and conditioning program to maintain stability and improve on any contributing weakness. This should include core, shoulder and hip stability exercises, as well as an effective flexibility program to maintain good range of movement. • Supportive foot wear is recommended • A slow progression back into dance class and other exercise • A balanced diet including vitamin D and calcium-rich foods is important in maintaining bone density and health This is an ideal time to work on others areas of the body and improve technique so you will return stronger than before the injury.

In Summary

Stress fractures are an injury commonly seen in dancers, specifically in the metatarsal bones of the feet. They generally occur when a bone is subjected to an increased work load without correct conditioning prior to commencement. Treated effectively you can make a full recovery back to dance and by maintaining good strength and technique you can avoid any long term issues or recurrences.


APPLICATION by joanna blair Welcome everyone to this editions article – today I’m going to talk to you about false lashes and their application. Firstly false lashes can make a huge difference to your eye makeup, often giving your eyes an opening up and lifting effect. There are many styles and types on the market, but for a dance performance scenario where you need to achieve an effect that has an impact and is visible from a distance, I would highly recommend going with a bar lash (whereby the lashes are on a strip in one piece, as opposed to individual lashes which are small clusters that are applied one cluster at a time to the eye). The style of lash depends on the look you are after; bar lashes are available in quite natural styles, for example ‘Sexies’ by Ardell; through to dramatic lashes, such as ‘107’ by Ardell, or for very dramatic try ‘Isabella’ by Lash Me. Ardell makes a numerous amount of different styles - these are all available online or at your local beauty supplier.


To actually apply the lashes does take a little bit of practice and can be a bit fiddly, allow yourself plenty of time to get these on, particularly if you haven’t applied them before, as they do look amazing once they’re on properly.

APPLICATION

by joanna blair PLAY VIDEO

Before applying the lashes, you will need to measure the length of the lash to make sure it fits your eye. Do this by simply taking the lash out of the packet and laying it gently over your lash line; if the strip is too long, simply hold the length that needs to be removed between your thumb and forefinger, and snip off this length. Always remove length from the OUTER edge of the lash, never the inner edge (where the lash sits at your inner eye); bar lashes are often designed with the lashes tapering from shorter length at the inner eye, getting longer as they extend out to the outer corner of the eye – if you remove excess length from the inner corner (instead of the outer corner), you will end up with the bar lashes looking ridiculous as you’ve thrown out the balance of shorter length graduating to longer length. You will need a good quality adhesive to attach the lashes, Duo Glue is a great option and is available in squeezable tubes of clear and dark tones. However when I’m applying bar lashes, I always go for their ‘Brush on Strip Lash Adhesive’. This glue comes with a brush (very similar to what you see with lipgloss) and you simply brush the glue along the strip of the lashes and then attach it the upper lash line of your eye. There is a tool available to aid significantly in applying lashes (see photo) – it looks like an elongated, thicker tweezer – called “Lash Applicator”.


Using this tool, pick up the lash, holding on to the outer 1/3 of the lash; gently lay the lash as close to your lash line (at the root of where your natural lashes meet the skin of your eyelid); lay the inner corner down first and then gently lay down the middle and outer 1/3 of the lash onto your lash line.

APPLICATION

by joanna blair

Once you’ve got your lashes on, apply mascara onto your natural lashes and using your thumb and forefinger, press your natural lashes into the false lash so they meld with each other and look more harmonious. To remove your lashes after your performance, always gently pull them from the outer edge, going across your eye, to the inner eye – never pull them ‘outwards’ from your eye, always go across the eye and they will release a lot more easily. Lashes are re-useable, so don’t throw out the original packet, store them away for your next performance. Simply remove the glue by soaking the lashes in a small bowl of warm water and carefully remove the glue with your fingers. Lay them back in the packet to retain shape, ready for next time. I’ve included a great video from Goss Makeup Artist on the application of false lashes using a lash applicator.


Bella Maguire Bella is a 7 year old girl who lives in the norther suburbs of Brisbane. She was born with a small piece missing of her 16th Chrosomome. Her syndrome is called 16q24.3 deletion syndrome and there are only a handful of people known to have this same disorder. Bella was born with complex care needs, she had a feeding tube until she was 4, she didn’t start to walk and talk until she was three. She attended many hours of intervention and attended a special school from the age of 18 months. Bella has an intellectual disability and is in grade one at our local state school. She tries her hardest and is supported by a fantastic group of teachers and students.


Our eldest daughter (Imogen who is 9) attended our local dance school (Do Dance Academy) and the Principal decided to start a class for children with disabilities. We always believed in giving Bella the opportunity to be involved in our local community and to try what other kids do. So dance lessons were next on the list when she began school 2 years ago. The principal Renee Rablin always had an interested in children with special needs and decided to give back to her the community. Bella has done Jazz, Ballet and Acrobatics. She has participated in both of the dance schools last two concerts with the rest of the dance school. Even though she has an intellectual disability and low muscle tone this doesn’t stop her for learning the routines and skills to become a great little dancer. Though dancing she has learnt to hop on both legs, do tumbles, follow complex instructions, perform on a stage and be part of a team of enthusiastic kids.

Bella loves dancing so much that we have enrolled her in an additional class with children who do not have additional needs. She is thriving too in this class and is a real joy for her teacher Miss Tara. We are hoping for Bella and her sister to Dance at Disneyland with other students from the dance academy in April 2015. We will be starting a fundraising drive in January next year to help save this is exciting once in a life time trip. We look forward to many more years of watching Bella and her sister Imogen improve in their dancing skills and can’t wait for concert time 2014.


Open Hip Hop Group - Dance Industry


Dancer: Marina Van Blarcom Age: 13 years Dee Jays School of Dance, Proserpine.


Alison King Age: 13 Marie Walton Mahon Dance Academy Donna Michaltsis School of Dance – Tap Photographer – Rob Eyre Photography


Child’s Name - Matilda Age - 5 yrs old Studio - JTV Dance Academy


Dancer: Jessica West Aged: 15 Photo by: MK Photography http://mkphotography.me/ https://www.facebook.com/MichaelKennedyPhotography


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Is the Stage at Sea For You? by Kate Fox Ever think about touring the world by performing aboard a cruise ship? With ever-changing destinations and audience members, life on the water has its ebbs and flows. My colleague Marcus Jackson was gracious enough to give me an interview from the docks of St. Thomas before he shoved off for another week on the water. Here he gives us the inside scoop on what his experience has been like. Is the stage at sea for you too?


KF: How long have you been working on cruise ships?

MJ: I’ve been working the cruise lines for about 5 years now. I’m on my 7th contract. I’ve done 5 contracts with Royal Caribbean and I’m on my 2nd contract for Disney Cruise Line after being in the opening cast or “take out cast” for the Disney Fantasy.

KF: What does your job entail? Are you done once the show is over?

MJ: Responsibilities vary from cruise line to cruise line. On every ship the Crew is responsible for looking after the safety and security of the ship, its guests, and other crew members. There is so much to be done as a performer on cruise ships. Dancing in the theatre shows, teaching guest dance classes, follow spotting the ice skating shows, serving as the port and shopping guide assistant, art auctioneer’s assistant, excursion guide, and club promoter are some of the tasks that I had as a dancer on Royal Caribbean. For Disney, I am the ship wide dance captain, which means I maintain the quality and give notes to the team of performers that perform in venues outside of the theatre. I also dance in the main stage shows, teach crew dance classes, represent the Main stage and character casts for crew entertainment ideas, and assist with any partnering issues that need help.

KF: How have you gotten your gigs?

MJ: I generally get gigs from postings online or at dance studios. I’ll research the gig and then join in the open call audition process. The thing about working with cruise lines is that when your contract is over and you’ve followed the rules and regulations, you will almost always be guaranteed another contract. With Disney I worked with Spencer Liff from SYTYCD for some original choreography. Generally you have rehearsal choreographers when you’re learning the shows, which pass down the original choreography from cast to cast.


KF: Do you get to choreograph any of the pieces?

MJ: I’ve choreographed small dance bits for my dance classes and actually just completed a task for Disney Cruise Line that had me choreographing an opening dance number for our all-crew assembly meetings where the “big wigs” come in and talk about enhancements and goals for the future of DCL.

KF: What is the rehearsal process like?

MJ: Generally rehearsals last about 6 to 10 weeks in a shore side dance studio specifically fitted with studio space marked out for the stage onboard. A typical day starts with rehearsal from about 9am to 1pm and then a lunch break, then rehearse more from 2pm to 5pm. You are then expected to have any mistakes corrected for the following day.

KF: What best prepared you to land these gigs?

MJ: There wasn’t anything specific that prepared me for these gigs. I guess being easy going and flexible are a great quality especially when dealing with the typically fast paced and always changing environment of a cruise ship. Having the extensive training from my BFA in Dance and consistent support and commitment always has helped.

KF: Is there anything you wish you had known before you started this work?

MJ: I wish I would have known that living onboard the ship is like living in a time capsule. No one really knows what day it is. You find yourself naming the days by the itinerary or the shows you do that day. Near the end of the contract you just start counting down the days.

KF: What are the perks? What are the compromises? Is this the kind of gig for anybody? MJ: The perk with Royal Caribbean is that you will always have a job there and never have to re-audition or re-negotiate contracts. They’ll use you in about any of their production shows and they like having a pool of talent that can replace an injured cast member or debarking crewmember. Working for Disney, I have free access to inside information, parks, exclusives, and the upward mobility is HIGHLY encouraged.

KF: What is some good advise for dancers thinking about jumping onboard?

MJ: If you LOVE to travel with no expenses and making money that you have no obligation to spend - this is the gig for you. Be ready to give up your social life at home, easy communication with the outside world, and your sense of time. This is not a gig for the needy or people that get homesick or are overly emotional. No one really knows what it’s like being a crewmember until they come visit you on the ship and live a week in your shoes.


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My name is Ann and my business is Opulent Souls and I teach people how to create a life they love by achieving what it is that want in life and I have been asked to write this article to help people in the dance industry. There is so much pressure on the dancers, the parents, the teachers that I am offering some tips on how you can help yourself to keep this experience an enjoyable one. If you have a competition coming up, it is a great idea for you the dancer to write down in as much detail as possible the exact outcome you would like.


Surviving the mental challenges of being a dancer ... It is very important to include the feelings that will be experienced with the outcome you desire. For example you could start it by saying “I feel wonderful and so excited as I am waiting for my turn to go on stage, I know how hard I have practised and I love doing the routines that I have learned.

think and feel what you are reading. You will be amazed at the results you achieve.

Our mind doesn’t know the difference between what’s real and what is in our imagination so when you read to yourself everyday for 30 days your mind will start to create the outcome of what it is you want and if you want I love the way I take 1st prize this will really deep breaths to calm me help you achieve it. before I start dancing If you are the parent and it feels amazing to reading this it will be go on stage and entertain helpful for you to know people.” This is just and that you can not affect example to give you the outcome of anyone an idea but you would else, so you would not add much more specific be able to write this for details to this that only them. You can encourage you would know. Once it the dancer to write a is finished you will need desire statement and to read it every morning tell them every day you and night and really are proud of them and

you know they will do their best but it is up to the dancer to make the changes within themselves and to start creating the results they want. If you would like to find out more helpful tips and receive a free ebook and other downloads to help you start creating a life you love please go to my website at www. opulentsouls.com. If you would like to achieve something in particular I work on a 1-1 basis by phone or Skype so you can be in the comfort of your own home at I will teach you ways to start achieving your desires.


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November-December 2013