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JESSICA POULTER EDITOR AND FOUNDER DANCE WRITER Welcome to Dance Writer magazine April edition. This is our third edition ever and we are still finding our feet as to who we are and what we want to look like. Our scope is vastly broadening in terms of the stories we write and who we meet. This month, I have had the pleasure to interview almost 50 people and listen to their incredible stories. It is truly inspiring how many people in our industry are working so hard to achieve their goals and make this world a better place. With regard to making this world a better place, it also seemed to be the month of charity donations. In March, our ambassadors performed in the Jump Dance Challenge “Together We Dance” Showcase proudly supporting the Good Friday Appeal. It was a huge success as the event raised more than $12,000!  Our ambassadors will soon be starring in the Dance Writer ‘Fashions on the Floor’ parade as part of the Crown Dancesport Championships held in Melbourne mid-April. The ambassadors will proudly wear Inspire Dancewear brands and strut their stuff down the runway. I am excited to be the MC for the parade another way to get our work out there! We are also hammering away at our own charity gala called HER proudly supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It will be on August 4 at Gasworks Theatre in Melbourne. We are inviting all troupes to perform in this one-off event that will attract all the top industry professionals! We thank you for your support and we cannot wait to bring you fresh content!

CONTENTS KEIR CHOREOGRAPHIC AWARDS 2018…………………….......................…5 THE GREATEST SHOWMAN…………………..............….7 UNDRGRND………………………………..9 NYC: CELLOPOINTE……………………………11 TRIPLICITY…………………………………15 LUCY DOHERTY……………………………….…16 BAND THERAPY…………………………………..20 SHATTER…………………………………..22 JORDAN MATTER’S 10 MINUTE CHALLENGE…………….................…23 DANCE MUM FEATURE…………………………..……… 25 AMBASSADOR CHAT…………………….............. ………27



The Audience Choice Award went to Amrita Hepi for her work A CALTEX SPECTRUM performed by Jahra Rager, Tyrone Robinson and Sarah Vai with set design by Alice Joel and music by Daniel Jenatsch and Sarah Scott. The work asked, is it possible to transcend class through movement, or do society's inscriptions remain firmly imprinted on the body?  Dance Writer chats to Amrita Hepi about her win. 

Congratulations Amrita Hepi on being the recipient for the 2018 Keir Choreographic Audience Choice Award! Were you expecting to win this accolade or was it a shock? AH: Thank you very much! It was definitely a shock win —the calibre of the other artists in the Keir was very high.  Your choreographic work A CALTEX SPECTRUM describes the themes of society, adherence to social values and politics. How do these themes resonate with you on a personal level? AH: A Caltex spectrum was spurred on by thinking about Western imperialism and the many different roles it plays in dictating class systems and how very slippery and fallible it was when you took a good look at it. This led to an interest in crude oil companies and the great open road and ideas we are spun about freedom and self-determination. I was also reading a bit of singularities by Andre Lepecki and thinking about the labour of performers as inseparable inside and outside of the studio or theatre especially performers of colour. As an artist I’m interested in the dilemma of authenticity/originality and what we as humans will do to prove ourselves—one of these  practices is the idea of code-switching (to switch the way in which we communicate things in order to be heard) and within this work, I was looking at how people code switch in order to manipulate, survive or transcend class structures. Most of this research and thinking was used to devise the work. Within the work performers use a motorbike as many things (a deity, prey, an obsession, a lover, a platform) and it in turn uses and galvanises them and their movement. We get to see the switch happen around an object that's inanimate but like the dancers in this piece, they are all layered with certain unavoidable social inscriptions and so the motorbike, as well as the movement, becomes an allegory.

2018 KEIR CHOROEGRAPHIC AWARDS Tell me about your life growing up. Was there a time where you felt political adversity or discrimination?   AH: I was born in Townsville, and there are many people in my family. I think adversity and discrimination are everywhere and you either choose to fight it and join in on the conversation or stick your head in the sand. Some people are forced to see it and deal with it more depending on their circumstances and privilege, or lack thereof. Dance is one of many tools that I use for strength and really it’s a combination of so many things that are activated at different times depending on the scenario. I’m not that interested in focusing solely on the discipline of dance because dance’s influences are bigger than the form itself. You’ve been to Alvin Ailey and National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) dance college. How has your formal training guided your expertise in choreography? AH: I studied at Alvin Ailey and was a student at NAISDA and yes, studying helped. But, I think the thing that helped the most was perspective and getting outside of my initial influences and frameworks for how I thought things had to work in order to be a dancer or an artist. Once I realised there was no one way to be a dancer or an artist then I think I felt more comfortable with my own choices.  What is your choreographic process?  AH: Well, each time is different but it is usually a mix of interest, research, discussion, planning, movement, and intuition.   What is next for you? AH: I am working a lot with other companies such as Force Majuere doing the Commonwealth Games and Marrugeku . This year with Marrugeku I’ll be in their new work called Le denier Appel which will premier in Sydney at Carriageworks, then go on to Noumea and Europe.

NEWS The recipient of the 2018 Award, choreographer Melanie Lane’s work, PERSONAL EFFIGIES was performed by Melanie Lane and Chris Clark with music by Chris Clark and costume design by Paula Levis and is described as a synthesis of constructed bodies for a singular body, drawing from avatars, puppets, dolls and effigies. Dance Writer chats to Melanie Lane about her win. 

Congratulations Melanie Lane on being the recipient of the 2018 Keir Choreographic Awards! Did you have high hopes of winning or was it quite a surprise for you? ML: Thank you! Indeed, it was very much a surprise for me. It is an unusual and challenging context to make and present work in. As artists, we are not used to processing all the emotions and pressures that surface when we are working within the context of competition. During the making of this work I tried to let go of the competition aspect, and as a result, I focused on creating a very personal and quiet work, that I certainly didn’t expect to be a ‘competition winner’. I also had great admiration for the other creations, and so was very much prepared to celebrate the work of my peers. Describe what your choreographic work PERSONAL EFFIGIES would look like to someone who may not have seen this piece before? ML: Personal Effigies is essentially a solo created specifically for my own body in dialogue with musician Clark. We have a long history of working together, PE is the 11th work we have collaborated on. It is the first work in which Chris plays a live score. He plays the Cello on stage, with various effects pedals which create a kind of looped mantra that develops in waves over 20 minutes. I like to think of his performance as the backbone of the work that builds a linear space in which a very eclectic dance happens. My dance is a journey of five ‘constructed bodies’ that are drawn from very personal histories embedded in my body. I use elements like face paint, a mirror, seashells and an elaborate costume to seek out echoes, transformations, and amplifications of my body through different lenses. I visit each ‘constructed body’ like station-hopping, very simply becoming each avatar one after the other. The final avatar is a reimagined masked dance, which is an ode to my Javanese ancestors but also an act of disappearance and perhaps even death.

2018 KEIR CHOREOGRAPHIC AWARDS What was the creative stimulus for PERSONAL EFFIGIES? I was interested in creating a solo work after having created a number of works that share the stories of ‘other’ bodies. I was curious about how the personal history of a singular body can project a multitude of representations and potential narratives. I saw this as an opportunity to reflect on the physical archive that I have embedded in my body and as a result discover some of the personal, political, cultural and fantastical narratives that we may all encounter in various complex ways. These narratives manifested into five physical archetypes. One of these visited my performance archive from my childhood until present. Another found a lens to reflect on and transform my experience of my mother's disability of polio. Another meditates on the impossibility of returning to the ‘natural’ body. The final archetype re-imagines a return to my Javanese heritage. Read the full interview at

BEHIND THE CURTAIN: THE GREATEST SHOWMAN'S AUSSIE CHOREOGRAPHER ASHLEY WALLEN The Greatest Showman is an award-winning original musical film that features a lot of Australian cast and crew. The leading male Hugh Jackman is one of our favourite Aussie actors, plus the director of The Greatest Showman is Aussie, and so is the choreographer. The Greatest Showman transports audiences back to the real persona of P.T Barnum—a family man who turned his misfortune into a circus of success, via questionable means. He became renowned for creating ‘The Greatest Show on Earth,’ featuring unusual acts, animals and more all under one gigantic tent. The choreography is one of the most raved-about qualities of this movie. The movements appear to be a mixture of Broadway, jazz, and hip-hop, adding in a more ‘modern pop isolations’ vibe to the circus arena. Australian choreographer of The Greatest Showman Ash Wallen has managed to dazzle audiences across the globe with his creative talent and collaborative energy.

"I always wanted to get into choreography!" said TGS choreographer Ash Wallen. “It is amazing to know that so many people have watched The Greatest Showman and love the choreography. When you see all the different people from around the world doing the choreography of ‘This Is Me,’ it’s really special,” said choreographer Ash Wallen. “It was a combined effort getting all the choreography perfect with the amazing cast of dancers on the film,” he added. Ash Wallen is a young, on-trend choreographer and dancer originally from the Gold Coast. He began training under Robert Sturrock and Julie Jobson before moving to Melbourne at age 17. In the same year, he landed a gig to be on tour with Kylie Minogue and spent his 18th birthday on the road. This experience led him to feature in Baz Luhrmann‘s Moulin Rouge before relocating to London to pursue a career in dance. Over in the UK, Ash was lucky enough to be offered a choreographic gig for a Sugababes video clip. While on set, Ash worked with The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey. 

Throughout Ash’s career, he and Michael have collaborated ever since, with Ash laughing, “We’ve ended up working together for the last 17 years!” "I always wanted to get into choreography as I used to do it all the time, whether it was teaching a class or just making up my own routines,” Ash said. Working on set every day with Zac Efron, Hugh Jackman and Zendaya are perks of the job, but it is not always easy for the choreographer of a huge film. Not only is there a lot of pressure to remain highly creative, but it is also the choreographer’s responsibility to ensure all dancers and actors are safe to perform those movements. One of the most memorable scenes in the film is the rope swinging romance number featuring Zen and Zac. As they attempt to ‘Rewrite The Stars,’ Ash’s main concern is their safety.


BEHIND THE CURTAIN: THE GREATEST SHOWMAN'S AUSSIE CHOREOGRAPHER “The only challenge on set was [ensuring] the cast members were safe doing such technical choreography and stunts. Because it is a musical, everything is timed right to the second. Getting the timing perfect while having to fly around the ring and then sing at the same time is a lot,” explained Ash Dressing choreography on Hugh Jackman was much easier for Ash and director Michael because all three of them have worked together previously on a TV commercial. Ash choreographed a Lipton Iced Tea TVC featuring Hugh Jackman and an entire dancing ensemble running wild in a Tokyo hotel. The commercial is highly mapped-out and choreographed with care, and almost parallels the choreography to The Greatest Showman. “Having worked with Hugh before, I think it is about choreographing what works for him and then what fits well with the music. We would workshop different styles and try a whole lot of different stuff until we found what really worked,” said Ash.


"Working with someone as iconic as Kylie is great because she very much knows what she wants and it always turns into a very collaborative process. Shooting a new video always has added pressure to it and we have to get so much done in such little time but I love working under that kind of pressure,” smiled Ash. Ash admitted working in the UK and US has offered him so many perks and learning curves. “You come across so many other talented Australian performers in those countries. Our director for The Greatest Showman is an Aussie and I must like working with Aussies (Kylie, Hugh),” Ash laughed.

Yet, The Greatest Showman is just one of the many achievements for young Ash Wallen—and certainly something further from his domain. Ash has always been known in the commercial space for television gigs, music videos, and popstar tours. He has also choreographed the all-star cast of Finding Your Feet, which came out around the same time as The Greatest Showman as well as Kylie Minogue’s latest UK performances for her new single ‘Dancing’.

“Doing an original musical was definitely a dream come true and one to tick off the bucket list!”

INSIDE UNDRGRND: WHERE PERFORMANCE MEETS PARTY Say goodbye to the underaged, and hello to UNDRGRND. The Melbourne dance industry will steer from teen jazz hands and ballet slippers to make way for the hottest, steamiest, stickiest night of dance on April 6 at TRAK Lounge Nightclub in Toorak. 

" We have a show ready to entertain,” - Jayden Hicks

Both familiar and fresh-faced choreographers will be hitting the stage with their works as well as professional dancers strutting their stuff. There will be special guests, top DJs, industry professionals as dancers from Ballroom, commercial, hip-hop and contemporary backgrounds all gathered in the one room. Choreographers include Kallee Richardson, Dom Cowden, Jordan Charles Herbert, Freya List, Daniel Jaber, Casey Chellew and many more.  UNDRGRND was founded by Transit Dance directors Chris Curran and Paul Malek in 2011 with the idea to merge performance and party by hosting a platform for young choreographers to stage their pieces. The creative team welcomes Jayden Hicks as the event producer for 2018 who claims the turn out this year will exceed expectations.  “I am so excited about the growth of UNDRGRND in 2018. This has become such a celebrated event within the Melbourne dance industry. This year we are expecting a crowd bigger than ever before! We have a show ready to entertain,” said Jayden Hicks.  Yvette Lee is leading the charge as UNDRGRND’s special guest. She has put the opening act together to ensure audiences are dazzled from the very start. According to Yvette, UNDRGRND is one of the first Melbourne events to showcase talent in a social setting.  “Until UNDRGRND was conceived there was not a platform for emerging choreographers to put their work onto stage or a community event of this scale in Melbourne that brought our industry together,” said Yvette.  “I have always supported this event, as I believe it is a very important platform on both an artistic level and also on a social one. UNDRGRND is a time where we can all come together and celebrate each other’s creativity and spend some social time together!” 

INSIDE UNDRGRND: WHERE PERFORMANCE MEETS PARTY Yvette will be flying to Melbourne for UNDRGRND from New Zealand where she has been choreographing a musical ‘Candide,” which has just opened in Auckland. “I have been rehearsing this during the day and by night have been Skyping into Manila where I have had the amazing Travis Khan auditions there for me for a musical I am choreographing there later this year,” told Yvette. Among the fresh-faced choreographers is Transit Dance full-time student Dom Cowden. She has never performed in UNDRGRND before but she has presented one of her choreographic works in Dance Architect—another initiative by the same creative team of UNDRGRND and Transit. “This year UNDRGRND had over 80 applicants, so to be one of 30 selected just blew my mind. I am confident with my piece, I think it definitely shows my own particular style combined with the flair of my dancers, which makes for what I believe a really great piece,” said Dom, smiling. Her premiere commercial piece ‘Look’ focuses the idea of confidence and how everyone uses their confidence to either boost one’s self or deflate it. Her dancers include Cassidy Richardson, Charlotte Robins, Flynn Miller, Giulia Abate, Keely Warrack, Lachlan Purcell, Oliver Sievers, Violet Argirov and herself. “The style is a funky mix between pop, house, and rap, which on paper sounds odd but trust me, this mix is like no other,” said Dom. UNDRGRND will feature many leaders in the industry to give newcomers the perfect social opportunity to network and promote themselves. Yvette Lee has had a highly successful choreographic career in television, theatre and film, from Dancing with Stars, X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent, Dance Hero Japan, Asia’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, The Big Music Quiz, China’s Next Top Model, Nickelodeon Kids, ARIA awards and so much more. Yvette stresses that all budding choreographers must look to utilise a mentor who has preceded them. "I can’t emphasise enough the importance of mentors and learn from the people who came before you. I will always be so thankful to my mentors for transitioning me from a dancer into a choreographer, the information they armed me with to move forward into this job has been invaluable,” advised Yvette. To come along to the hottest dance event of the year go to

" I will always be so thankful to my mentors for transitioning me from a dancer into a choreographer,” Yvette.


CELLOPOINTE UNIQUE MARRIAGE OF MUSIC AND DANCE BY SANDRA KLUGE CelloPointe unites high-quality chamber music with sensible choreographies in a unique concert setting that makes music and dance blossom together.

What started as a duo project between Peter Wiley, a Grammy-nominated cellist, and his daughter Dona, who is a dancer and choreographer, became the nationally touring company that is CelloPointe. It is being led by executive director, mother, wife, and cellist Marcia Wiley. In CelloPointe’s special concert structure, collaborative musician and dancer pieces alternate with chamber music interludes in which the musicians are on stage by themselves. That way, dance and music receive equal recognition, which makes it a multisensory treat for chamber music and dance connoisseurs alike. It also makes a big difference in the artistic process:

“All of the artists in our company need to feel each other, breathe together, and react in the moment. That is what makes CelloPointe a truly unique experience”, executive director Marcia Wiley says. The fact that dance nowadays is being dominated by the use of prerecorded music – think iPods in class, playbacks at performances, or electronically produced music videos – may cause a lack of musical sensibility in dancers. Wiley expresses that through their work with CelloPointe, the dancers have gained more versatility and flexibility in musical matters. continue...


ARTICLE BY SANDRA KLUGE The outstanding quality of the musicians and dancers is definitely one of the core factors of CelloPointe’s success. The company’s work is not so much about creating cutting-edge choreography, as much as it is about truly interweaving dance and music, about “being together, looking at each other, and communicating,” Wiley explains. The choreographers that are chosen to create work for the company are ones that are able to illustrate the music very well. Fostering this kind of connection between musicians and dancers is one of the key objectives that Wiley has in mind for the company. A cellist herself, she loves that in a chamber music ensemble, the players get to know each other very well in the process. The energy within a quartet, for instance, is far different from the anonymity of an entire orchestra, because everyone is communicating with each other all the time, “everyone has a voice in the ultimate outcome.” 

It is not only about the musical communication, but also about listening to and looking at each other when playing together. It might even get “very personal when you get to know a group that well.” Their latest concert at the Manhattan Movement And Arts Center on March 25 featured works by choreographers David Fernandez, Barry Kerollis, Gabrielle Lamb, and Patrick O’Brien, as well as musical collaborations with bassist Michael Franz and violinist Kobi Malkin. The alternation of choreographies with music interludes makes the pacing of the show feel effortless and gives it an organic flow. Hearing the musicians tune their instruments before and in-between pieces immediately create a concert atmosphere. As the musicians enter the stage, they fill the room with positive energy, welcoming the audience with kind words.

Dance performances, especially in the ballet and contemporary realm, can be quite abstract and visceral sometimes. Having the music be played live on stage provides a very relatable reason for the movement to emerge. It feels as if the dance becomes physically tangible, with musicians and dancers breathing, swaying, and flowing together. From the first note on, the exceptional quality of all musicians and dancers cannot be ignored. The dynamic violin playing of Kobi Malkin makes us aware that dancers are not the only ones that are physically moved by the music. Michael Franz makes playing the bass seem effortless, as he vivaciously bows and plucks the strings. It is obvious that cellist Peter Wiley is an experienced musician, but that does not prevent him from playing music with youthful enjoyment and a recurring twinkle in his eye. The charismatic piece by young choreographer Patrick O’Brien is set to an almost ambient score

CELLOPOINTE BY SANDRA KLUGE for cello and bass. The spheric soundscape provides a fertile soil for the captivatingly organic movement, which evokes the association of the soloist moving through a mystical forest. David Fernandez’ choreography to Beethoven variations from the Magic Flute is a nicely paced piece that explores the different group dynamics within a trio. “Traci sets the rules, Dona develops them and Anne unites them. Traci moves with the cello line [while] Dona and Anne are on the violin journey, uniting for the lively coda.” This hints yet again at the interconnectedness of music and dancing in the creative work of CelloPointe. Inspired by the Golden Record that Voyager 1 transported into outer space, Gabrielle Lamb’s choreography to Bach’s Dances for a Small Planet transports us into a world of wonder. The two dancers utilize simple gestures, especially the recurring motive of pointing fingers, as a powerful tool to make an invisible object of attention seem tangible. The last dance piece of the show, choreographed by Barry Kerollis to Undecidedly Solo by Zoltan Kodaly, leaves us with a strong impression of the company’s musical sensitivity on all fronts. The three dancers float atop, between, in, and out of the score. Unexpected turns and pauses in the music paired with “spontaneous onstage decisions” keep the dancers actively engaged with the musicians in a way that would be impossible to recreate with prerecorded music.

CelloPointe’s concept makes for a truly cohesive, and thoroughly enjoyable concert/dance experience. It reminds us that art, after all, cannot be tied down to just one genre, but rather, and ideally, unites different means of expression that reflect the multifacetedness of the emotions we encounter in our human experience.

TRIPLICITY BY SPARK YOUTH DANCE COMPANY ON SALE NOW Triplicity is Spark Youth Dance Company’s newest show, featuring contemporary works from three emerging choreographers at Melbourne’s Meat Market from April 6. Spark Youth Dance Company is in its prime with more works and performances than ever before. The company—comprising of only savvy creatives from across the arts industry under the age of 25— come together to perform magic. Spark Youth Dance Company’s artistic director Alex Dellaportas is charging the performance field by providing endless opportunities to budding young dancers, musicians, lighting designers, fashion designers and more. Now, she has given two lucky emerging choreographers a platform to perform their 20-minute pieces. Triplicity is an evening of choreographic brilliance— where the young minds of choreographers Jacinta Martorella and Tahlia Klugman showcase the inner workings of their imagination. Jacinta Martorella will be premiering her contemporary piece Recess, which is a collection of ideas surrounding the word ‘play’. Underneath a world of entanglement lies the uncomplicated minds of our youth. Tahlia Klugman will be premiering her oceanic contemporary work Sea Shadow, which dives into the rippling sea landscape while playing with shades of light and darkness. The other choreographic piece is created by Spark’s leading lady Alex Dellaportas. Her work ‘Weight’ explores the physical, mental TRIPLICITY – A TRIPLE BILL OF CONTEMPORARY DANCE Friday 6th April 7.30pm Saturday 7th April 1pm and 7.30pm DURATION:  1 hour 20mins with two 10-minute intervals



LUCY JANE DOHERTY Lucy, you’ve recently been in a TVC for Mersynofen.

Tell me about your role with Energetiks!

Congratulations! It is so exciting that you have been able to put dance into mainstream entertainment.

I love the Energetiks team! I first met them last year as

What was it like on set?

they are the main sponsors for The Dream Dance Company and came in to watch a few rehearsals for the

Thankyou! I have done a little TV work before but this

show we were doing ‘Enter The Vortex’ with Sarah

was my first time doing a TV Commercial. Being on set


was a really cool experience, super relaxed though a little bit daunting being that I was the only person in

They approached me to be a face in their campaign for

front of the camera with a crew of maybe 30-40 people!

their Dance Teacher’s line ‘Atelier’ last year so I was

The choreography was created in two rehearsals

lucky enough to get to go to Melbourne to do the shoot

beforehand with Joel Rassmussen & Rowena Villar who

for the campaign and online catalogue as well! I love

run JTown entertainment. It was a really great process

wearing their clothes as they are such great quality, so

working with them as they are both lovely people to

comfortable and also made in Australia, which is so

work with & were really accommodating to utilising the


ways I naturally like to move. You are a member of the Dream Company. Explain How has dance shaped your life? 

Marko’s creative process that enables such beauty and precision of movement to occur. What has been your

Dance has made my life so beautiful! It allows me to

fondest memory from TDC so far?

connect with myself and others in deep and powerful ways. I find I am always drawn back to contemporary

I first got involved with The Dream Dance Company last

dance because I love the freedom and expressive

year as part of the cast for Sarah Boulter’s ‘Enter The

nature of it. When I am creating I generally always start

Vortex’. I think each creative process has been different

from the core—the meaning and intention of the piece

for each cast and show because every show has utilised

whether that is a certain feeling I want to express or

a different choreographer. I absolutely loved working

story that I want to share. I try to visualise the concept

with Sarah and learned so much from the process. She

as much as possible first and then lastly I work on

is so kind and so beautiful but has a way of demanding

creating and refining the movement.  

so much from her dancers—we worked so hard! And always had things to keep working on and keep improving, which I loved!



LUCY JANE DOHERTY This year the process for ‘Untold’ is completely different

continued guidance and support for dancers after they

but still amazing! There is no one choreographer, Marko

have graduated full-time training – offering classes with

is directing the show and the movement is being created

inspiring industry guests who specialise in the practical

in a more collaborative way with everything being

as well as mental & emotional tools for sustaining

overseen creatively by Marko, Cat Santos & Rob McLean.

longevity within an often uncertain industry. As well as

opportunities for emerging creative’s to develop ideas

It’s a much more intimate show with more solo and duo

for projects and shows they are looking to create, in the

pieces where the dancers really get to tell our own

hopes of generating more work for dancers within

stories within the ways we each love to move. It feels

Australia in the near future.

really comfortable but also at the same time we are getting pushed outside of our comfort zones to

This year Rob and I have started a weekly training and

showcase different sides of ourselves as well!

creative program called “More Than Movement,” which we are absolutely in love with. We work with the same

You and your partner Rob are working side by side to

group of dancers once a week, with intensive training

bring One Dance Collective into the spotlight. How

plus we also work together to develop a different

has this evolved since its inception after your

creative project with the group each term.  

mother sadly passed? The overall message of everything that we are doing Yes, One Dance Collective originally stemmed from a

with One Dance Collective—even since the beginning

show I created titled “One” in honour of my mother who

with the show—is that we are not separate. We all love

passed away from breast cancer just over three years

the same thing which is dance, so why not support

ago. I was so moved by the community support that got

each other as much as we can in pursuit of our personal

behind the project & helped me fund and tour that show

dreams and goals.

around the country & I wanted to keep the name as a platform to continue supporting other dancers after all

Yes, we sell tees as well! They are limited edition and

the support I received. One Dance Collective has

usually sell out pretty fast! You can keep up to date with

organically evolved over the last few years as a support

our next release by following @onedancecollective on

network for people pursuing a career in dance – we run

social media!

programs and creative developments that offer

BANDTHERAPY THE NEW INJURY PREVENTION APPROACH FOR DANCERS Former professional dancer Zac Jones has combined his research of dance, Pilates, martial arts and somatic therapy to create a new conditioning approach using bands to suspend the body.  BandTherapy is a recently conceived conditioning approach specifically targeted at dancers and martial artists with the aim of preventing injury. The formula is designed to give muscles a release while still being able to perform effectively.  “The purpose of the BandTherapy approach is to allow the body to experience a similar feeling of buoyancy as it would in water,” said founder Zac Jones.  “This has the effect of decompressing muscular tension in the body and allowing movements to literally float.”  Founder Zac Jones completed extensive research surrounding the concepts of human movement while gaining a Masters qualification at VCA in Fine Arts majoring in Choreography.  Zac trained full time at the Australian Ballet School to become a professional classical and contemporary dancer in the industry. 

"ONCE THE FEELING OF FLOATING IS ADDED AND THE BODY FEELS SAFE, IT NATURALLY BECOMES INNOVATIVE AND FINDS NEW POSSIBILITIES" He had a substantial career with the Queensland Ballet and Expressions Dance Company, toward the end of his career, he felt he could never reach a certain point of technical excellence. He decided to semi-retire from professional dance to discover new passions such as Pilates and martial arts. He reached a second-degree black belt in Yoshinkan Aikido as well as studying Tai Chi and Kung Fu. To his surprise, he discovered alternative methods to achieving technical excellence by fusing basic techniques from his passions.  Zac found that when dancers tense their muscles during movement, it is predominantly superficial. That kind of tension blocks the body from moving with its original intention. Zac realised that if he discovered a way for the human body to release any unnecessary tension, then he could move as freely as he wished while not exerting all his energy. “The realisation I have had from training intensively at a high level is that this devotion to perfecting a particular skill needs to be equally balanced by experiential knowledge and understanding of your body prior to technique.  This allows you to put 'the feel before the ideal’ and find a way into technique that is safe and appropriate for your own body,” explained Zac. 

The method behind BandTherapy is quite simple. He adopts an anti-gravity suspension system that uses extension bands grasped to each joint to help completely suspend and relax the limbs. Each band connection can then be easily manipulated by Zac’s gentle movements (like a puppet master) to release tension. The relaxation process is generally done on a Pilates table or is used on a door if doing a range of motion movements. The general consensus after being suspended is that the body looks and feels accurately placed, and can perform movements with greater ease. Zac’s passion for helping people recover from injury has created many success stories, particularly with those who have suffered from injury. He stresses that everyone already has the tools to create breakthroughs.  “Once the feeling of floating is added and the body feels safe, it naturally becomes innovative and finds new possibilities,” said Zac.   If you do not have the time to come into the city for your training session with Zac, he also offers a home training program where you can attach the suspension system to your door. To find out more go to

SHATTER GOES ON THE ROAD: SPARK YOUTH DANCE COMPANY ON SALE NOW Spark Youth Dance Company is touring their show ‘Shatter’ around the suburbs of Melbourne in midApril after months of rehearsals coordinating an orchestra and a savvy, youthful cast. Spark Youth Dance Company recently performed a historical account of the 1900s Suffragettes movement through contemporary dance with a cast of entirely young people. The lyrical performance is based on a true event of the British suffragette movement, focusing in on groups like the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Now six months later, Spark Youth Dance Company brings its premier tour of ‘Shatter’ to the outer suburbs of Melbourne, including Geelong and Narre Warren. Spark’s artistic director Alex Dellaportas is the choreographic mind behind ‘Shatter’. Because most of the performers are as young as eight and no older than 25, Alex decided to marry dance with historical education. That was when she came up with this 90minute piece to salute the female rioters and to also shatter ageist expectations of what youth can and cannot perform. Working in harmony with the current world movement to close the gender gap #TimesUp, Alex’s contemporary work could not be more relevant. “I loved the feminist element to the story when we first choreographed ‘Shatter’ and now I am loving that most of our cast would be able to stand up and give a 30-minute presentation on who the Suffragettes were and what they did. Education through dance is something we are very proud of with this work!” said director and choreographer Alex Dellaportas.

The show’s choreography has been tweaked with fresh transitions while cast members are working to invest themselves into the character using acting techniques. Director Alex said it has been an emotional and vibrant roller coaster. “Looking at Shatter again in preparation for our tour has allowed me to step back and really make connections between the story and my own life,” Alex said. Being on tour is a company first for Spark. Alex felt, ‘Shatter’ was the perfect entry show to break boundaries. Yet like all shows, the ride to re-staging a dance piece with a full orchestra and a youthful cast has not been easy. “We’ve been working round the clock this term to make it happen and with two seasons within two weeks of each other it has been challenging to say the least!” she said. “I just can’t wait for that moment when the curtain rises and our young cast hold their breath side stage as the orchestra plays their first notes. That moment right there is why I do what I do,” added Alex. The show follows the character Rosie, who is desperately trying to get past her fears and leave an old version of herself behind. Society pushes against her when she abandons her family to become a Suffragette. “There is this one scene at the end of act one that relates to all of us when we’ve had to make a decision to leave something or someone behind holding us back. That decision to finally trust ourselves and believe in our own voice…represents being brave enough to quiet the two warring sides of yourself and go all in on who you really are in your heart,” Alex smiled. If you are a history buff, or a believer in equal rights, a ‘muso’ or even just a fan of contemporary dance, then this is the show for you! ‘SHATTER’ TOUR: Wednesday April 11th Bunjil Place, Narre Warren Saturday April 14th Geelong Performing Arts Centre


TEAGAN AND SAM RYBKA (AKA THE RYBKA TWINS) Congratulations on being in the Jordan Matter 10 Minute Dance Challenge! Was it everything you expected it to be? 
 It was everything and more! We honestly had the best day! We're kind of used to performing acrobatic tricks on rough surfaces because we're always taking photos here there and everywhere so it didn't really bother us at all. The school kids were so crazy! We were so humbled with their excitement they showed for us to be visiting their school with Jordan. How did you feel meeting Jordan for the first time? Were you both nervous or excited? We were more excited than nervous. We hit it off with Jordan straight away. He's exactly like he is in his videos! He's crazy, fun and so passionate!  

You got to shoot with Faith Ward who is also from Perth. How was it collaborating? It was so awesome! Faith's 10 minute photo challenge looked amazing and it was so cool to be apart of it! Can't wait to see it go live on Jordan's YouTube channel!

You have a YouTube channel which has truly taken off! We are so overwhelmed with the response we've received on our YouTube channel! It honestly inspires us to keep going and training hard to be the best we possibly can be! 

Where did you train?

How do you do your videos for any budding young YouTuber?

We started Acro when we were just three-years-old and then dancing at the age of five. We trained at the Debra McCulloch Dance Academy for 13 years and are now taking classes at Kalamunda Performers where we've been teaching acrobats with our mum for quite a few years. We haven't ever done as many contact hours as people might think but we definitely make up for it with all the practice we do at home. We've been really lucky to have such a talented mum who has helped us so much over the years with our dancing and acrobats. We wouldn't be where we are today without her!

We edit our own videos! As we post 2 videos a week (One on our personal channel & one on Squared {A channel just for twins}) one of us will edit the video for our channel and the other will edit the Squared video. We're so lucky to have a videographer which is actually our amazing mum and we all come up with the concepts together. One of us might come up with a particular idea and then we all brainstorm and nut it out together. We make a great team! All videos are different! Some of them take no time at all and others take days. They catch us by surprise sometimes!


Congratulations on winning the 10minute challenge! Did you find it challenging creating movements on the spot in random locations? Thanks! Not really! I tried to think of things before the shoot and I've done lots of shoots with Lisa from Cloud Dancer Photography before so that helped, but once I started I forgot everything I planned and adrenaline just kicked in! How did you enjoy meeting Jordan Matter? Literally, a dream come true! I was nervous, I mean he's amazing and has worked with the most incredible dancers, but he was so lovely and fun, which made me feel totally comfortable.  

Describe your dance training growing up. I'm from New Zealand where I danced with Suzanne Hazlewood from the age of two. We moved to Perth just under four years ago, and since then, I've danced under Cameron Gibson at Smash Dance Company. I do all styles but would say lyrical, contemporary, jazz and acrobatics are my favourites. Just before I left New Zealand, I performed in the musical Annie when the UK toured New Zealand— it was the best experience. I have won a lot of titles along my journey as a dancer and am very lucky to work alongside some amazing companies. In 2016 and then again in 2017, I was named KAR and Rainbow Dance Competitions’ ultimate teen Australian dancer, winning me trips to America! I traveled with them over the Christmas period to Los Angeles and head back over there in June! 

Your instagram is ‘flexi’ Faith. Can you give us some insider tips on how you became so flexible? I am naturally flexible especially in my legs and we think I have double jointed hips as I can do weird things that shouldn't be possible. My back wasn't always as flexible so I started cheer at 10-years-old and wanted a needle (scorpion) so I stretched everyday until I got it and really have just kept it up from there! You are super gracious. How do you stay so humble? Aw, thank you! I think my mum and my teacher (aka dance dad Mr Cameron) keep me very grounded. They always tell me straight up how it is. I’m always grateful for the amazing opportunities I have been given and for all the beautiful people in my life that support me




My daughters sashayed into their new dance studio,

Ms Fry maintains that “Children who have a natural

giggling and wide-eyed, excited to begin their new

drive to achieve are highly susceptible to self-criticism

adventure. I followed, nervous smile fixed in place,

and comparisons to others. When this is reinforced by

uncomfortable and completely out of my depth. Visions

their parents, it can have a marked psychological impact

of pointe shoes, tiaras and sparkly costumes filled my

on their long-term identity and self-worth.”

head. What is this world we’re about to enter? My job, therefore, is to support my kids; to encourage Dance has taught me so much about the importance of

their dreams and listen to their fears. To give them a

taking care of the kids’ physical and mental wellbeing.

cuddle and reassure them when they don’t place in a

The dancers want to learn, practice, and do well in their

comp solo after working hard for months, or when they

exams and competitions. They push themselves to be

can’t master a step, or turn the wrong way in a

better at their chosen art. This level of drive is amazing

performance. I am not there to push, criticise and

to witness.


But we have to be careful. It’s so easy for kids to get lost

When my eldest son started playing representative

in a world of perfectionism and trophy collection.

basketball, a more experienced parent gave me some

Melbourne-based clinical psychologist, Courtney Fry,

great advice.

often sees clients in their late teens and early twenties who come from an elite dance/sports background. The

“After a game, don’t talk about it. Don’t criticise the refs

childhood success stories become adults weighed down

or the other players. Don’t point out where your own

by self-doubt and anxiety.

kid went wrong. He already knows. Just listen and let him know how proud you are of him for playing the

“High parental expectation and criticism play a huge

game.” I

part in this process,” said Ms Fry. t is the same in the dance world. By all means, be “When a child feels they have to be good all the time, it

involved and help where you can but leave the teaching

takes away from their passion—their burgeoning

to the teachers. They know when to challenge the

creativity,” she added.

dancer, and when it is time to consolidate their learning



ARE WE NUMBING OUR CHILDREN WITH INSTRUCTION OR NURTURING THEM TO INNOVATION? Kids can tire, especially when they are growing quickly

Like their bodies, the minds must also take time out.

and their bodies are changing. Injuries can occur from

There is pressure to perform at their best at all times.

dancers pushing growing bodies too far. Last year, my

It’s not just remembering choreography, it’s arm

11-year-old injured a tendon in her knee (Sinding Larsen

placement, emotion, the ‘perfect’ costume, connecting

Johansson Syndrome). Her physiotherapist explained it

with their audience, pleasing an adjudicator and, in the

was “an overuse injury common to girls aged 11 to 13”

case of troupe dancers, not letting down the other kids

and that, “when her growth plate fuses, which could

they dance with week after week. This is the world they

take up to two years, she’ll be fine – unless she keeps

choose and love; they know and feel the pressure, they


do not need us to feed it.

My daughter’s problem arose just before her end of

I might be a dance mum, a basketball mum and a

year concert and she couldn’t dance for eight weeks.

school mum but, ultimately, I am a mum. My job is to nurture and care for my children. To look after their

She was devastated but, six months on, her knee is back

best interests and support their dreams. Being involved

to normal. More importantly, she has learned to listen

in their lives is essential, but it’s just as important to let

to her body, be responsible for her recovery plan and is

them find their way, set their own pace and defer to the

conscious of the need to take care of herself.

experts I engage to teach them the things I can’t.

Tania Robins, studio owner, adjudicator and Transit

My role is to be there. I help out around the studio,

Dance lecturer, is concerned with the potential for

showing my kids the importance of being part of a

injury to dancers being pushed too far, too young. A big

community, that working together can achieve great

believer in the safe dance movement, she explains

things. I quietly support, I share their success and dry

“young dancers may be fit enough to try more senior

their tears. I admire their confidence and tenacity. I

choreography, but their muscular/soft tissue

often shed a few tears when I see them perform, not

development may not be ready for advanced steps.”

because they’ve executed the routine properly, but

Tania likes to work in tandem with any specialists her

because they are so brave to be up there in the first

dancers are visiting, ‘From a teacher’s perspective, they


have to be careful not to do things their bodies aren’t ready for.’ She frowns, “It’s a real concern.” Dancers need time to rest, recover and recuperate.

I can honestly say that I’m proud to be a dance mum.



DANCE WRITER AMBASSADOR CHAT Can you believe its Easter already! Which means it’s the

I had the opportunity to perform at the Jump Dance

holidays! We started new grades at School, I got elected as

Challenge Good Friday Appeal fundraiser. It was a

Class Leader, got elected School Faith & Justice Leader, got

wonderful experience and the show was amazing. It was

into the badminton team and Shania got School

great to be able to see so many different dance groups

Performing Arts Leader, AND fitted it into 7 days of dancing

come together, to raise money for such a good cause while

a week. Shania and I both dedicated ourselves to dance

doing something we all love. I was fortunate enough to be

this term and have used every opportunity to grow. We are

able to perform in two routines in the show. It was so

rehearsing around the clock for “Grease – The Arena

lovely to meet all of the Dance Writer ambassadors in our

Spectacular”. It’s going to be a lot of fun and we are looking

rehearsals leading up to the performance, we all worked


really well together, to learn the routine in just two

to it! - Olivia and Shania Nugara

rehearsals. I am looking forward to taking part in more performances coming up this year. - Tayla Williams

March was a busy month for me with lots of dance and

This month I learned my new jazz solo which is to Knock

modelling commitments and a busy school timetable.

On Wood. I love the solo and everything about it. I have

The highlight for me was winning the intermediate

also learnt new troupes including two new hip hops and

combined senior championship at Jump Dance

I can't wait to perform them. I did a fundraiser for

Challenge, Heat 1. This was the first competition for me

Monash Children’s Hospital at St Joseph Primary School

this season and I have to say it has started with a bang.

so many people came to watch and I loved seeing the

The next competition for me is Goodwill Dance Festival

smiles on their faces when we were dancing. Then I

where I will be performing some of my new solos. I also

went to NIPA for my singing lessons and then Alchemy

flew to Sydney this month to model for Tutu Perform

Rehearsals. The next day I had DP reserves class which

Dance Costume 2018 catalogue. I got to model some

was awesome. We focused on jumps and turns. Later

beautiful costumes including ballet, jazz, and lyrical

on that day, I had Masters of Choreography, which is a

themes and was lucky to keep all the costumes I

contemporary dance group. We are doing a show in

modelled as well as all the photos taken of me. It was a

May! - Lani Hirst

really fun experience and I was glad that I could use my dance training to bring these beautiful costumes to life. - Tiana Bilos



DANCE WRITER AMBASSADOR CHAT I danced in the ‘Together we Dance’ showcase raising

Finally, I got back to dance classes and got to start working

money for the Good Friday appeal. I did a Jazz routine with

on our concert routines, I also started a new contemporary

some of the Dance Writer ambassadors we performed

solo with one of my favourite teachers, and I am loving it so

really well! We have had some great guest teachers come

far. The other Dance Writer ambassadors and I had a

into our dance studio. We were lucky enough to have Dr

photo shoot with Diva Dance Photography and this was the

Lisa Ellis from Dance Prescription come and run a

first time I had met any of the other members. I remember

workshop. I was also lucky enough to have a group photo

feeling so nervous to meet them all but now that I have

session with Jordan Matter! What a great experience and

met them, I know that they are such nice, happy and

lots of fun. I am continually learning lots, improving my

talented group of girls. I also found a letter from Diva

technique and gaining more confidence. Plus, now I can

Dance Photography. When I opened the letter I was

enjoy Easter, eat lots of chocolate and the school holidays.

shocked to see that they had sent me a gift card for a

- Milla Watts

photo shoot with them, I was so thankful! - Jess Wardle

I have started training for dance exams, my variations

When Mum told me, that the Dance Writer

for my mid-year performance and also the performance

ambassadors were performing in the “Together we

I am training for with MCYB, ‘Giselle’ as one of the

dance” gala raising money for the Good Friday appeal I

villagers in Act 1. Giselle is a classical ballet with an

was very excited. Mum asked if I knew what the Good

unfortunate tragic ending and is beautiful to watch, and

Friday appeal was. I had to admit I never really knew

also very tiring for us dancers. This is purely because if

what it’s about. Every Easter since I was born, we go on

you are in act one you have to stay on stage and just

a family camping trip with no tv, phone or radio. The

dance for the entire time until intermission. In

only thing I knew, was that no matter where I was, the

preparation for this, I train for eight hours every second

Easter bunny would always find me. So we researched

Sunday and one week straight in the school holidays to

exactly what it was all for. It was heartbreaking, thinking

help prepare us for the performance; while trying to

about how every day I get to do what I love and many

balance everything else in-between. I was most lucky

children spend days, weeks and sadly months in a

this month to also participate in a performance

hospital. Thank you, Jessica, for being a dance writer

workshop held by my dance school. Overall it was really

ambassador I learned something very valuable that not

helpful as I learned a lot of things that I will definitely

everyone is as fortunate. I am so proud that through my

use for upcoming performances and exams. I can’t wait

love of dance I was able to help raise much-needed

for all my performances not just with my dance schools

money. “Give that they may grow” so hopefully they too

but with dance writer as well. - Felicity Palma

can do what they love in the future. -Lara Green



DANCE WRITER AMBASSADOR CHAT This month for me has been AMAZING! I not only got to meet Jordan Matter but was part of his amazing photography with Dance Prescription. I competed in Get The Beat Dance Competition and was a top 5 Overall Soloist. I modelled at Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival VAMFF for Seed & LM Bambini (Marni). This was a sensational experience working with a fun production team and meeting lots of new friends.   I danced in the Dance Writer Jazz Team at Together We Dance and raised money for the Good Friday Appeal. What a great time we all had after only one rehearsal for me, I think we smashed it. GO JESS & THE DANCE WRITER AMBASSADORS! - Sharnika Chamberlain

What I loved about the month the most was dancing at Jump Dance Challenge Showcase with my amazing Dance Writer family, while raising money for a good cause, the Good Friday appeal. We did so well in our dance even though we had only two lessons on it! It was so nice to hang out and spend some time with all the beautiful ambassadors I had a ball! And while spending time with them it made me realise how lucky I am to be a dance writer ambassador and be apart of the amazing organisation, thanks so much Jess for organising our dance with your OUTSTANDING choreography! And on the night, we raised over $12,000! I was so happy I could be apart of that. Meanwhile, at my dance school, we also attended a fundraiser at St Joseph’s primary school raising money for the Monash children’s hospital! There was rides, competitions, and much more!I had so much fun dancing with my troupe, and I even got to say a little speech on behalf of my dance school! I had a great time with my

I had the amazing opportunity to dance with the rest of

dance friends and had heaps of fun going on rides with

the Dance Writer Ambassadors in the Together We

them. Also at dancing, in the last week of term, we had an

Dance, Good Friday Appeal, sponsored by Jump Dance

Easter raffle and dressed up in crazy colours to also raise

Challenge! The Dance Writer Team had 2 rehearsals

money for the Good Friday appeal! I was so happy to win

before we had to go on stage which was slightly nerve-

an Easter basket with heaps of good treats inside!

racking but was so much fun! We learned a bright and

And while all that was happening I also had a very busy

fun jazz routine. I was lucky enough to be a part of the

month at school! At school, I was working very hard

opening for it. which I was so grateful for. I really

towards my school production and can’t wait to perform it!

enjoyed those rehearsals because as everyone danced

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Easter! - Maddison

together we all became closer and started to get to


know each other better. On the day of the showcase, I was really nervous but so excited to be on stage again and with a bunch of amazing people and dancers. I was also able to meet some of the other incredible dancers dancing with other troupes. Everyone was so lovely and had such a positive energy when it came to dancing and talking to one another. - Hayley Ellis

DANCE WRITER April Issue 03, Volume 1 2018  

This month is jam-packed with big names including The Greatest Showman choreographer Ash Wallen, Australia's Energetiks model Lucy Doherty a...

DANCE WRITER April Issue 03, Volume 1 2018  

This month is jam-packed with big names including The Greatest Showman choreographer Ash Wallen, Australia's Energetiks model Lucy Doherty a...