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JULY EDITION ISSUE 6, VOLUME 1 2018

OLD SCHOOL VS NEW AGE DANCE TEACHING STYLES WHAT'S MORE EFFECTIVE?

SWAN LAKE REVIEW

ST PETERSBURG BALLET THEATRE

INSIDE MAMMA MIA! THE MUSICAL IRINAÂ KOLESNIKOVA Q&A


DANCE WRITER

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RUTH LETCH

JENENE LAND

HAYDEE FERGUSON

Hands on hips, impatiently waving her fairy wand, my dramatic little three-year-old announced that she wanted to go to dance class with her best friend. ‘Sure’, I thought, ‘Sounds like fun.’ Nine years later, she lives and breathes dance. From musical theatre to classical ballet, she loves to perform, her smile lighting up the stage with the pure joy of entertaining.

There are children everywhere with big dreams to be like the movie stars on the silver screen. They desperately want to be just like their idols, to portray different characters, and receive the accolades that come along with it. But, how do they get from sitting at home to being on the big screen?

In 1978 the term RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) was devised by Dr. Gabe Mirkin for the treatment of athletic injuries. 40 years later, a lot more research has been done and it shows ice is actually harming, rather than healing our bodies! Even Dr Mirkin has recently publically stated that his recommendations are outdated! So what do you do in a first aid protocol? BE CALM.

But what if they don’t start dancing until their teenage years?

Dance like no one is watching.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Jessica Poulter

COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Leah Hoffman, Diva Dance Photography

GALA PHOTOGRAPHER Alicia Ruberto, New Dimension Photography

REVIEWERS Jessica Poulter, Ruth Letch, Sandra Kluge (NYC)

COLUMNISTS Sandra Kluge (NYC), Ruth Letch, Sian Corrigan (Paris), Jenene Land and Haydee Ferguson.

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DANCE WRITER

CONTENTS 6    MAMMA MIA Exclusive with the Choreographer

20   Health Advice from The Dancer's Pod

Swan Lake review p. 9

22   Your physiotherapy guide with Haydee Ferguson

4    Editor's Note 6     Mamma Mia - Up close with choreographer Tom Hodgson 8-10     Irina Kolesnikova and St Petersburg Ballet’s Swan Lake: where love conquers all Review 4.5 stars 12     Brianna Taylor The Australian tap star makes new ground in a Los Angeles Tap Company 17 Dance mum perspective: Ruth Letch column Is age a barrier to dance success? 20     The Dancer's Pod column by Jenene Land This year's most-awaited thriller 22   BE CALM - Physiotherapy with Haydee Ferguson Forget RICE, here is the new method to first aid

DANCE WRITER CHARITY GALA 'HER' proudly supporting NBCF Dance Writer's 2nd annual charity gala is fast approaching! Book your tickets at www.gasworks.org.au/events/her

25    Sian Corrigan column 'No Standing Only Dancing' Sian's transition overseas to pursue a dance career 26     Ambassador Chat DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE |  3


A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

Dance Writer is still coming down from hosting a

We have so much to look forward to in this edition,

successful networking day 'How To Be A Dance

with our regular contributors back on board and a

Entrepreneur'. It was truly fabulous to meet like-

new columnist Haydee Ferguson, who is a

minded individuals who want to grow their

physiotherapist. She will be providing much of the

businesses and connect with others in the industry.

health-related content for Dance Writer. We are

We had a flurry of guest speakers discussing the

pleased to have her on board!

power of marketing, branding and what others say about your brand when you are not in the room.

It is with great excitement that we host our annual

The day proved that Dance Writer is more than just

charity gala in August this year proudly supporting

producing content, we are for our community and

National Breast Cancer Foundation. Dancers

for our industry.

Australia-wide flock to perform at this event including the wonderful Lucy Doherty who

Our last edition 'Ode To Breast Cancer Warriors'

tragically lost her mum to breast cancer. We are

was the most heartfelt issue to piece together.

also proud to have KEZRA, Issac Main and Alanna

Writing about so many brave women who had

Davidson as our singers for the evening who are all

innocently tackled one of the world's ferocious

incredible and awe-inspiring in their own right.

diseases was a challenge, but also gave me

Tickets are on sale shortly via gasworks.org.au

strength knowing anything is possible if you have the passion to believe. Many stories had a common theme; that dance truly saved their lives. it just shows how much dance can influence our lives. I would not have started a dance magazine if it

JESSICA POULTER

wasn't for my ongoing passion for the art of dance.

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INSIDE MAMMA MIA: THE CHOREOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE WITH TOM HODGSON

DANCE WRITER PROFILE

by Jessica Poulter

Now, he is the choreographer of Mamma Mia! The Musical where he was approached by director Gary Young asking if he would take the creative position. Mr Hodgson jumped at the opportunity with openness.

Mamma Mia! The Musical starring Sarah Morrison and Natalie O’Donnell comes to Melbourne this July, exerting choreography that is explosive and original. Dance Writer chats to the choreographer of this Australian tour Tom Hodgson. Mamma Mia! The Musical is coming to Melbourne this July after showstopping seasons in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Audiences around Australia have all been completely receptive—particularly towards the choreography. Tom Hodgson is a UK-born performer and choreographer. 

With extensive performance experience in global dance companies including DV8 Physical Theatre, Ricochet Dance Company, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Conny Janssen Danst, Dansity Amsterdam, Lucerne Ballet, Sue Healey and more. As a choreographer, he has worked with productions such as Matilda The Musical (International Associate Choreographer in Korea and in Australia) and Billy Elliot The Musical (International Associate Choreographer Japan and Korea, Resident Choreographer Broadway and Australia). 

Mr Hodgson choreographed the musical to have the same essence as the movie starring Meryl Streep, but also be completely unique and original. “No denying the music plays a massive part in inspiring the movement for the show, it is dramatic and fantastical,” said Mr Hodgson. “I did try to make my work have a contemporary twist and draw on a wider styles,” he added. Mr Hodgson’s explosive and energetic choreography is performed by all the cast including the leads during their vocals. Audiences have truly loved the dynamic movements because it is simple enough to dance along but also complex to challenge the ensemble.

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DANCE WRITER PROFILE

INSIDE MAMMA MIA: THE CHOREOGRAPHIC EXPERIENCE WITH TOM HODGSON “The audiences are really responsive and we have a brilliant cast. The songs are beautifully performed, the show is engaging it is incredibly energetic. I really enjoyed that vibe,” he told Dance Writer. “Everyone is dancing on stage and it just shows off that phenomenal energy, particularly the number Voulez Vous—it is my favourite.” Mr Hodgson encourages his cast to explore new depths in their artistry while in rehearsals. Mamma Mia’s rehearsal period is intense, but he offers the cast to have creative licence and be involved in the creative process. “I allow feedback and ideas from the cast. They are great as we have a dialogue going and it is really exciting. Everyone is keen on being involved in the process and not just being told what to do all the time—its more fun and creative.” Mr Hodgson begs all dancers wanting to be in musical theatre to be open to taking risks and keep working to achieving higher than before. “Take risks, explore every avenue at your disposal, never be satisfied with your first take, always keep looking at your work and aim to really show that story.”

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Irina Kolesnikova "Swan Lake is certainly my signature role." DW: SPBT has been touring Swan Lake internationally for a few years now. How long have you performed as Odette in Swan Lake? IK: Swan Lake is certainly my signature role. Although I also treasure my performances in Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Carmen, Swan Lake has always been and always will be my favourite ballet as it gives me two wonderful characters in one Ballet. Odette and Odile—one soft lyrical character and one fiery, brittle and aggressive—I really love both characters. I first rehearsed and performed the role in 1999 and premiered it in St Petersburg. DW: Have you been to Melbourne before? What are you most excited about coming to Australia? IK: Yes, this is my fifth visit here. Your beautiful city is almost like a second home to me. I dance better when I feel excited about the city I am in; I’m comfortable and that is a great advantage. It helps me get rid of my pre-premiere nerves! What I am excited about is dancing for the first time at the beautiful Princess Theatre—what a perfect place to show off Swan Lake! DW: You are one of the most respected ballerinas in the world. How does this make you feel? IK: Well it’s always nice to know people value your performances and that the hard work off stage is rewarded by applause and positive press reports. My performances are my calling card. I hope everyone comes to see the show and are inspired. I’m now studying to be a teacher so I can pass on my experience in the next phase of my career.

DW: Describe your ballet training — when did you start to dance? IK: My mother tells me that I always danced. I’m now seeing the same thing in my four-year-old daughter. She dances all the time and she’s very musical. My energy was first directed towards ice skating and then to Rhythmic Gymnastics. Finally I was recommended to join the Vaganova Academy in St Petersburg. I did so when I was nine and spent eight years studying at this world famous school. I was fortunate to have a range of teachers from the Mariinsky Theatre to teach and coach me. DW: What can Melbourne audiences expect when they go to see Swan Lake at the Princess? What makes this production special and unique? IK: Ours is a very traditional production. We follow closely the original Petipa/Ivanov choreography. To me, that is the special element. Audiences are seeing the ballet as it was performed over 120 years ago.


ST PETERSBURG BALLET’S SWAN LAKE WHERE LOVE CONQUERS ALL It’s entertaining and entrancing. The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s opening performance of Swan Lake feels impossibly intimate. Kolesnikova’s Odette is divine with her artistry and grace. The strength of Volchkov’s passionate Prince Siegfried is complemented with Kolesnikova’s supple beauty; her arms perfectly portraying her swan’s vulnerability. It is clear Kolesnikova has performed this role many

times before as her transformation between ‘shy Odette’ and the confidently seductive Odile is magical. While the humble Odette bares her soul to her love, Odile is viciously flirtatious with the Prince and the audience alike. These contradictions in character work to convince us —along with Prince Siegfried— to love them both, until the final heartbreaking realisation of betrayal. Throughout this performance, Kolesnikova’s ability to transmit genuine expression is a joy to behold.

The soloists and Corps de Ballet flow beautifully together with seamless transitions. Every dancer’s characterisation of their individual roles serves to fully engage and entertain the audience. What is truly fascinating is the detailed choreography, which embraces symmetry and geometric patterns as the white flurry of dancers flutter the stage in the search for love and freedom. Ferdekov’s Jester’s athleticism and joy radiate to the audience only to be dampened by his evident foreboding of events to unfold in act two. The grandeur and rich tapestry of the palace scenes are intricately juxtaposed with the simple staging of the dancers at the lake. Spectacular palatial textures, colours and costuming are embodied in the complexity of the regal choreography. DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE | 9


ST PETERSBURG BALLET’S SWAN LAKE

WHERE LOVE CONQUERS ALL This extravaganza of celebration foreshadows the fall of the Prince. The choreography builds in tension along with Tchaikovsky’s familiar score. An entrancing crescendo occurs as we watch Odile’s entrapment of Siegfried. Meanwhile, the audience is drawn to silently beg him to recognise the despair of his beautiful and entrancing Odette. Clever use of staging and choreography increase the momentum of the performance, leading the dancers and the audience to

the inevitable final acceptance of Odile and the subsequent heartbreak of the Prince and his true love, Odette. The only recommendation to make this production flawless would be to have an accompaniment by a full orchestra, which is a difficult achievement for an international touring production. However, with or without live instrumentals, I gave in to the raw emotion and gently shed tears.

Simple and romantic, the lake scenes are an absolute stand out. Nikolai Shlein’s use of lighting creates shade and shadow; the soft and almost-surreal backdrop allows us to feel the dancers’ emotion while marvelling at their technique. Odette is beautifully complemented by the cohesion of the corps, painting picturesque memories which will stay with us forever. By Ruth Letch

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Dance Writer chats exclusively to tapping powerhouse Brianna Taylor, the first Aussie accepted into Nick Young's Tap Company...

TAPPING INTO FEMALE POWER: BRIANNA TAYLOR You are a tap sensation not only in Australia but also in Paris and now LA! How does it feel knowing you are the first Australian to be accepted residency to Nick Young’s Rhythmatic Tap Company? I couldn’t be more grateful for these opportunities I’ve had in my career and I am humbled to be apart of Rhythmatic Tap Company and Nick’s vision for our new show ‘On Top of the World’. I’ve been fortunate enough to work and train in the industry overseas and connect with different artists in the tap dance scene and through those connections Nick approached me about a role within the show he was creating and it all happened from there. I have since performed the show on two different occasions with the company, Bermuda earlier this year and recently in LA. We are also set to perform in San Diego and LA in July and August. I am beyond excited to be apart of this company and perform with these incredible artists who inspire me, it is only the beginning for Rhythmatic.   Who taught you how to tap and take it to the next level? 

I grew up in Far North Qld, Mackay, were I first learnt to tap with my teacher, Christine Denny who is an incredible role model for female tap dancers in Australia. My passion for tap dance grew as I started training under the direction of Grant Swift in Melbourne, who has definitely played a big part in shaping my style and understanding of the art form and it’s history. I first took class with Jason Samuel Smith and Chloe Arnold when I was 16 years old and I remember feeling so incredibly inspired and hungry to expand my knowledge. I have since trained in America under some of best in the industry including, Michelle Dorrance, Derick Grant, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Jason Samuel Smith, Chloe Arnold, Jason Janas and Sarah Reich as well as one of the great masters of the art form Dr Arthur Duncan during the LA Tap Festival. I don’t believe you have to start at a certain age to attain a high level of skills in the art form. I believe if you are passionate or hungry enough and willing to learn you will put in the time and practice needed to progress. It does help starting the fundamentals as a child but it certainly doesn’t mean the art form is limited by age; you can definitely pick up tap dancing at anytime!


Tap Sensation Brianna Taylor We don’t see many tap dancers like you so it is great when an Aussie female tapper makes her presence known. Explain how you want to empower other female tappers to make it internationally? Within the industry, particularly in Australia there hasn’t been an enormous amount of opportunities for females in the art form, growing up most of my teachers and mentors were males, and most touring tap shows only had roles available for males. I want other young girls who have the same dream as me when I was growing up to know the possibilities of what they can create and achieve, by not feeling limited and by being that role model for them to look up to. I want to inspire the future generation of young female tap dancers and to create more opportunities for them in the industry, by putting Aussie female tap dancers on the map internationally. How can you add value to the tap industry against some critics say it is a dying style of dance? Tap dance is definitely not a dying art form; in fact it is alive and kicking more than ever. We are seeing a noticeable increase in the amount of tap dancing on Australian stages within the musical theatre industry and more touring tap companies in the country than ever before. With the world of social media I also believe we are seeing tap dancing making it’s mark online and reaching a larger market of people. Tap dance is definitely on the rise and I feel it is only going to increase in popularity.

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You are also a Capezio athlete—congratulations on this role. How does Capezio assist with your journey and support the tap industry on an international scale? I feel so incredibly grateful to represent a brand I believe in so much. I have been wearing Capezio K360 tap shoes my entire professional career and I couldn’t recommend them enough. Capezio is like a family; they have always been there to support me throughout my career by providing me with my favourite custom shoes! It’s amazing to be apart of a global brand that truly believes in the artists they sponsor.

You are coming back to Australia at the end of September to perform in the Aus Tap Dance Festival. Are you excited to bring international knowledge to an Australian audience? I always love being apart of the Australian Tap Dance Festival each year and sharing my knowledge with all of the students. As much as I love performing, I equally love teaching and giving back to the younger generation. Every time I am overseas I feel more and more inspired by the artists I get to work and train with, so as a teacher it’s important to continue to feel inspired by learning and growing; we are forever students of the art form. American tap repertoire focuses strongly on rhythm and musicality as well as the history of the art form, which is what I feel Australia needs to implement in regular classes. Tap dance is a limitless art form and I’m so excited to see how it grows particular in our country with more artists that are continually being innovative and creating new work and opportunities within the industry. 


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Militaristic versus nurturing styles of teaching

HOW TO ENCOURAGE DANCE TECHNIQUE AND GOOD BEHAVIOUR? With a new wave of mental awareness in young people rapidly growing, many question the conduct of ‘old school’ style of teaching where negativity overshadows growth. The conduct of teachers being too negative and terrifying in the studio is a hot debate in the dance industry. Some argue students are learning to respect their teachers out of fear rather than courtesy. The new wave of dance teaching involves nurturing children in a positive environment where they can make mistakes and feel comfortable in the 

room. Yet others argue this style of teaching jeopardises strong technique and encourages bad behaviour. Can we have a fun dance environment with a nurturing approach that motivates children to be strong technical dancers? Studio owner in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula Claire Riley from Dance Division adopts the nurturing approach to teaching. During her dance education growing up, she faced a lot of negative and militaristic type of teaching from most of her instructors. Claire was exposed to different cultures living overseas growing up, yet she found the demanding style of teaching a true eye-opener. “Unfortunately, rather than nurture and encourage students, the common thread with a number of my dance teachers was the “old school” way of teaching – push, put down, focus on the negative, repeat,” Claire told Dance Writer. Dance Division opened in 2011 as a new take over with only 40 students enrolled in jazz and hip-hop. Being the Classical dancer Claire was, she made it her goal to introduce ballet into her school. “I always wanted Dance Division to be a really warm and welcoming place—somewhere the students had heaps of fun but also a place where they learned strong dance technique,” told Claire.


“There used to be this idea that you had to either be a ‘fun recreational’ school or a ‘serious competition’ school. I wanted to bridge the gap. I didn’t see why we couldn’t have fun and produce beautiful dancers with solid technique at the same time.”

Militaristic versus nurturing styles of teaching Enrolments have grown year-on-year and Dance Division now has 230 students. With an own custom-built studio and a second space for concurrent classes, Claire has seen strong growth in her business model and also in her students’ technique. She realised her strict dance training had a significant impact on the way she would approach her teaching style. “I may have had some negative experiences in my journey with dance, however, I feel it was meant to be like that because I can now see for myself the kind of teacher I want to be. Those negative moments have evolved and taken on new meaning for me; they shaped and enabled me to create a beautiful school of incredible people and dancers.” “I heard once that dance was like a hand me down form of art. Each teacher referencing the history of a step but passing on a slightly different take on the choreography, a new way of tackling this position or that enchainment. I love that idea!” added Claire. There are still some schools in Australia that adopt a strict teaching regime, which works for them. Many studies suggest that girls in their mid-teens have significantly lower self-esteem than non-ballet-dancing girls. This is entirely generalised of course, and studies are only applicable to females who do ballet each week and not the other styles. 

"There are two explanations for this. One would be that girls with low self-esteem choose classical ballet because the struggle for perfection reinforces their poor self-image. Another theory says that ballet training subculture can be very detrimental to a young girl's self-esteem because they are constantly being told they are not doing it right and that the body shape issue is very important in classical ballet,” said head of Dance Psychology Lab Peter Lovatt. However, it is not all doom and gloom, particularly in Australia where most teachers have a protocol in place to stop bullying, harassment, negativity or other ways of lowering self-esteem. For example, The Australian Ballet School directed by Lisa Pavane has many protocols in place to suit the type of situation, including an Eating Disorder Intervention protocol, drug, and alcohol programmes, bullying and more.  It is clear that many Australian dance schools are introducing more ‘safe dance’ approaches that help to combat self-esteem issues and anxiety. Initiatives including Keep Kids Safe In Dance are popping up more frequently to help assist with this ongoing issue of self-esteem in our students. “At Dance Division, we certainly strive to make our studio positive at all times!” Claire smiled. If dance teachers are too controlling and not allowing enough creative licence to occur, it could lead to psychological damage and selfesteem issues in students. Despite dance teaching being a reflection on his or her's personality, one thing remains the same; teachers must offer an environment that encourages learning and growth on emotional, mental, social and technical levels.


I STARTED DANCE TOO LATE BUT IT DIDN'T STOP ME FROM SUCCESS Kaitlin Rheanne.

Story by Ruth Letch Hands on hips, impatiently waving her fairy wand, my dramatic little three-year-old announced that she wanted to go dancing class with her best friend. ‘Sure’, I thought, ‘Sounds like fun.’ Nine years later, she lives and breathes dance. From musical theatre to Classical ballet, she loves to perform; her smile lighting up the stage with the pure joy of entertaining. There is something amazing about growing up in the world of dance. Kids learn a diverse range of skills. They attend multiple classes, perform at concerts, enter competitions and work hard as they strive for that often-elusive firstplace trophy. Technique, discipline and correct terminology are taught from the minute they don their first fairy-ballet tutu.

But what if they don’t start dancing until their teenage years? Megan Ibrahim is a successful owner of three Melbourne-based dance businesses. She worked as a dancer throughout Australia and internationally, and now teaches students of all ages in a variety of styles. However, she didn’t experience her first dance lesson —in hip-hop—until she was 16. At 18, Megan started ballet lessons for the first time. Within six months, she was committed to a four-week dance tour in China, auditioning and landing paid roles. While Megan’s background in gymnastics kept her in good stead for the switch to dance, she attributes her success to her determination.

"When I auditioned (for a full-time course), I didn’t even know what a proper plié was. I was flexible and could do cool flips, but I had to learn everything else--turnout, posture, you name it. I used to eat, sleep and breathe ballet. I took my required classes from 8am to 4pm, then took extra lessons and privates until 9pm for a year until I was up to the standard I needed to be," said Megan.


I STARTED DANCE TOO LATE

Megan Ibrahim. Photo credit: Lissa+Laz

BUT IT DIDN'T STOP ME FROM SUCCESS

By Ruth Letch Beginning dance lessons as a teen require dedication, hard work and lots of practice. A recent graduate of the Stella Mann School College of Performing Arts in England, fashion and lifestyle blogger, Kaitlin Rheanne was 12 when she started ballet, contemporary and jazz classes. Daunted by inexperience, she ‘didn’t understand the lingo and wasn’t too quick at picking things up.’ Ever determined, Kaitlin worked to catch up to the girls who had been dancing since they were young. "I went home and learned what the terminology meant. I practiced a lot, stretched in my spare time and made sure I hardly missed any classes," told Kaitlin. It took a couple of years but Kaitlin caught up and passed her exams with the highest grade in her class.

Finding the right teacher and studio to support their needs is crucial to the development of a ‘late starter’. Megan recalls being the inexperienced student in a class of elite dancers: "I cried for months. Every day, I was told by teachers and other students to give up…but I knew this was all I wanted to do and I had to make it work."

for strengthening the body, increasing flexibility, expressing emotions and spending time with friends. While not everyone has the desire to become a professional dancer, the experience gained from studying the performing arts introduces students to a wider artistic field, expanding their knowledge of choreography, teaching, producing and performing.

Kaitlin, in contrast, found a teacher who was "fantastic, professionally trained.…we shared a passion and got on like a house on fire." Planning to audition for performing arts college, Kaitlin trained in class and at the gym five nights a week during her final year of high school. Like many of us, Kaitlin experienced moments of intense self-doubt, but the encouragement and support she received from her teacher gave her the strength to strive for success.

Learning dance from a young age has many positives, but it also carries the risk of burnout or loss of interest as the dancer matures. Conversely, a teen who chooses to study dance tends to have a positive mindset, finding their new world challenging and exciting.

Enrolling in dance can appeal to teens for many reasons. It is great

Megan encourages her students to explore their desire to dance and find their own path to follow, whether in an amateur or professional setting. She believes the key to any dancer’s success is drive and determination, ‘Technique can be taught, but passion will always shine through.’


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OPINION

THE ‘NOT-SO-GLAMOROUS’ PART OF BEING A TRIPLE THREAT PERFORMER by Jenene Land, The Dancer's Pod

But the question I ask you is this: who is the driving force behind the young performers pursuing a future in the arts? -Jenene Land

There are many children with big dreams of being like the movie stars on the silver screen. They desperately want to be just like their idols; to portray different characters, and receive the accolades that come along with it. How do these idols get from sitting at home to being on the big screen? Of course, actors and actresses these days can do it all; they sing, dance and act. The pressure to perform so that they can get certain roles is increasing, especially with the popularity of musicals gracing the cinemas more than ever. This pressure is inevitably going to be filtered down along the lines of professionalism, and landing on the heads of young aspiring performers. It is this pressure to be able to do it all at such a 

young age that is destroying the childhood of many of these performers. To become a triple threat, a performer must undertake tuition in several different genres, this usually entails multiple acting and singing classes, as well as undertaking dance classes in different styles. This would mean that long hours developing these skills are done, in and away from the classroom setting. Today, there are more options available to performers. With different classes, guest teachers, and the varying choreography. It only gets better and better. There are additional workshops and elite programs for performers, designed to give the performer

an edge over others, all the while still keeping the inspiring environment, and widening the connections of the performers within the world of creative arts. The expectations that are placed upon the performers to increase their emotional range, whether it’s for acting, singing or dancing is growing. Do the performers have the life experience behind them to be able to achieve the desired emotions required for a piece? Is it age appropriate, or even in their emotional range? Or is it purely from the directive of their teacher? Knowing what emotions that the performer is comfortable portraying is part of the battle in making the performance more believable.


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OPINION

THE ‘NOT-SO-GLAMOROUS’ PART OF BEING A TRIPLE THREAT PERFORMER by Jenene Land, The Dancer's Pod

Rehearsing in front of a mirror is one of the easiest ways for a performer to practice their repertoire of emotion, then graduating to small, supportive groups that can give constructive feedback to aid in expanding their emotional range. All of these workshops, programs, and auditions are tiring. The drive, time and preparation that goes into each other these can be exhausting. The biggest concern is making sure as a performer, you know how to use your time wisely. This includes preparation, training, and recovering from the training. What happens when they get sick? Injured? What happens if they burn out and can’t do it anymore? The physical and mental health of a performer is of utmost importance. Perfectionism is something that we all desire to achieve, yet, it is always just out of reach. Striving to achieve perfectionism can potentially lead to high levels of stress, and ultimately burnout. The physical and mental exhaustion, depression/detachment, and the feeling of lack of accomplishment can have detrimental effects on the performer. Having the support of friends and family helps to keep the performer focussed, to strive for their goals and their dreams.

But the question I ask you is this: who is the driving force behind the young performers pursuing a future in the arts? Sitting down with the young child, and asking the simple question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a great opening for communication between adult and child. To understand why and, more importantly, who the driving force of becoming a triple threat performer, can help in determining their motivation and willingness to accept feedback or try new things. The fear that the performer is becoming a triple threat to please their parent scares me. The parent living through their child and pushing their personal agenda and dreams on to the child can be debilitating on the child’s character. It does not allow them to discover their own passions or interests. The physical and mental health of a performer is the number one priority. Is pushing the performer to do something that they are not fully committed to worth it? It is recommended that performers have interests outside of creative arts. Building interests and social connections outside of dancing/acting/singing is integral for the performer to be balanced, giving the chance

But the question I ask you is this: who is the driving force behind the young performers pursuing a future in the arts? -Jenene Land

for them to rest, and recover. To enjoy life. Being a triple threat performer takes time, it does not happen overnight. Making sure that you enjoy the journey along the way is just as important to the headliner of a show. The more you experience the more you gain valuable life lessons, so enjoy every step along the way.


HEALTH

FIRST AID: FORGET RICE, BE CALM In 1978 the term RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) was devised by Dr. Gabe Mirkin for the treatment of athletic injuries. 40 years later, more research has been done and it shows ice is actually harming rather than healing our bodies. Even Dr Mirkin has recently publicly stated that his recommendations are out-dated. Haydee Ferguson says BE CALM and do not ice

The role of ice has always been to decrease the inflammation and swelling that occurs after an injury. However, we now know that inflammation is not only normal but it is a critical part of the healing process. Without getting too caught up in the nitty-gritty of the complex physiology and biochemistry, the role of inflammation is to transport the 'clean-up crew' to the injured area and clear away the damaged tissues. Along the way, the 'cleanup crew' introduces an important protein (IGF-1) that initiates and oversees the healing process. The inflammation travels through the bloodstream via blood vessels. After an injury, these vessels become leaky, allowing the inflammation to exit the circulatory system and start their job. This is why we see swelling around an injured area. Once the “clean up crew” have completed their job, they leave via the lymphatic system and take excess fluid and debris to the heart to then be dealt with by the kidney and liver. Ice actually interferes with this process in various ways. Ice constricts the blood vessels thereby stopping the 'clean-up crew' from getting to the injury site. Ice prevents the release of IGF-1, resulting in the inadequate organisation of the healing process where the swelling is slow to move. Ice slows the rate of lymphatic drainage and makes the lymphatic vessels leaky, allowing excess fluids to move back into the injured tissues. DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE  |   22


Try the BE CALM Protocol, which is similar to the RICE method only without using ice. B: BREATHE Slow, controlled deep breathing is the most effective way to calm yourself and your nervous system. Aim for long inhales and exhales. Focus on the air moving in and out of your lungs and not the hundreds of other worrying thoughts that may be running through your head. Overthinking will intensify your already alarmed nervous system. E: EVALUATE Once you are calm, the next thing to do is work out whether you are dealing with a soft tissue injury (muscle, tendon, ligament) or a bony injury. This is best done with the help of a qualified person such as a physio, doctor or teacher. However, if you are on your own or helping a friend there are the things to look for that suggest the need for medical attention: - Are you unwilling to move the body part? - Are you unable to weight-bear on the injured body part (more than just pain)? - Is the pain sharp and coming from a very specific spot on a bone? If you answered “yes” to any of the above – suspect a fracture (broken bone), offload the area with crutches or a sling and seek a referral for an x-ray. - Did you lose consciousness at all? If you answered “yes” – suspect a head or spinal cord injury and seek emergency medical attention immediately. C: COMPRESSION Use an elastic bandage to support the area of injury. If the injury crosses a joint (such as a ligament sprain), place the joint as close to its neutral position as possible. This will help keep the messages through your nervous system as normal as possible. Make sure you don’t bandage too tight.

A: ABLE ACTIONS Slowly and carefully move your injured body part to determine which movement(s) you can do without pain. These movements are your “able actions”. Practice these movements, no matter how small, for one minute every hour. These movements must be pain-free. L: eLEVATION Okay, so elevation doesn’t start with an L, but you can substitute it for “lift”. By elevating the injured body part above your heart you can use gravity to help your body limit its natural swelling. The easiest way do to this is to lie on your back and prop the injured area up on a chair, pillow or pile of clothes. M: MINIMAL ICE If the pain is very intense go back to your breathing. However, if you feel like you need to do something more you can use the “minimal ice” rule. Ice can act to naturally calm the pain when used following the instructions below. 5 mins maximum ice on, 20 mins ice off, 5 mins maximum ice on and so on. There is no reason to apply ice more than six hours after you have injured yourself. Remember that this protocol is a “first aid” response to an injury, not a treatment plan. It is important you seek professional advice from a physiotherapist, doctor or another healthcare specialist to ensure your injury is diagnosed correctly and you have a rehabilitation plan in place.

DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE |   23


HAPPINESS IS KEY TO SUCCESS In an industry full of perfectionists, how can we ever feel successful when it is our very nature to be striving for more?

Sian Corrigan.

For most other industries, ‘making it’ is far more defined than in dance. It usually revolves around going to University, getting a graduate position, and climbing the ranks. The process for other professions looks somewhat like a ladder. A dancer’s career path is a roller coaster….and one with lots of sharp twists and turns. It is usually much easier for us to see success in others before we can see it in ourselves. We might land a really great job, but then somehow manage to put it down to the fact that we were the right height. However, as soon as one of our peers get through an audition, we immediately assume they nailed the routine.

As someone who is a self-professed ‘own worst critic’, I have always been an expert at this. It saddens me to think that I struggle to recognise any of my hard work paying off and instead always choose to believe it was luck or ‘I had the right look’. But what saddens me even more so, is that I can recognise it in almost every dancer I know. The trouble with our own industry is that we don't just get one job to get comfortable in or to move up the ranks. Instead, we have an endless cycle of contracts, unemployment, busy seasons, and random jobs to sustain us in those times of no work. The lines are far more blurred than they would be for your average Joe working in the corporate world. (I hear you Robin Thick, we hate those blurred lines too.)

What is most tricky for us dancers is that our success is defined by ourselves, because no two careers are the same. We don’t have a benchmark that states the point at which we are doing well. On one hand, a dancer may think ‘making it’ is getting an overseas contract. But I can almost guarantee that the dancer on an overseas contract is not satisfied until they feel they can accomplish something on home soil. As a young child, I always dreamed of being a ballerina. I can remember watching videos of Darcey Bussel and thinking that was going to me one day, and my eight-year-old self saw no reason to believe this wouldn’t happen for me. As I got older my dreams inevitably morphed into something more suitable to my love of all things dance, and not just ballet. I always believed I would be a  DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE  |   25


HAPPINESS IS KEY TO SUCCESS In an industry full of perfectionists, how can we ever feel successful when it is our very nature to be striving for more?

Sian Corrigan.

professional Dancer and despite the cynicism of an adult mind creeping in, I remained unwavering in my belief that I could make this my reality if I worked hard enough. But as my dream became my life, it felt like the finish line of what I considered success was constantly moving further away. I always thought achieving a goal would equal success and success would equal happiness, simple as that! But you soon realise that's not exactly the way it works, or at least I didn’t allow it to work like that. I slowly began to recognise a culture within the Dance community where everyone believes once you have landed your dream role/dream show/dream contract THEN you’ll be happy. But if you can’t find satisfaction in any of your 

past achievements, then who’s to say you will be satisfied with that show. I think the most valuable lesson for me was all the goals that you have already achieved are just as important as the ones you are currently striving for. Dancers need to acknowledge the great things they’ve done in the past and not fall into the trap of basing their fulfilment on getting ‘that’ job. And if we can’t do that how can we ever expect to be happy? Nowadays, whenever I have a moment where I start to think I’m not good enough, I have a little trick that helps to remind me that I’m doing okay. I think back to the little girl I was when I was eight, dreaming of all the things I might do when I was older. I imagine telling that little girl about some of the things she'll do as a performer and the fact that she’ll get to dance every day as a

career! If she would think that’s pretty cool, then I've already succeeded as a dancer… all the extra stuff that may come in the future is just a bonus! 'Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.’ Happy Dancing xx

DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE |   26


AMBASSADOR CHAT Milla Watts. June has been my most exciting month yet! Competitions have started and I got my 1st trophy. I am so happy all my hard work and my teacher Miss Tayla’s hard work have paid off. Lani Hirst. This month has been quiet for me because I went to Thailand for two weeks. When we came back I went back into full swing with rehearsals for our mid-year concert and Alchemy Dance Company rehearsals.   Felicity Palma. This month I had the opportunity to perform in my annual dance schools mid-year performance. It was a great opportunity to display all our hard work over the term and perform for our families and friends.  We got to dress up in amazing costumes and had our hair and makeup done. As it was my first time having a mid-year performance it was overall a really fun experience. Bella Jacobs. I have been busy at comps this month competing at Dancefest, Follow your Dreams and Dance Life Unite with my lyrical and Broadway jazz solos and troupes with my wonderful dance friends. At Dance Prescription with Dr.Lisa and Billie, I have been working hard on my jumps, leaps and turns with great results. We were also lucky to have Lisa come to my studio for a “Just What the Doctor ordered” workshop, which was awesome. Lucas Faundez. This month has been exciting and challenging. I successfully performed my solo for my  VCE dance SAC. Another highlight was competing at the Australian Dance Crew Championships! I had an awesome time and loved watching all the amazing hip-hop crews that Melbourne has to offer. I completed work experience at my dance studio Kim Annette Dance Studios and got to see all the hard work that goes into running a dance school. I have a better appreciation for all that my dance teachers do! You rock Miss Amber and Miss Shea! Cailin Kohlman. Competition season is approaching fast in the world of calisthenics! It’s almost the time of year where we get to showcase and compete with all the hard work we have put into our routines at the very first competition of the year.  We are still cleaning everything, we always will be, there’s always something to be changed to make it perfect, but we’re finding that classes, even though they’d been made longer so we had more time to complete everything, are finishing earlier because we’ve been over everything and done it perfectly four times. Sankara Stromei. This month I have been busy doing dance comps and lots of classes at the Rage DC! The first dance comp I did was Dancefest it was so much fun and I saw all my comp friends and had lots of fun playing with them! I also performed at Dancefest I placed 3rd place for lyrical and 2nd place for musical theater solo! I also performed my duo for the first time with my best friend Milla (peanut) we got 1st place! For our troupes, we got 2nd for contemporary, 3rd for lyrical and 1st for greatest showman! I love the Greatest Showman and we will be performing this at the HER Gala for you all to see!


AMBASSADOR CHAT Hayley Ellis. In dance, my style is all over the place since I love to try new styles and experiment with my dances but recently I’ve been loving Hip-Hop. The ability to move is endless and I’ve been having so much fun. Sadly, I don’t take Hip Hop lessons at the moment but I’ve been loving practicing whenever I can, wherever I can. Everyone tells me to stop dancing anywhere, anytime but my answer to them is always the same, never. I love dancing and If I could dance in my sleep, I would. Daisy Boo. This month turned out to be the best time of my life. After a disappointing injury last month I recovered super fast with rehab and determination. I was super lucky to be cast in Bonnie Lythgoe’s Sleeping Beauty A Knights Avenger’s Tale at The Comedy Theatre. I just had my first show and it was amazing. I loved everything from backstage, costumes, rehearsals, making friends but most of all performing. Tayla Williams. Recently I was lucky enough to place second at Australian Dance Crew Championships with my hip-hop crew ‘Pantheon’, and we were invited to attend nationals in September! This was such a big achievement for us, as this is the first year that Pantheon has had an open crew competing at some of Australia’s biggest hip-hop competitions. We can’t wait for nationals and the rest of the comp season! Olivia and Shania Nugara. The month started with a photoshoot for the gala which was held at the botanical gardens. It was beautiful and I really enjoyed it. It was an honour being a part of this photo shoot for the breast-cancer awareness gala. In addition to that, I had my first professional gig tapping at the Sofitel hotel in Melbourne. We are now in preparation mode for the gala on August 4. We are so excited and I’m looking forward to our performance and helping raise some muchneeded funds for the breast-cancer Foundation. Sharni Chamberlain. As an Ambassador of the Dance Writer it has been an exciting month trying to raise funds for the much-needed NBCF, so please donate to this worthy cause, it is not too late. It has also been a very busy month for me, completing by ballet exam and receiving Honours with Distinction and in the midst of 14 days of rehearsals as part of Ne Roi Selection. This is SO EXCITING for me, it’s a world-class ballet with Dancer Noble Rainer Krenstetter and Emily Bromberg from Miami City Ballet. The director and choreographed is Mr Ken Ludden, the Director of The Margot Fonteyn Academy of Ballet (NY).  Maddison Bowly. Such a busy month for me, school production is almost here and mid-year dance concert, as well as competition season, being well and truly here. I am trying to challenge myself more and more so this coming comp I am going to put myself into an improv I don't normally do, it is good to go out of your comfort zone and experience things that challenge us even if it also scares me, I am going to give it a go! Ayshia-Mila Stromei. I have been rehearsing for Nic Maguire's and Gulcan's piece for Masters of Choreography senior show. Also, I have started 5 new solos with 5 amazing choreographers. I have done Follow Your Dreams and placed 1st for my lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre and jazz and 2nd for my hip-hop. I also participated in Dance Life Unite with my jazz solo and placed 1st.  I love comps so much because it is always so much fun dancing and seeing all my friends from different dance schools.    


AMBASSADOR CHAT Brooke Humphreys. Firstly was the amazing Dance Writer photo shoot to promote the Charity Gala on August 4th. It was a chilly but beautiful sunny day in the St Kilda Botanical Gardens. We had heaps of fun, it's a day I’ll never forget! Secondly, as June was the official “GO PINK” month I decided to raise some extra money myself for the NBCF through my dance studio Theatrix. I asked all the ballet students to donate a gold coin to receive an NBCF pink ribbon. I talked about the foundation and how important it is to Australian women. I raised over $30 and the ribbons matched the Theatrix uniform perfectly! Emily Ryan. This month has been very busy finishing all of our 7 calisthenics items. We are so excited that there are only 3 more classes until our first comp! I can’t wait! I have also been training with ‘Masters of choreography’ in preparation for their Shakespeare tragedies and comedies show. I ( and about 20 others) will be performing a creative abstract contemporary piece by the amazing Gulcan Gulen. I highly recommended coming along to see so many amazing performances, it’s going to be awesome! Ash Siketa. I have so many exciting things coming up like my braces coming off in just a couple days, the Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler workshop, rehearsals for Dance Writer Gala show ‘Her’ and workshop and photo shoot for Act Now Speak Later!  Alchemy rehearsals are in there too- thanks MUM! But most importantly is fitting in some family time! I can’t wait for all these events to come up! Make sure you buy a ticket to the show - it’s gonna be epic.  Casey Chellew. I was so excited to road trip to Warrnambool for the Regional Victorian Dance Festival this month. I have always idolised American choreographer Travis Wall and it was an absolute dream of mine to take his class. He was everything I’d hoped he would be and then more. Such a beautiful, technical, interesting mover who loved sharing his passion for dance. I loved taking class with all the other choreographers too. It is so nice to dance in such a positive and safe environment where you feel supported by everyone. The whole VDF event was amazing and I left feeling very inspired and grateful that dance is such a big part of my life. Scarlett Brumby. It’s already the middle of the year! I’ve been a Dance Writer Ambassador for six months and it has been an incredible experience! Dance Writer is progressing into bigger and better things! I’m looking forward to the charity gala and starting our rehearsal next week! So excited to have so many great experiences! I’m also aiming to do fundraising to support The National Breast Cancer Foundation! Can’t wait for all of the other amazing things Dance Writer has in store!   Lara Green. These past few weeks I’ve been working hard perfecting my solos, which I will be performing during the holidays at various eisteddfods. Participating in dance competitions is a great way to learn stage craft. It’s not always about winning. Chooka’s to everyone competing over the next 2 weeks. Georgia Wall (QLD). Eisteddfod season continues with Maryborough Eisteddfod earlier this month. I did both solos and groups day which was so much fun! It’s always great to be with friends and to cheer each other on. Also this eisteddfod, I received runner-up modern champion for 13 and over, which was just great! I have been busily practicing for the next 3 eisteddfods during the holidays, which I can’t wait for. Something I am really looking forward to is the Gala Evening where I can finally meet all of my Dance Writer friends!  


Dance writer july edition issue 6 volume 1 2018  

Dance Writer's July issue is all about performance and the feeling of success. Interviews with the choreographer of Mamma Mia! The Musical,...

Dance writer july edition issue 6 volume 1 2018  

Dance Writer's July issue is all about performance and the feeling of success. Interviews with the choreographer of Mamma Mia! The Musical,...