MAY 2018, ISSUE 4, VOLUME 1
ART & DANCE MAGAZINE
OUR COMMONWEALTH GAMES GIRLS INTERVIEWS WITH GOLD MEDALLIST ALEX EADE, GOLD AND SILVER MEDALLIST GEORGIA SHEEHAN AND BRONZE MEDALLIST ALEX KIROI
MARKETING TIPS FROM BESSIE KAY DANCE IMMERSIVE DOWN UNDER FOUNDER BESSIE KAY REVEALS HOW DANCERS CAN GET EXPOSURE IN AMERICA
ANTARCTICA: THE FIRST DANCE FILMMAKER AND CHOREOGRAPHER COREY BAKER BRINGS BALLET DANCER MADELEINE GRAHAM TO ANTARCTICA
CONTENTS Antarctica, The First Dance..........4 Commonwealth Games Girls.......5 Marketing tips from Bessie........12 Arthritis Awareness Week..........14 No Standing Only Dancing.........16 Dance Mum opinion piece.........18 Kezra Q&A....................................19 NYC, Afro Flow Yoga...................20 Ash Kiven......................................21 Elle-May Patterson......................23 Ambassador Chat.......................26
EDITOR'S NOTE We are already into our fourth issue and it keeps getting better each time. We welcome back our regular columnists Ruth Letch from Melbourne and Sandra Kluge from New York City. We also welcome newly appointed columnist from her blog No Standing Only Dancing, Sian Corrigan. This month we are focusing on looking after ourselves as performers. After a massive sweep of gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Dance Writer chats to gymnastic individual gold medalist and team bronze medalist Alexandra Eade as well as rhythmic gymnastics bronze medalist Alex Kiroi. We are so proud of all our athletes who competed at the Games and put their bodies on the line. As Arthritis Awareness Week is in May, we want to spend some time focusing on the prevention of the disease. There are more than 100 types of arthritis and still, there is no cure. Follow Physiotherapist Yves for his tips on prevention. Lastly, on a personal note, I am so proud of my ambassadors to represent Dance Writer at the Crown Dancesport Championships in Melbourne. I choreographed and hosted a fashion parade where our ambassadors modelled brands from Inspire Dancewear. This collaboration was a huge step forward for us. JESSICA POULTER Editor-in-Chief DANCE WRITER MAGAZINE www.dancewriter.com.au @thedancewriter
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www.dancewriter.com.au to sign up for our newsletter! Georgia Wall, Dance Writer Ambassador QLD Photo by Susan Wall
DW: You successfully auditioned to be the dancer featured in Corey Baker’s film, “Antarctica: The First Dance”. Congratulations! How was this project commissioned? MG: Thank you! Corey contacted Antarctica New Zealand a few years ago about this unique project and they were intrigued and excited to be a part of the first dance film down on the continent. Being a Kiwi himself, he came to the Royal New Zealand Ballet looking for a dancer to take with him. DW: You both came to smash four world records: first dancer, first choreographer, first dance performance and first dance creation on Antartica. How does that feel knowing you are the first dancer in the WORLD to do this? MG: The trip was an experience of a lifetime! To see and experience such beauty was incredibly inspiring and really gave me a real purpose behind my work. Just to be there was more than I’d ever dreamed, so to be able to do what I love and share that experience with people is wonderful. DW: What were the living conditions like in Antarctica? MG: I stayed at the New Zealand base while down in Antarctica. We had to go through some survival training while we were there as most of our days were spent out on location. This involved camping out and building snow igloos. Luckily for us, it was summer so it was the warmest time of year. Though, I wouldn’t describe it as ever being warm, especially while dancing outside in minimal layers. The base was at full capacity which was around 80 people. It was great to share meals with everyone staying there and hear about the different projects going on.
DW: What was your journey like to get to Antarctica? How long did it take and did you fly there? MG: We boarded the U.S Air Force C17 which departed from Christchurch and flew us straight onto the ice in Antarctica. Flight time was 5 hours. DW: What was the experience like working with Corey Baker?
CHILLING FIRST DANCE FILM IN ANTARCTICA SMASHES WORLD RECORDS Corey Baker is an award winning New Zealand choreographer who has created the first dance film in Antarctica with Royal New Zealand Ballet principal Madeleine Graham.Dance Writer chats to dancer of the film Madeleine about her experience.
MG: He was great to work with and we had a lot of fun. It's always nice to have a choreographer create something on you because they work with your movement quality and capabilities and adjust things to suit your strengths. Majority of the choreography I learned down in Antarctica as there were so many factors to take into account. He wanted the choreography to be inspired by our surroundings, it was very ‘in the moment’. Each day would be different and would often present with new obstacles from being in a completely different environment.
DW: How did you overcome the obstacle of dancing on a slippery surface? MG: The conditions were far from ideal for a professional ballet dancer. I was in runners, layers of thermals on slippery surfaces trying to make it look easy and effortless. It definitely was a challenge to perform some of the technical skills in those conditions, but I think overall we were able to adapt to our locations. Corey wanted it to be a real as possible for the audience, so I had to slide down the mountains, abseil down crevasses and climb on ropes to get the shots to showcase the beautiful continent. DW: The film was released on Earth Day! What are viewers expecting from watching this film? MG: Corey is known for bringing dance outside of theatres and making it accessible to a wider audience. This project was about trying to bring awareness to climate change in a different way. We were inspired by the location and let that take charge to be the driving force behind the film.
Go to www.dancewriter.com.au to watch the film!
OUR COMMONWEALTH GAMES GIRLS GOLD COAST 2018
ALEX KIROI 2 X BRONZE GYMNAST
“Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon” is the motto that drives rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva to the top. At just 16-years of age, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games rhythmic gymnast Alexandra Kiroi-Bogatyreva has wowed Australian fans with a bronze medal in both her team event and individual ball routine. She is the youngest member of the Australian gymnastics team, scoring an inspiring 13.25 for her individual ball event. Alex also placed fifth in her individual ribbon event, which was a solid effort by the Victorian gymnast. Alex earned herself a place on the podium by executing one of the most difficult ball routines in the event. “Gymnastics is judged by difficulty and execution, and in my routine, I had one of the highest levels of difficulty,” Alex explained. “I’m so proud of myself; to get a medal you need to work hard, believe in yourself and your coach,” she smiled. Like other 16-year-olds, she still goes to school during the day and trains at Prahan Rhythmic Gymnastics Centre after hours. Alex’s school is very accommodating to her busy schedule, offering her the course outline before she jets off to World Cups, Nationals or even the Commonwealth Games.
“I WASN’T BORN FLEXIBLE, I STARTED FROM ZERO”
Her coach Kateryna Logachova has been there guiding her since she first started at eight-yearsold. “At my age of 16 you don’t get more flexible—it is just how the human body works,” she admitted. “When I was a child, I was very determined so I would stretch while watching TV,” Alex laughed. “I wasn’t born flexible, I started from zero.” “I remember telling mum, ‘No this hurts,’ but I think it was all worth it in the end!” said Alex. Now just eight years later, Alex is a two-time Commonwealth Games bronze medallist. She performed not only in front of 8000 people in the stadium but worldwide on television. “It was the most amazing opportunity I have ever experienced in my whole entire life! Officials would call my name and the ground would shake— the stadium was on fire!” Alex said.
“I’ve been with my coach since day one! I love my club, we are all one big family who supports each other at competitions,” told Alex.
“I loved holding my medal at first among family and friends, I took it to school to show my classmates. Now, it is in my medal collection. It is all over now, I have to work harder and stronger.”
Alex’s daily training regime involves a lot of strength and body conditioning programs to maintain her hyper-flexibility.
Alex takes one day at a time but hopes to one day represent Australia at the Olympics.
Her coach Kateryna Logachova has been there guiding her since she first started at eight-years-old.
GYMNAST ALEX EADE OVERCOMES MULTIPLE FOREARM SURGERIES TO WIN GOLD It has been a tough five years for artistic gymnast Alexandra Eade both physically and mentally, but at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, her struggles turned to gold. 20-year-old Alex Eade recently claimed gold in the individual floor event at the Commonwealth Games after winning bronze alongside her fellow athletes in the team event. Alex said she was happy securing her spot in the final, but to win the event was very unexpected. “I definitely wasn’t expecting the gold, but I was overcome with so many emotions. It was such a proud moment for me, plus my family was sitting in the crowd so it was amazing!” told Alex. One of Alex’s most favourite moments was listening to the Australian anthem on the podium to honour her success. “It was indescribable— one of my favourite moments. I love to dance and show off my personality and I think that is what I display in my floor routine. Having the crowd behind you when you finish a tumble, it really motivates you! You can never explain that feeling when you hear your anthem!” she smiled. But it has not always been bright times for Alex. In 2013, she discovered she had stress fractures in her ulnas, but unsure of what caused it. The following
"IT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT TIME FOR ME" year, doctors told her the pain was due to the fact her ulnas were too long for proper mobility. She soon had to have the painstaking surgery of shortening her ulnas by surgeons popping her bone in half, removing the excess and putting it back together. “It was a very difficult time for me. I also put on weight because I couldn’t exercise and then last year I had another surgery, this time on my left wrist in the joint,” she admitted. She still copes with the pain in her wrists and forearms by alternating days of vault, beam, and floor to shift load distribution.
Alex also has a physiotherapist to guide her through a forearm strengthening program. Not only has she overcome physical challenges, but Alex is also a full-time student at Deakin University studying a Bachelor of Biomedical Science. Her gymnastics club is supportive of her studies. “Studying is quite important to me, and I think I’ve definitely learned discipline and time management from gymnastics,” told Alex. The Melbourne-based gymnast started ballet training prior to gymnastics when she was a toddler but found it boring. Ballet has followed her though by being part of the gymnastics training regime. “We do a 30-minute ballet program—it is not intense but it is about working on posture and finishing the line because it is such an important thing in gymnastics.” “I do think that ballet has benefited my gymnastics, I only started doing it in the last six months and it has improved my overall balance, and my floor routine flows better,” she added. With all of Alex’s optimism and self-motivation, she aims to grow her gymnastics career day-by-day and potentially see a future at the Olympics.
AUSTRALIAâ€™S DIVER GEORGIA SHEEHAN DEFIES MOTHER NATURE TO WIN GOLD AND SILVER AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES SYNCHRONISED DIVING GOLD MEDALLIST DUO GEORGIA SHEEHAN AND ESTHER QIN
Australian Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist Georgia Sheehan reveals how she and her diving partner Esther Qin defied strong winds to claim gold in the synchronised 3m springboard event and a silver in the individual 1m springboard event. Georgia Sheehan, almost 19years-old, has walked away from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with gold and silver medals around her neck. The Brisbane diver has been training for this moment since she was 10-years-old. Like any sport in the Commonwealth Games and Olympics, it is never easy to come home with a medal said Georgia. “It is a very technical and slow sport. It takes time and patience to get it right. It is about having the ability to keep an open mind and absorb all the information. Being prepared to land on my back or belly and then be expected to keep going— it is both a really mentally and physically challenging sport,” told Georgia. Overcoming the strong winds in the outdoor diving arena caused much upset to other diving duos, including the second Australian diving pair who both registered a ‘no dive’ in their last attempt. Georgia admitted she undertook specific training in the venue to help deal with strong winds and rain.
“THE MEDALS ARE VERY HEAVY AND SHINY, AND ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!” “It is an outdoor venue so it is an uncontrolled environment, so we had a training camp prior to Commonwealth Games, so we were really prepared as a team. We were ready for anything—wind or rain.” Despite the glorious win, Georgia admits the gold was very unexpected for them and for the team.
“It was a very unexpected win for us, and we were in a lot of shock. You get rushed into a medal ceremony and then media so it didn’t really sink in until after the it all happened.” Synchronised diving has similar roots in dance. Georgia took ballet lessons to gain control and balance while being on the springboard. “It is such a good tool for me to learn core balance and control. I’m sure we will continue to do ballet lessons as part of our training regime.” Georgia’s excitement has not vanished from that monumental moment in April. Performing what she has trained for in front of a home crowd is a memory Georgia will keep forever. She admits to looking inside her medal box every so often just to reflect on that moment. “The medals are very heavy and shiny, and absolutely gorgeous!” “To perform in front of a home crowd with my family and closest friends in the stand was amazing. To have everyone there was really special,” she said. The diver is training for the upcoming Olympics as well as World Cups and Championships. With plenty more years in the tank, Georgia will not be holding back to achieve her golden goals.
CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DANCE DAY WITH THE GREATEST SHOWMAN DANCE TUTORIAL By celebrating International Dance Day on April 29th alongside The Greatest Showman DVD & Blu-ray™ release on May 2nd, Prince Constantine aka ‘The Tattooed Man’ played by Shannon Holtzapffel offers a step-by-step tutorial of the choreography seen in the film. Dutch-born Australian performing artist Shannon Holtzapffel represented by Jeep Management leads a two-minute dance tutorial to help you strike your greatest pose. Filmed in Sydney, this tutorial is bridging the communication lines between the Australian dancers making it big time in the United States and Australian dancers back home. Shannon is charging the dance arena by bringing fans of all ages the real and exclusive choreography from The Greatest Showman.
“Learn all the moves and if you make a mistake, don’t worry, in the words of the famous P.T. Barnum, the show must go on,” said Shannon. After working on choreography for The Greatest Showman musical numbers, Shannon was confirmed for the role of Prince Constantine ‘The Tattooed Man’. He has danced alongside iconic performers such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, JLo and Kylie Minogue.
The box office sensation that has fans singing out loud around the world. Hugh Jackman leads an all-star cast in this bold & original musical filler with infectious show-stopping performances that will bring you to your feet time and time again. This inspirational film also stars Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson and Zendaya.
Australians are invited to dance along to the DIY tutorial and share their efforts in bringing the spectacle home, tagging both @shannonholtz and @20thcenturyfox_au.
Bring home the award-winning, feel-good movie filled with 2 hours of behind the scenes footage of how your favourite musical came to life. Now you can finally watch at home again and again with the sing-a-long edition and music machine “jukebox” features.
GO TO WWW.DANCEWRITER.COM.AU TO WATCH THE FULL TUTORIAL
Bring home the spectacle on Digital today. Available on Bluray™, and DVD from May 2nd.
DANCERS, ARE YOU MARKETING YOURSELVES EFFECTIVELY? MARKETING WIZ BESSIE KAY GIVES DANCERS HER TIPS
Are you an Australian dancer living day to day not knowing when your next gig will be? Are you spending your rent on headshots and showreels? Are you sick of the title ‘unemployed’? Founder of Created Media and Dance Immersive Down Under, as well as Nine presenter of Open Homes Australia Bessie Kay, reveals a marketing solution to these problems. Dancers are trained to be athletes, but they are not trained to market brands they could potentially represent. Entrepreneur and marketing wiz Bessie Kay claims there is a gap between dancers and marketing. What does this mean? We all use social media for personal and professional purposes, but what dancers need to be aware of is that the whole world is within two clicks of seeing who you are and what you do. In today’s digital age, your resume is your Instagram feed. “10-year-olds have Instagram accounts, dogs have Instagram accounts. Use that Instagram account to your advantage and attract the brands you want to represent,” explained Bessie. Social media does not stop when you turn off your phone. Brands across the globe are hungry for intriguing and authentic content. This means the posts you share with the world should be attractive to a vast audience, not only among friends and family.
“10-YEAR-OLDS HAVE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS, DOGS HAVE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS. USE THAT INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE" “The world is constantly selling, and every brand has an essence they are projecting.” Bessie wants to see content that can make brands understand exactly who you are at a single glance. If you love to train at the gym, post content reflecting this by uploading tutorials, inspirational workout images, or transformation pictures. If you are into health and wellbeing, then your feed should look fresh and fruity. “Dancers using social media must know it is vital to post content that is authentic to them—that is the most important thing. Today, marketing is very accepting of different looks, shapes, and sizes so the sky is the limit to what you can achieve through good marketing,” Bessie told Dance Writer. Bessie Kay is no stranger to the dance world. Growing up and dancing in country Victoria, she found it challenging to progress to the next stage in her dance career. So she packed her bags and relocated to Melbourne to study dance full time at Dance World Studios. After years of dance auditions—some successful and some not—and then travelling overseas to the United States, she realised there was a stigma in our Australian dance culture.
The truth is, the Australian dance industry is still in its infancy. We have come a long way in the last decade, but we are about five to 10 years behind what Los Angeles dance culture is up to now. “We don’t have the music industry that sustains our dancing artists. Dancers in LA are getting job after job because of the dance and music culture they have over there. We need to adapt!” said Bessie. She had the entrepreneurial idea to put talented Australian dancers in front of the Los Angeles’ biggest choreographers and dancers. She stuck by her passion and dug deep into her own pocket to bring this project to life. “It was such an expensive program to run and we wanted to follow through! We are so grateful to our sponsor Hollywood Immersive. It was a project very much from the heart, but it has been the most challenging and rewarding experience,” she admitted. Bessie created Dance Immersive Down Under where dancers flocked to take workshops from some of the best Australian and international choreographers earlier this year. Those workshops were the prerequisite to be one of the eight lucky dancers to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles and be in a music video choreographed by American renowned choreographer Alexander Chung.
DANCERS, ARE YOU MARKETING YOURSELVES EFFECTIVELY? MARKETING WIZ BESSIE KAY GIVES DANCERS HER TIPS “We had 20 of the biggest names in dance such as Delany Glazer, Matt Steffanina, The Williams Family and more, collectively with millions of Instagram followers! Our Aussie dancers got to work with those big names in America alongside Alex, who was wonderful and so well respected in the industry globally,” said Bessie proudly. This project has all been successful because of Bessie’s marketing trademark and with the constant support of Hollywood Immersive. She travelled to Los Angeles and spent months establishing cold connections with some contacts from the dance industry. Pairing with Hollywood Immersive, she found the perfect alignment to launch a dance program promoting Aussie dancers in the American dance culture. Prior to this, Bessie started a media company called Created Media, which offers her a platform to project her concept into the digital realm. She discovered the right people for the job including Jose Omar Hernandez who is Justin Bieber’s cinematographer. “I knew we were in good hands,” Bessie smiled. “We found a brand who had the perfect alignment with our brand. Hollywood Immersive works a lot with actors and singers so it was a great blend of arts culture. We are so lucky and grateful for their support.” Dance Immersive Down Under will not stop after one music video. It is Bessie’s intention to do it all again and launch fresh faces on global platforms bring fresh faces over to the States. “If we can turn out eight, 10 or 15 dancers every year to Los Angeles that are getting exposed on American platforms and come back to Australia to work, we are then energising and re-surging our dance industry,” told Bessie. “Dance teachers in Australia are doing a fantastic job producing the talent, we want to expose them,” she added.
PHYSIOTHERAPISTS CALLING ON YOUNG PEOPLE TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR ARTHRITIS
Physiotherapists and allied health professionals are targeting young people to help promote new biotechnological methods of managing arthritic pain in the lead up to Arthritis Awareness Week in May. Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than 100 types of pain-related diseases. The most common forms include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis, which make up 95 percent of the Australian population who are diagnosed with arthritis. There are many misconceptions about arthritis—one of the biggest myths being that arthritis is a disease only surfacing in older people. It is a disease that not only affects the elderly, but also young people and toddlers. Arthritis affects more than 3.85 million Australians and increasing every year, with that number set to soar to 7 million by 2050.
Words by Jessica Poulter Content by Physiotherapist Yves Silveira
Arthritis is more common than people think and it is not just limited to the elderly, one in 10 Australians suffer from this disease. That is why health professionals especially physiotherapists are speaking up by saying, “Prevention is better than a cure”. According to musculoskeletal physiotherapist Yves Silveira, arthritis can be prevented. “It is essentially inflammation of the joint which leads NOMADIC | 24 to pain and restricted movement and there are ways to reduce these issues.”
PHYSIOTHERAPISTS CALLING ON YOUNG PEOPLE TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR ARTHRITIS
The more we can encourage people to move, the better PHYSIOTHERAPISTS we can be,” said CALLING ONYves. YOUNG PEOPLE
TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR ARTHRITIS
Yves Silveira gives his top five tips to helping prevent arthritis or managing its pain effectively. 1. Heat and ice 2. Portable physiotherapy 3. Use rigid tape 4. Sleep and meditation 5. Exercise
Heat and ice help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the muscular area. The coldness causes the blood vessels of the muscle to constrict, which decreases the flow of blood and reduces the inflammation. It also helps modulate the pain receptors. When applying heat, the muscles relax and encourage the damaged tissue to heal. The heat also stimulates blood flow which in turn improves circulation, lubricates the joint and reduces stiffness.
Words by Jessica Poulter Content by Physiotherapist Yves “[Applying S i l v i e r ice] a should be done no longer than a 20-minute
period and repeated throughout the day. When applying heat, it should be for 20-30 minutes long. Alternating between heat and ice therapies can reduce pain and loosen muscles simultaneously. Try using heat packs prior to exercising and ice packs afterward to get the most out of the therapy,” said Yves Silveira.
Another alternative to reducing inflammation is known as portable physiotherapy, which is a much more technological method but can be costly. A device called PainPod is used by many Australians of all ages suffering from arthritis. PaidPod incorporates new technology to assist in pain management. The device contains frequency specific formulations and can act as a portable physiotherapist when you unable to see your healthcare professional. It is a safe alternative to taking antibiotics or medication by cutting off pain receptors of the swelling area that shoot to the brain. “The PainPod device works by delivering bio-electrical nerve stimulation pulses through the skin to the nerve endings in the affected area, blocking the pain signals from travelling to the brain. This can be particularly handy when dealing with pain in your physiotherapist’s out-of-office hours,” according to PainPod’s website. Above all gadgets and technology, the most important thing to do is to be active. Arthritis is a degenerative condition and cannot be reversed currently. Physiotherapists are urging people—particularly younger ages—to get moving every day. “Let’s get active about movement! The thing we see a lot is that people are sitting down for long periods of time,” said Yves Silveira. What if you want to be active but you are unable to move due to knee pain or back pain for instance? Mr Silveira states that it important to have a good grasp on the idea of weight distribution and load. It is all about using the whole body as equally as possible to ensure we are not overusing certain muscles. “If you are putting more load on your body, then you may be more at risk of getting arthritis,” Mr Silveira acknowledged. “The more we can encourage people to move, the better we can be,” he added. If you notice prolonged pain in your muscles or swelling of an area, see your healthcare professional. NOMADIC
For more information on arthritis go to https://www.arthritis.org
THE VALUE OF REST Dancers are seriously hard workers. You know that saying, ‘If you want something done, give it to a busy person?’ I say, if you want something done immaculately, and in no time at all, give it to a dancer. We know discipline from such a young age. Most of us had our first exams at around the age of five! We learn to remember all our ballet exercises, to have our hair and uniform neat, and to practice at home if we want the teacher to like us. This is usually drilled into us all before we even know how to do timetables. Sounds pretty wonderful, right? Well, yes and no, because you should be asking yourself, ‘but at what cost?’ I’m here to tell you unless you know the value of rest, the price you pay can be much higher than you might expect. I’ll be the first to admit that I had to learn the hard way that working hard doesn’t actually get you anywhere, it’s working smart that counts. Throughout your training and professional career you will constantly be conditioned to think, ‘the harder I work, the quicker my dreams will come true.’ To some extent it’s true because a lazy dancer who doesn’t have any drive probably won’t last very long. But at the same time, a dancer who consistently works themselves into the ground, is most definitely going to burn out. If you want a career with longevity, it all starts with learning to be kind to yourself. So how do I start being kinder to yourself? The biggest mistake most dancers make is not listening to their body when it’s telling them they need a break. You know that feeling of being so busy that you’re running from one thing to another but you’re surprisingly not tired? And then the next day when you have less on, you totally crash? Yes, I feel you! That’s because when you finally slow down, you can actually hear your body screaming out to you that it needs a breather. When you're moving too quickly, the adrenaline will drown out any noise your body is making.
So this is where the whole ‘working smart’ thing comes into it, because you have to learn to take breaks before you get to the point of the crash. If I’m being honest, it took me a long time to figure out how to do this. I even tried to beat the system by not stopping ever! (VERY bad idea) It didn’t stop the crash from coming, but it was a full blown explosion when it finally did. I do know that dancers like you and I often find it just plain difficult to rest! Frankly, we’re not used to being told to sit still. Tell me to do sixteen fouettes and I’m your girl, but tell me to watch a movie by myself and I’ll be fidgety. I’ve had to find ways to rest that don’t actually feel like rest, and I want to help you do the same. One of my absolute favourite ways to relax is by reading a book, but I found when I was at my busiest, I struggled to find time to read because I felt like I wasn’t achieving anything.
Of course, now I realise that resting is achieving something, because you are setting yourself up for productivity by not being tired! The only way I was able to read without feeling guilty was to set myself a monthly goal of reading at least one book a month. And being a disciplined dancer, you can bet nothing stops me from reaching that goal…and usually exceeding it. My advice to you is to set a monthly or weekly rest goal. This could be organising to catch up with friends at least once a week, or it could even be watching your favourite show every night…without stretching in front of the tv! Whatever it is that you look forward to, other than dancing, make sure you schedule it in. If you believe the lie that, since you love dance, you don’t need to switch off like other people, then you could be setting yourself up for burn out. Of course, the whole ‘being kind to yourself’ motto, also means that if you don’t stick to your rest goal for a week or two, it’s nothing to worry about and it’s certainly not there to add to your stress of things you need to get done. The aim is for it to be a guideline that makes you aware of how much time you dedicate to yourself, and not just your dreams. As I said earlier, once you slow down it’s much easier to hear whatever it is your body is trying to say to you. The one thing that I tell people over and over again is that, in order to be a happy dancer you have to be a healthy one too. So looking after yourself should really be your number one priority. After all, happy dancers will prove to be the most successful of us all time and time again. Until next time, Happy Dancing! xx
Words by RUTH LETCH
WHY LEARNING THE ART OF DANCE IS UNDERRATED AND MISUNDERSTOOD Dance bags are packed with leotards, shoes and spotless new tights, costume bags are hanging at the front door, music is triplechecked and a couple of props are safely stowed in the boot of my car. With her gorgeous wavy hair restrained in an immaculate ballet bun, and stage makeup carefully applied, my daughter is ready for her first dance of our incredibly busy weekend at Follow Your Dreams regional competition. Between them, my girls performed fifteen dances over two days—solos, duos, trios and troupes. Back when I was a new dance mum, the thought of this was overwhelming. How do they remember so many routines? Surely that’s too much pressure and too high expectations? But during the past three years, I’ve realised that what they learn in dance class prepares them for the challenges of competing and performing. They acquire abilities beyond dance steps, skills they carry into the rest of their lives. Melbourne clinical psychologist, Courtney Fry, shares her explanation of how dance lessons positively impact young brains. “Children and adolescents have a very high degree of neuroplasticity; their brain neurons and synapses are preprogrammed to learn and absorb information quickly and effectively. Basically, the more we utilise a range of different cognitive functions, the more patterning occurs in the brain.” Ms Fry continues, “The cognitive demand of mastering new choreography allows young brains to experience different problemsolving opportunities, forming maps in the brain and reinforcing their neurological development.” Academically, there’s a strong correlation between music and mathematics. A 2012 university study exploring ‘Mathematics in the World of Dance’ discusses the ‘interplay’ between dance and mathematical concepts such as rhythm, patterns, shapes, angles and symmetry. A young dancers’ exposure to these concepts heightens their understanding of mathematical models in real-life situations.
Dance naturally involves geometry and spatial awareness. Dancers show particular shapes and angles as they move; they practice tirelessly to ensure they create the correct shape through specific placement of every part of their bodies. In the words of Transit Dance lecturer, Tania Robins, “Executing a dance step is a formula, a science or mathematical equation. One wrong angle or weight transference and the step is incomplete.” Further to this, young dancers will experience how these principles play out on a stage. While recently adjudicating, Spectrum Dance Principal Trish Squire-Rogers encouraged more dancers to work in duos and trios to ‘practice learning partnership and spatial awareness’. Good choreographers possess an innate understanding of the need for balance on stage, revealing shapes and patterns within a dance to generate light and shade, and create interest for their audience. Much in the same way as schools teach English comprehension, a dancer listens to music, analyses it, then conveys their understanding of the emotion through their dance. In recent years, there has been a huge increase in younger children performing lyrical dances, in which the choreography expresses the words of the chosen song. To do this, a dancer has to feel, think and express their interpretation. They communicate and connect. Dancers also learn how to accept feedback and constructive criticism.
In class, their teachers correct their technique, explain theory and help them develop emotional connection, both with music and themselves. When competing, they read or listen to their critiques, discovering where they can improve, what they need to work on. Their ability to selfassess and desire to improve is often beyond their years. Kids involved in dance learn discipline and persistence. They understand the need to practice, to work hard to achieve the results they desire. Teachers expect students to take responsibility for their learning and belongings. They are naturally encouraged to develop selfmotivation to achieve their best. Ms Fry explains, “Persistence has been identified as a more critical indicator to academic success than IQ.” She clarifies, “Children can find it hard to be persistent in something they are maybe not very good at, maths, english and so on. If they are doing something they are really passionate about, or love, like dancing, music or sport, that’s where they are going to learn how to actually be persistent. That persistence will then carry on to problem solving in other aspects of their lives.” Late in the afternoon at Follow Your Dreams, Emma tiredly asked “What dance is next?” Stepping into her costume, she took a deep breath, completely refocusing her body and mind. ‘Okay,’ she said, grinning happily, “I’m ready.” This is what dance teaches—courage and commitment, memory and motivation, strength and persistence. Dance is an enduring education.
MUSIC CATCH UP WITH
KEZRA listen to 'better place' at www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/kezra-0
Congrats on your brand new single Better Place! What inspired you to write this song? Thanks! I was playing a really simple chord progression then came up with the first line of ‘There’s a waiting game between you & I’ and the rest of the song really followed from there. I was thinking about relationships disconnecting and trying to find that ‘Better Place’ to help reconnect again. How was your collaboration with Fractures? What did you learn from him? Was your manager Molly Meldrum involved? Fractures was an absolute legend to work with - he just completely understood what sound I was going for but still putting in his own special touches to the track which I would never have thought of doing. Molly was not involved in the process of this song but I’ve been keeping him up to date with everything and he gives me feedback which is awesome! You are performing your single for the first time on May 5th at On Top Bar in Melbourne. What are your expectations of people hearing this song live? Yes! I’m so excited to play my debut single with my band along with some other new tunes at the launch! expectations - hopefully, they dig it and have fun! What inspires you to write songs? Relationships are my biggest inspiration - love, lost, searching and life. I guess if you were to ask me to come up with lyrics straight I could do it, as generally, that’s how most of my songs start - I hum a melody then bust out some lyrics I feel sits well with the melody. It may not even make sense but then I start to create the story and it all comes together. Even if the story is not about me, there is always real emotions stirring around the song, which is always a great foundation for writing a song.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
What is the message you want to convey with this new track? To never give up on a chance for happiness - try and find your better place which makes you happy
FEEL CONNECTED AND STAY HEALTHY WITH PILIN ANICE AND AFRO FLOW YOGA® By Sandra Kluge Afro Flow Yoga® is not just another wellness trend. Pilin Anice, who has been teaching this unique class since 2011, knows exactly what she is doing as she invites a good 40 New Yorkers to breathe and move to the live drums, vocals, and flute in the sunny studio at Alvin Ailey. Afro Flow Yoga® was developed by Leslie Salmon Jones in 2008. The class marries dances of the African Diaspora with Yoga Vinyasa sequences in a live music setting, creating a truly expansive experience that is both soothing and empowering. Besides being well-versed in African and African Diasporic dances, Pilin Anice is also a certified yoga instructor and nutrition coach. Providing a “job of service, guiding people through these healing movements to tap into their highest self and their joy” is just one of the many things she loves about her job. Dance and yoga were never really separate for her. “Moving your body in a purposeful, intentional way, telling a story, allowing it to be a vehicle of expression,” is transcendental. And if you look closer, there are traces of yoga in Africa: hieroglyphics in Egypt picture people in what looks like yoga poses, such as “Cobra, sphinx… and even though it wasn’t called yoga, it’s still the same kind of understanding [that] moving the body in a certain way opens up energy channels, to create space, opening, awareness to the divine,” Pilin explains. Being an artist in New York City and a mother of two, self-care is incredibly important to Pilin. Her recommendation is to have “some sort of a practice to keep yourself grounded.” She herself wakes up every morning at 5am, no matter what, to do Ayurvedic routines such as tongue scraping, oil pulling, or a gentle Abhyanga massage. Then she sits down for meditation and some movement, to set her intentions, or to journal, “whatever comes up.” It may sound like a lot, but “you can start small, it can be 20 minutes, and that will make a difference in the way the day flows,” she says.
She also carries a veil of rose water with her at all times and sprays it whenever she feels a moment of stress as a simple version when she doesn’t have time for a meditation. “And, of course nourishing the body to have a sustained amount of energy” is a key element in leading a balanced life as well, says the certified nutrition coach. In order to stay healthy and happy, Pilin wants young dancers to reconsider what they think about competition. She does not believe in competition because she shifted her “perspective to one that you have a unique path, a unique journey ahead of you and no-one can take that away from you. So there is no competition, what’s yours is yours.” She advises that while being “very clear about what you want, and just keep doing the work and showing up,” it is equally important to “nourish yourself and take care of yourself so that you don’t go crazy because it can be.” In addition to cultivating a self-care practice, she finds it crucial to “surround yourself with people that support you” and have conversations that are uplifting rather than complaining, comparing or generating destructive energy in any way. This does not only serve you in your own wellbeing but also creates a community of respect and empathy rather than envy or competitiveness. In addition, Pilin emphasizes to stay open and receptive, because your specific purpose may look a little different from what you expected. Fittingly, non-attachment is one of the eight limbs of yoga. “Just have fun! Enjoy it!” If at any point what you are doing does not bring you joy, it is perfectly fine to “take a step back.”
Especially in NYC, the mindset of hustling and grinding is this strange idea that the tighter your grip, the more successful and worthy you are. However, the best things that happened to Pilin in her life and career came in those moments where she “didn’t stress out and hustle, hustle, hustle.” It was in those moments where she “let go fully, not holding on so tightly, releasing, surrendering to the process,” that the magic happened. All these practices of self-inquiry such as meditation, yoga, or journaling are a tool that helps dancers to not listen to their inner critic so much. “As dancers, you are putting yourself out there, always being judged, so you have to be comfortable with who you are inside so that the external does not affect you.” One thing that teaching Afro Flow Yoga® has taught Pilin is “that we are all here to connect to each other.” In this day and age, it can be so easy to feel removed from the people around us, when on the subway and in the streets everyone is glued to their phones, making calls, rushing from one obligation to the next, completely absorbed within their own thought world. It feels reassuring to look up in Pilin’s class, and, while in a heart opener, to catch someone’s eye and simply share the love instead of quickly looking away in shame or stress. “Human beings connecting is so powerful.” By acknowledging each other with respect and openness, we realize that we are more alike than we are different.
ASH KIVEN: FINDING YOUR ARTISTRY By Jessica Poulter
“When dancers just do steps, it’s too perfect. I want dancers to show who they are as individuals, to get a little dirty. It’s about taking risks to find out who you are.” – Mia Michaels. Mia Michaels is an international icon in the dance industry renowned for promoting individuality and selfdiscovery via movement. Most dancers dream of meeting her, but for Aussie’s Ashleigh Kiven it was her reality. After graduating from Patrick Studios Australia (PSA) in both the Dance stream and Musical Theatre stream, Ashleigh Kiven, 27, needed a breath of fresh air. She travelled 16,000km to find her new dose of oxygen—New York City on the upper west side to be exact. With Steps On Broadway dance center at her doorstep and Luigi’s Jazz Centre around the corner, Ashleigh found solace in observing the dancers walk in and out of these buildings—as if she was back in her element at PSA. Ashleigh joined them by glissading into Luigi Jazz Centre with as much jazzhand spirit as you can possibly imagine. Ashleigh was taking classes and auditioning around the clock. On her journey, she had the honour of assisting the legendary Emmy award-winning Mia Michaels, best known from the television hit series So You Think You Can Dance. Mia not only showed Ashleigh how to be a great dancer but guided her to find her own artistry as a performer.
ASH KIVEN: FINDING YOUR ARTISTRY By Jessica Poulter
“I absolutely love Mia and have been so fortunate to have her as a mentor. She really showed me what it means to be an artist and to break boundaries; to explore the unknown territory. In doing this scary thing, you can really find your strength and power,” said Ashleigh, smiling. “Working with her, I was able to start my journey as an artist.” Prior to moving to New York City, Ashleigh piled up some professional credits including performing as a dancer in Paul Malek and Kim Adam’s award-winning production Your’s Truly. Ashleigh acknowledged that working on this piece with some of Melbourne’s best choreographers was a truly special moment for her. “It was such a special experience; the narrative was gripping and it was a chance for me to really combine my two loves of dance and storytelling,” said Ashleigh. She also performed in the Stage Art Australian premiere production In The Heights and the Australian version of Elmo’s World Tour. Above all her credits and big venture to the Big Apple, nothing stings like the social sacrifice of family and friends back home in Melbourne. That is one of the tough realities of being a performer. However big the sacrifice, Ashleigh has kept on her journey of finding her artistry. If you are in Manhattan, you can catch Ashleigh in Disney’s production of Newsies The Musical, directed and choreographed by Marcos Santana (Broadway’s On Your Feet!, In the Heights and Guys and Dolls).
AUSSIE DANCER ELLE-MAY PATTERSON DANCE CAPTAIN OF PROFESSIONAL NEW YORK CITY MUSICAL Top Australian dancer Elle-May Patterson has come on in leaps and bounds while living in New York City after landing professional musical theatre gigs consistently, soon to include dance captain of Mamma Mia.
Six months later, she flew to Singapore on her new journey to achieve a Bachelor/Honours degree in Musical Theatre. Elle-May’s passion to succeed led her to graduate with First Class Honours.
Like many other Australian performers seeking a career on Broadway, Elle-May is a continuing success story. She is a highly motivated dancer on her way to the top with the new musical Mamma Mia as part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival in New York. She will lead the chorus as dance captain to help bring this show to life in June this year. It has not always been easy for Elle-May to be successful in the Arts, in fact, she says being a performer is one of the most challenging careers.
“Surprisingly, the industry over in Singapore is huge. I booked roles I never would be able to do back in Australia! My year group had nine people and we really relied on each other to get by,” she admitted.
Born and raised as a dancer, she first started her rigorous dance training at her local studio down the end of her street. Her whole life suddenly shifted to dance when she was accepted into Brent Street Studios during her high school education. Her first professional gig was at just seven-years-old, landing a role in the Australian tour of Showboat. She knew then, her training had begun to eventually be a professional performer, so she successfully auditioned for The McDonald College Performing Arts. Upon graduating high school via distance education, she was picked up by a manager who instructed her to take up vocal lessons with the renowned Patricia Oertel. After years of vocal training, it was Patricia who first sparked Elle-May to pursue an international career in the Arts. Patricia took Elle-May and several other students to Singapore for a one-week musical theatre workshop at Lasalle College of the Arts. During that week, Elle-May was exposed to a whole new performing arts industry that was exciting to her. She watched in idolisation at the third years’ showcase and knew she had to attend Lasalle College of the Arts the following year. “I was crying at the end of the performance, and at that moment, I finally knew what I wanted to do!” smiled Elle-May.
After three years of college and another three years of living in Singapore working as a performer throughout Asia, she ventured to New York City where she had always dreamed of living. Elle-May has lived in three of the most expensive cities in the world growing up in Sydney and moving to Singapore, now residing in New York City. She admits the ‘big apple’ is certainly the most difficult to live in ‘comfortably’. “I had to figure out a way to live comfortably in the city so I searched for dance teaching jobs. I really had to start at the bottom, but once I was in, I was in!” said Elle-May. Within a month of living in New York, a resident director from Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore guided her to participate in a four-week program that puts performers in front of New York City’s biggest agents. Even though it was an investment, Elle-May ended up performing in front of a panel of agents in both dance and song and walked away with the agent she has today. “I would never have known to register for that program. I signed with my agent over 2 years ago at that program, and she has played a crucial role in boosting my career here in NYC. To share her books with choreographers like Mia Michaels is still astounding to me!” told Elle-May.
AUSSIE DANCER ELLE-MAY PATTERSON DANCE CAPTAIN OF PROFESSIONAL NEW YORK CITY MUSICAL From that point on, Elle-May has been steadily hired for professional shows including The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (2017), ‘Charity’ in Anything Goes (2017), Pricilla Queen of the Desert (Boston tour, 2016) and the Omaha Christmas Spectacular (2017). One highlight was travelling to Vienna on a private jet to perform at Elton John’s charity Life Ball in 2017, helping to combat AIDS. Elle-May had the pleasure of many celebrities watching her perform on the stage. “The Life Ball event itself was unbelievable, and for the first time ever I was brought in to record the tap routine in a studio. It was like twenty of my feet tapping all at once!” She was recently the assistant choreographer to the renowned duo ‘The Squared Division’ for the first season of Asia’s Got Talent, and filmed Rachelle Rak’s new pilot series ‘The Collaborators’ in New York. Additionally, she played "Kylie" in the AFI Award winning film, ‘The Black Balloon’. Of course, all these credits have come with lots of sweat and sacrifice. It has been her incredible talent for dance that has led her to land such phenomenal roles. Her musical theatre training was secondary learning for her. Elle-May has received ample support from her family to achieve her dream career. She grew up in an athletic family, with her brother being a professional cricketer, her cousin Lauren Seymour a professional dancer who placed runner-up on So You Think You Can Dance Australia, and her parents both being athletes. “They have been incredibly supportive, never once have they said to come home and stop performing,” Elle-May said. Elle-May has no intention of returning home. Her next gig will be as dance captain in the professional production of ‘Mamma Mia’ as part of the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. You can purchase your tickets for this season playing June 6-27, 2018 at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in New York.
AMBASSADOR CHAT FELICITY PALMA This month I had the amazing opportunity to be a model for Inspire Dancewear as part of the fashion show at Crown. Every year the annual dance competition is held there and heaps of different dancers and dance brands come together to celebrate dance. The experience was overall fun and I was so grateful to represent the team of Dance Writer.
LUCAS FAUNDEZ I’m fortunate to be part of the Masters of Choreography Junior Show case portraying Billy Elliot. I’ve been busy with school production, jazz & ballet stage exams; dance camp, DW fashion parade and the KADS varsity hip hop crew. This has been a challenging a month trying to balance my performance commitments alongside my VCE dance schedule.
HAYLEY ELLIS In April, I was super lucky, as I was able to come with the amazing Dance Writer team to crown palladium to perform in a Crown dance event! When I heard the team was going to do a fashion parade with Inspire Dancewear I was so excited! I absolutely love dancing with the other amazing Dance Writer ambassadors and going to different events to dance.
SHARNI CHAMBERLAIN What a fun month with The Dancewriter modeling and dancing at Crown for Inspire Dancewear. Great catching up with dance friends this month at Moe Eisteddfod and I was very excited to place in all dance styles I competed in. Fun times at DEPAS starting my new solos and preparing for my ballet and tap exams next month.
MILLA WATTS I went in a fashion parade at the Crown Dancesport Championships with some of the Dance Writer Ambassadors. This was the most exciting thing I have ever done – it was awesome – I wish I could do it again - the crowd was amazing!
AMBASSADOR CHAT GEORGIA WALL, QLD It’s been a great start to 2018, with some exciting changes and challenges for me and dancing. Eisteddfods have kicked off and I have especially loved seeing my friends from other towns at competitions. It’s always so much fun! I also made the championships for 13 & 14s modern at the Bundaberg Eisteddfod which was exciting. There were so many great dances!
TIANA BILOS This month I participated in the Dance Writer Fashion Parade with Inspire Dancewear ‘Fashion on the Floor” at Crown. It was a fun day spent with other Dance Writer ambassadors and it was great to get to know them all a little bit better. The event was crazy with everyone cheering and supporting us. Check it out on Youtube. I loved every minute of it!
TAYLA WILLIAMS Earlier this month I had the opportunity to compete at Step Off with my hip hop crew. The talent on stage and the atmosphere was amazing, it felt so good to be able to perform a dance that we had all been working hard on. I had a great time, and we ended up with some great results too, so everyone was really pleased.
DAISY BOO I was recommended to be the youngest ambassador for Big Dance which is an all-inclusive, all abilities dance event to be held in Federation Square. I feel so privileged to be apart of this encouraging project. I even got to go on WB Kids to tell everyone about it which was really amazing and Shane and Lauren made me laugh so much.
OLIVIA AND SHANIA NUGARA Currently we are on tour way to the third event for the month. We are on the plane to Sydney to be part of the Sydney Tap Fest. I look forward to telling you all about it next month.
AMBASSADOR CHAT CASEY CHELLEW
I was lucky enough to showcase a piece alongside Melbourne’s finest dancers at UNDRGRND. I have always dreamt of performing at this event but choreographing and dancing in a piece for the second year was an honour. I was then asked to teach a lyrical workshop at The Arnold Sports Festival. This was a very cool experience and I was very grateful to share my movement with so many gorgeous dancers.
ASH SIKETA It was great being awarded the regional champ for FYD Melbourne! On top of competitions, I have been attending Alchemy Dance Company’s intensive where we learned a bunch of choreography for our show! As well as dancing I also went down to spend some time with my cousins and my grandma who is suffering from breast cancer. Family time is very important.
SANKARA STROMEI This month I was successful in Masters of Choreography's Junior Showcase "Cult Classics". I am loving it so much! I get to do a lift with Lucas from Dance Writer and get to dance with lots of older dancers. Come and watch the show on the 19th May!
AYSHIA-MILA STROMEI I will be performing in "Black Swan" choreographed by Gulcan Gulen and "Billy Elliot" choreographed by Bec Rawlins in the Junior Showcase which is raising money for the Susan Alberti medical research foundation. In the senior showcase, I will also be performing a piece for Gulcan Gulen. This will be held at the Athenian Theatre on the 14 July. I'm the youngest dancer alongside wonderful seniors, I can't wait to be challenged further with my dancing in the senior showcase.
MADDISON BOWLY I realised dancing isn’t about being flexible as much as it seems on social media, that’s not dancing. It’s also not about all the Instagram followers. Dancing is expressing your emotions through movements and dancing to express, not impress.
This edition is an ode to the athletes who performed in the Commonwealth Games 2018.