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FRAN MANGIACASALE

Where did you learn to dance?
I did my dance training in Genoa (Italy), the city where l was born. We didn't have a proper vocational school so l had to study in a private one and follow all the courses available in ballet, contemporary, modern jazz, physical theatre and creative/choreography.
The director of the school would create special individual programmes for students like me who wanted to follow a professional path. We had a variety of international teachers and frequent workshops with wonderful guest teachers.

What age were you when you started?
Despite being drawn to dance from the age of 4, for many personal reasons l couldn't start studying properly until the age of 18.....although l always danced by copying whatever l was seeing on TV.
Having started studying seriously at an adult age meant that l initially had to be in children's ballet classes in order to learn the foundation and to catch up with all the years lost.....of course l moved up quite quickly so by the end of the first year l was integrated into my age group courses.

Did you always go to the same dance school?
I studied mainly in one school although l was also incorporating classes In a couple of other different schools in order to study with specific teachers and learn different techniques. l also often had one to one classes in ballet.

Why did you choose ballet?
When l was a little boy modern dance was what l enjoyed the most, l also liked to sing, so modern would catch my attention and it made me want to dance. At the age of 11 l saw for the first time "Sleeping Beauty" on tv and the music, the magic of storytelling, the beauty and purity of the movement made me fall in love with ballet. Then l discovered that the classical training was at the foundation of nearly every other dance form . Unfortunately having started my professional training at the age of 18 made it very difficult for me to hope to become a professional ballet dancer, still l had to study it thoroughly to support my contemporary and modern dance and  despite not been a  super virtuoso ballet dancer ln my career, l still managed to join and dance with some neoclassical companies and projects.

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer?
The moment when you manage to channel and embody whatever you are representing, taking the audience on a journey not through the height of your jump and legs, or through the number of  pirouettes, but simply with your whole presence, movement and expression. You create magic and you feel and make your audience feel as if they were in a different dimension.

Do you do other styles of dancing?
I'm mainly a contemporary and neoclassical dancer with an inclination for storytelling and narrative! But l also do physical theatre, modern jazz and a bit of eastern fusion ! In the past l also did funk/commercial, Bollywood and Baroque dance.

What makes ballet special?
Any discipline based on classical principles  (harmony,  proportion and beauty) has the power to resound with human nature. The modern ballet sometimes distorts this harmony promoting the "wow" factor and the athleticism over the artistry, but l strongly believe that the purity and honesty of the classical dance form and it's capacity to create beautiful images conveying music, poetry and beautiful stories, is what really captures the heart.


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ELLA MARJORIE BETTS

Where did you learn to dance?
I first started my training at the age of three in Newcastle, Australia with Susan Shiner. I then went on to complete my training in Sydney at the McDonald College - Australian International Ballet Academy. 

What age were you when you started?
Three years old. 

Did you always go to the same dance school?
I did all my dancing at the above two schools. 

Why did you choose ballet?
Originally my mum chose for me to do ballet then later on I continued as I loved it for many reasons, one being the magical element that makes ballet different to any other form of dance. 

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer?
Probably the first performance I did with a professional company production in New York.

Do you do other styles of dancing?
Yes, I love contemporary dance, and enjoy all other styles of dance even though they are not my forte. 

What makes ballet special? 
Ballet is special as it is not only movement of the body but an international language passed down through history to tell stories, most of which are magical or unrealistic. This takes the dancers and audience to a place that is not reality which I believe to be the most incredible aspect of classical ballet. 


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ABBY BULFIN

Where did you learn to dance?
I started off at a local dance school learning all styles of dance and when I decided to focus on ballet, I went to Baylins Ballet Barn before going into full time training at Central School of Ballet.

What age were you when you first started?
I was 5 when I started dancing.

Why did you choose ballet?
I just fell in love with ballet and realised it was the style of dance I excelled at.

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer?
My most memorable moment was dancing alongside Basement Jaxx at KOKO London....such a crazy and fun experience!

Do you do other styles of dancing?
I do contemporary and jazz but also choreograph in musical theatre.

What makes ballet special?
Ballet is such a beautiful art form. It looks completely effortless but takes a lot of hard work and discipline to make it look that way. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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RAFAL MINKIEWICZ

Where did you learn to dance?
I learned to dance at Modern Dance Team ADENA in my hometown Opole in Poland.

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What age were you when you started?
I started dance at the age of 14.

Did you always go to the same dance school?
For 8 years I danced in Modern Dance Team ADENA then I moved to London where for 3 years I studied in Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary dance.

Why did you choose ballet?
Ballet is the "mother" of any style of dance. I'm more of a contemporary dancer and ballet was something that I missed in my dance education but I knew that it is so important to have the ballet skills if I would like to be in the professional dance world. Ballet helps me to work on my length, precision and balance.

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer? 
The most memorable moment as a professional dancer was a performance on stage at English National Opera in London.  

Do you do other styles of dancing?
Yes, I do contemporary as well.

What makes ballet special?
What makes ballet special is the fact that it is very challenging and I love to challenge myself. There is always something you can improve on and push your body to the limits. The second fact is that you can be a Prince or Princess and you don't even have to be from Royal family! 


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LAURA GLARE

Where did you learn to dance?
The first place I learned to dance was with the Anita Coutts School of Dance in Ballarat, Australia.

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What age were you when you started?
I was four years old when I started dancing.

Did you always go to the same school?
No, I have been to four different schools. My first school in Ballarat where I danced part time. Then I went to Ballet Theatre Australia in Melbourne where I started full time training. I then went on to continue training full time in Sydney at Studio Tibor. The final school I attended was Brussels International Ballet school in Belgium.

Why did you choose ballet?
I chose ballet simply because it is my passion in life. It is the perfect combination of art and athletics.  There is no place in the world I would rather be than up on stage. There is just something about it, a feeling that I cannot achieve through anything else. It’s an escape into another world where you can become another person.

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer?
My most memorable moment as a dancer would have to be performing the role of Esmeralda in La Esmeralda.       

Do you do other styles of dancing?
I do contemporary, character and neo classical dance as well. I did part time jazz training for many years when I was younger also. 

What makes ballet special?
There is so much that makes ballet special. It is such an intricate art form.  I personally am most in love the with the acting and story telling side. It takes so much skill and commitment to execute difficult movements while maintaining character. Nothing in the world can evoke emotion like a well-acted ballet. It is a magical escape for both the dancer and the audience.


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TAMRA BURKE

Where did you learn to dance?
I trained full-time under Leanne Rutherford and Oleg Timursin in Melbourne Australia

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What age were you when you started?
I started training at the age of 3 years old

Did you always go to the same school?
No I attended a number of schools my first being Lynn Mcnabb's, my second was the Boyd Academy of Dance and my third the Ballet Theatre Australia. I was lucky to train under so many incredible teachers as this helped me to develop my own true artistry.

Why did you choose ballet?
I chose ballet because it is a never ending challenge to better myself and the journey is very rewarding.

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer?
My most memorable moment as a professional dancer was performing in our most recent show '00 and his 7' where I had the opportunity to collaborate and really perform the romantic duet.

Do you do other styles of dancing?
I am primarily a ballet and contemporary dancer however I occasionally dabble in some commercial/jazz and modern styles for a bit of fun.

What makes ballet special?
Ballet is special because it has built skills in me that I will use for life. It is special because it is ethereal and emotionally provocative for both the audience and the dancers.


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IMOGEN BROWNE

Where did you learn to dance?
Melbourne, Australia at Gay Whiteman School of Ballet

What age were you when you started?
I started at the age of 3.

Did you always go to the same dance school?
I also went to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York for 4 years

Why did you choose ballet?
Ballet was presented to me when I was a child and I was unable to let it go as it brought me so much happiness and a way of
expression outside of talking to people.

What is your most memorable moment as a professional dancer?
Walking onto an outdoor stage in the middle of Bryant Park, New York City, and performing in front of thousands of strangers with no lighting or backdrops. Just raw dance.

Do you do other styles of dancing?
Contemporary, Jazz and Musical Theatre

What makes ballet special?
The dedication to the art form. The love and happiness it provides anyone participating in ballet. Finally the love of music it creates in those who dance and those who watch dance.