Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Dance Rush Members: Meet Pia Calleja: Dance, a Sense of Being

I joined YADA almost ten years ago and I still remember the excitement I felt when I heard Felix’s voice on the phone asking me to join the company. This was the company I had watched perform with admiration as a young girl and teenager. It meant that one day I would be dancing alongside the people I had looked up to for such a long time. Although I had already experienced the exhilarating feeling of being on stage before I joined YADA, joining the company opened doors for new experiences such as cabaret shows, quick changes and a closer interaction with the people watching in the audience.

Through positive and negative experiences in my life, I believe that dancing and being part of YADA always reminded me who I am as a person and what I really love doing. Being part of the YADA dance company was one of the few constants in my life which gave me a sense of being in a place where I belonged at the end of the day and making me feel like being part of something important. Therefore when I moved to the UK, I actually felt like an important part of my life was missing. Even though I kept going to dance classes, it just wasn’t the same. I missed being part of that dynamic group. YADA was like a family in which we shared laughs, tears, words of encouragement and support and above all our passion for dance.

Upon deciding to return to Malta around a year ago, I knew that amongst the first few people I would call to let them know that I’m back were my dance teachers. Their tone at the other end of the line felt welcoming and genuinly happy to let me back into their dance world, my old dance world, the one I had missed so much. During the phone call, I relived once more the happiness I had once felt when I was first asked to join YADA so many years ago when Felix said that ‘YADA dance company doors are still open for you’.

It felt great to be back to the YADA family, even with the late night rehearsals after work and all the aches and pains it entails. It is worth it, YADA shows and events make the hard work worth it, being on stage as a company and performing as part of a group and also on an individual level also make it worth it. In the same way working towards dancing in San Francisco is hard work but I am sure all the hard work will pay off and seem like nothing in comparison to the thrill of being in that theatre on that stage in January waiting for the curtain to open and waiting to give it all we’ve got – I feel so lucky to be part of this amazing opportunity and new adventure for YADA.

YADA opens doors to new experiences and opportunities and the future is always bright and exciting when you are part of YADA. I therefore look forward to a long future with YADA – I guess in my case the saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ was true for being with YADA. I now know how hard it is to find another company which pushes me to my limits and makes me dance to the best of my abilities. I learnt to appreciate YADA more and I’m extremely grateful for getting another chance of being with the company once again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Dance Rush Members: Meet Keith Micallef: YADA - A New Chapter in my Life !

As a new member of YADA, I am proud to say that my experience there has been extremely positive so far, finding a welcoming group that has accepted me and suitable challenges which constantly push me to better myself in every possible way.

People sometimes ask why I do what I do. I answer that it's mainly the thrill of going on stage, the sheer pleasure from seeing all of your hard work and dedication materializing on stage and the look on people's faces when you walk out and clearly see that they've had a good time. That's not all though, because for me the thrill of walking on stage isn't just a good feeling. It's an addiction, and I'm constantly seeking the rush and exhilaration that I feel in those seconds that I'm waiting in the wings.

YADA has helped me in several ways, exposing me to new styles of dance and various teaching styles and helping me explore a whole new range of movement that I never imagined doing before. Above all, it taught me what it means to commit and devote yourself to what you love, and the rewarding feeling you get when you look back at it.

Dance influences me in several ways. The obvious feature would be physically, with the improved flexibility, strong body, along with all the strain and stress through sore and tired muscles, tendons, joints and other areas. However, it has also influenced me academically, helping me develop an ever-increasing interest in physiotherapy to understand how the body, such a marvelous mechanism, can allow us to move in ways that let us express our innermost feelings, as well as the knowledge to help others pursuing their dreams in dance!

To summarize, I believe that dance is a beautiful and one of the ultimate forms of expression, and I appreciate and love every moment at YADA where we hone our skills in preparation for our ultimate audience - the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Dance Rush Members: Natasha Coppini explains - The Psychology of the Dancer

I joined Yada in 2004 at the age of 15. As a young dancer at the College of Jazz, we looked up to the Yada company members and we watched our idols on stage, hoping one day to be given the opportunity to perform the ‘Big Numbers’ with the company. So, joining Yada for me was a big deal and I felt honoured and proud to form a part of the clan. Going on 8 years now as a company member, I feel that my pride is instilled deeper than ever. 

What has Yada done for me? Plenty! The opportunity to perform the creations of our talented choreographers, to form part of productions that have pushed boundaries and wowed audiences, to explore dance styles that I wouldn’t have otherwise and ultimately to be part of a team, a crew, a family. No one understands us more than our fellow company members; the aching muscles, the injuries, the intense rehearsal schedules, juggling exams, juggling work, juggling friends and boyfriends. Yada has thought me the true meaning of commitment and passion, and dedicating yourself to something you love. No excuses will suffice, rain or shine, freezing or 40 degree temperatures, injuries or under the weather, missing important occasions like a friend’s birthday, or a wedding sometimes!... there is everyone, gathered in the studio, ready to absorb a new choreo and ready to shine! 

The psychology of the dancer is an interesting area, and my interest in the dancer’s obsession with dance was taken a little further when I conducted a research study on the company dancers as part of my Psychology Degree. Dancers are tough beings, they endure aches and pains, fatigue and competition, only turning it all into motivation to progress and achieve. My study showed that while we are challenged daily, and at times may leave the studios feeling discouraged, defeated or exhausted, each and every one of us takes it in our stride and are back the next day with new found motivation and increased strength. We talk, we chat, we discuss, we motivate and encourage each other. For me personally Yada and being part of the company, gave me the motivation I needed to recover from a serious knee injury I suffered earlier in the year. 

While surgeons told me I would not dance very soon, and physiotherapists raised their eyebrows, with a goal at hand and our director’s words of wisdom on my mind, I was able to push forward, despite my limitations and recover in time for our first and very exciting rehearsal for Dance Rush. Thus for me, Yada has thought me the meaning of dedication, motivation, endurance, perseverance and ultimately love and passion. It is on stage, with adrenalin running through our veins, as the first curtain draws that the reward for our hard work will reach its peak, at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, San Francisco- for most of us, the ultimate dream come true. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Dance Rush Members: Rachel, Her Dance is on Fire.

Back in 2006 I had the opportunity to join YADA and was very excited and honoured to be part of this energetic and versatile company. Its members where my mentors, my guidance, my dreams. I always hoped and dreamed to be part of YADA so I could perform all the great numbers I used to watch when I was child. One day, my dream came true. 

YADA helped me become a more versatile and professional dancer and also gave me the opportunity to grow more as a human being as it takes a lot of dedication and commitment to be part of an incredible family like YADA. Being part of YADA, you experience loads of different things all the time. You become part of a big family that shares the same energy and feeling towards the passion of dance. There are always some ups and downs like everything in life but in the end, the satisfaction of being on stage and performing at your best is the greatest feeling ever. My dance is like fire. When I dance, I feel this burning sensation inside of me which I want to share and give to the people watching me.  My movements become flames and like fire, I burn with energy and passion across the stage.  

Throughout the years, the company helped me realize that to become a successful dancer and person you have to strive and work hard everyday. You know that you are a committed dancer when you repeatedly turn down social invitations with the usual reply, “I can’t I have dance ☺” . It also helps you realize that there are no excuses for being able to become the best dancer you want to be because everything is possible in life, you just need courage and motivation, and you will reach your highest goal.

As for the future, YADA has a very amazing journey ahead, which has always been one of the dreams the company wanted to achieve. This is also one of the most exciting opportunities a dancer could ever dream of. YADA, from a small island in the Mediterranean to big San Francisco, America.  Let's Rock !!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Dance Rush Members: Meet a Wife, a Mother, a Dancer

A day in the life of the Dance Rush Members. Meet Erika Gatt Coleiro, a wife, a mother but most especially a dancer. 

A relatively fresh face to YADA and I can say that my experience so far has been a positive one. I would be lying if I said it isn't tough having to juggle two jobs, dedicating quality time with my husband and a 1 year old child and trying to keep up with the housework  and cooking before making it to class and late night rehearsals...on time! 

Planning where my little one will be spending her evening is a HUGE headache with daddy working very irregular hours.  I get people, mostly family members and relatives, asking "why do you do it?". I guess it is the love I have for dance and joy that it brings to my life. It is the fuel that drives me to keep going and face the following day with a smile. It is that time of the day where I get to dedicate some time to myself, where I try and forget the pressures of life and release that bundled up tension to focus solely on dancing. 

I believe that dance is therapeutically and beneficial on so many levels; be it psychologically, physically and even socially. It gives the person inner strength to keep going and come to the realisation that in dance there are no limits. There is always room for improvement, which leads me to another reason to "why I do what I do". It is the desire to strive for excellence. The thrill one gets before and during a performance and the satisfaction and sense of achievement that follows is enough to forget about all the sacrifices made. Yes, exhaustion does strike but the body learns to adapts (and so do the people I depend so much on).... eventually! I am extremely lucky to have so much support from the people around me who are making this dream of mine become a reality. 

YADA has given me confidence in my dancing and the opportunity to explore different styles of movement, making me more versatile as a dancer. It also tapped into areas on a deeper level namely positivity, dedication, commitment, and acknowledging moments when things do not go your way. I have learnt to pull myself together on 'bad days' as opposed to resorting to self-pity by persistently trying till it's right.  I feel privileged to be a part of such a strong and dynamic team and look forward to this wonderful opportunity to be dancing in San Francisco. I fell in love with the place while on honeymoon three years ago and I cannot wait to go back amongst such a culturally diverse population and a city which does not fail to impress in terms of artistic richness and spectacular scenic views.


Monday, July 23, 2012

What Wikipedia says about YADA?

Nowadays, the most reliable source for information is Wikipedia free encyclopedia. The Yada Dance Company is on the Wikipedia too.  Check it out here.