Leisa's School of Dancing in Darwin has joined forces once again with Alice Springs’ Duprada Dance Company for their much-anticipated annual dance showcase. This year’s production celebrates all things ballet in a diverse three-part performance, featuring twinkle toes from the age of three all the way through to the 18-year-old senior dancers.
By Tierney Seccull
Leisa Jackson has run Leisa's School of Dancing for almost 25 years, the school born from Duprada Dance Company which has operated in the desert for 39 years. In fact, the Red Centre dance company is run by Leisa’s own mother, Lynne Hanton, the pair partnering regularly on performances since Leisa started her dance classes in Darwin.
By learning the traditional techniques of ballet, Leisa says dancers are armed with the tools required to tell stories through dance.
“You’re really trying to help kids understand that the technical training they are learning every day, when they come to class, is turned into something to make stories,” she says.
“Ballet’s always been about the big stories – the Nutcrackers, the Giselles – but kids don’t necessarily relate to those kinds of mature stories, so we have to give them stories that are a bit more relatable to them.”
An Arabian Night is one such story, about a princess who celebrates her birthday with her kingdom and is gifted with a special sapphire. But when her uncle claims the sapphire as his, a bewildering journey ensues.
“The story we are doing ... is based on Aladdin, with genies and magic carpets and monkeys and elephants. [The children] get to be a character and use their day-to-day steps to tell the stories of their characters ... The arrival of the costumes is always a hit!”
The second part to this special evening of dance is Le Défilé, which showcases each dancer as they work through the techniques required to take their craft from the studio to the stage.
The third act in this triple-bill is a trio of routines that include broader disciplines of dance, contemporary and jazz, as well as classical ballet.
The Concert is a ballet about a concert that’s held in a park, and in
this month’s performance, dancers perform an excerpt from that ballet, The Mistake Waltz – a hilarious routine and an audience favourite.
“It’s basically everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. It’s quite a funny dance, and a humorous look at what happens in the dance studio,” Leisa says.
New contemporary work Elevated challenges the technical lines of ballet and movement, pushing the artistry of the dancers, whilst jazz dancers hit the floor in The Playlist to a diverse mix of tunes.
Balletomania is a performance for all to enjoy, so head along to celebrate the achievements of the dancers, as they proudly present you the fruits of their labour after another wonderful year in the studio.