At the young age of 3, Caitlin began her dance training at Joanne Grace School of Dance in Fairy Meadow. Still training under the guidance of Joanne Grace, this year marks her 14th year of dancing. During this time, Caitlin has competed in numerous eisteddfods across Sydney and Wollongong in all dance styles including Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Demi Character, Lyrical and National Character. With ballet being the foundation of her training, she has completed her Pre-Primary to Advanced 1 RAD Ballet Examinations and was given the opportunity to perform with the Russian Imperial Ballet in 2010.
Caitlin has been offered many opportunities to dance overseas, travelling to Orlando, Los Angeles and New York. In 2011, she performed at Disney World Orlando, Downtown Disney and NASA Space Centre. When she travelled to Los Angeles and New York in 2015, Caitlin performed at Disney Land and participated in classes at The Edge Dance Centre, Millennium Dance Complex, Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre and Broadway Dance Centre.
The first time Caitlin realised she had a passion for contemporary dance was in 2012. She was awarded Highly Commended at the prestigious City of Sydney Eisteddfod which saw her compete against 120 other dancers in the contemporary solo division.
Michelle Forte herself, has had an influence on Caitlin's love for the style and this has further developed, after being taught by the director of Austinmer Dance Theatre for the past three years at Joanne Grace School of Dance. In this time, she has grown as a dancer through continued participation in the company's workshops with international choreographers Sagi Gross and Maurice Causey and Caitlin cannot wait to be apart of Austinmer Dance Theatre for 2017.
Carien found her love of dance at age 3 when she started classes at her local ballet school in South Africa. She continued her training when she moved to New Zealand in 2000 with Jacqui Tieleman, along with competing nationally at Rhythmic Gymnastics. Carien completed her ballet examinations up to RAD Advanced 1 and Cecchetti Advanced 1 and continued dancing under the direction of Tieleman until she left New Zealand.
After finishing high school at 17, Carien started training part-time at Southern Ballet School under Artistic Director Lorraine Peters whilst attending University of Canterbury in Christchurch. She was the lead dancer for Middleton Grange’s ‘Oliver ‘(2009) and ‘Annie’(2011) productions, performing in University of Canterbury’s MUSOC show of ‘Chicago’ (2012).
Carien moved to Brisbane in 2013 to commence study at Queensland National Ballet under Artistic Director Martyn Fleming, where she first started studying in Contemporary Dance. Carien quickly fell in love and changed her Advanced Diploma Major from Ballet to Contemporary. She competed in many shows with QNB and in 2014, was the lead female in the Jazz piece ‘Warrior’ which placed 2nd at the Sydney Eisteddfod at the Sydney Opera House. Carien graduated in December 2014 with an Advanced Diploma in Ballet and Modern Dance.
During this time, Carien was accepted into Expressions Dance Company 2014 Summer Intensive course. She auditioned and was accepted to perform with Expressions in the APMA week for their shows ‘Carmen Sweet’ and ‘R&J’ for six shows, and was invited to attend company classes.
In 2015, Carien continued attending classes at MAD Dance House in Brisbane, as well as getting married and travelling through Europe for two months, before packing her bags and moving with her husband to Wollongong to join Austinmer Dance Theatre for 2016.
Since joining Austinmer Dance Theatre, Carien was invited to Mexico for three weeks to train and work with Iratxe Ansa, which was an incredibly eye-opening experience for her. As well as working with Iratxe, Carien had the opportunity to train with Sagi Gross, and Maurice Causey. She is looking forward to 2017 with Austinmer Dance Theatre, especially travelling to Adelaide with the company to perform Maurice Causey’s “Seeing the Light” during Adelaide Fringe Festival.
Demi grew up in Sydney, where she studied at Tanya Pearson’s Classical Coaching Academy. Following this she broadened her training by studying with Vicki Attard and Julia Horvath. Demi currently teaches classical ballet and contemporary for several dance schools in Sydney, educating students with her experienced knowledge.
Demi joined Austinmer Dance Theatre as a company member in 2016. Since working with the artistic director, Michelle Forte, she has received an insight to contemporary dance and has been given a variety of successful opportunities. During this time, Demi had the experience to work with international choreographer, Sagi Gross (Gross Dance Company) through attending his April workshop and being involved in his choreographic creation for the company. Following this she was invited to work with Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bachovich as an apprentice in Mexico. From then, Demi was personally offered to join the Metamorphosis Dance Collective in Spain throughout July. Through her experience with the company, Demi has recently been accepted into the Kibbutz Dance Journey Program in Israel for their 2017/2018 program.
At the start of March, Demi and her fellow company members will be attending the Adelaide Fridge Festival to perform a piece created exclusively by patron Maurice Causey. Already during her first year with the company, Demi is thankful for the past experiences, and is now excited for numerous opportunities that lays ahead to further develop her creative pursuit for herself as a dancer.
Jessica's love for dance began at age 3, attending Thirroul Dance Academy under the direction of Katie Willmott for the past 14 years. Along with her experience in dance, she draws on 10 years of Artistic Gymnastics training, having competed at both State & National levels.
Jessica has worked with Australian & International Choreographers as a NSW Cecchetti Scholar for the past 5 years as well as with Sydney Dance Company, Australian Ballet & Austinmer Dance Theatre. She was the inaugural recipient of the Austinmer Dance Theatre International Workshop Scholarship with Maurice Causey in 2013.
Jessica originally joined Austinmer Dance Theatre in 2015, at the age of 15, as part of our extended secondment program. This saw her debut in her first performance "Locked In" with the company. 2017 is Jessica's third year with Austinmer Dance Theatre where we finally see her promoted to company member. This gifted young dancer works and performs with a maturity beyond her years and we look forward to seeing Jessica continue to grow.
Kate was raised in a small country town Wongan Hills, Western Australia, where opportunities for dance were close to non-existent. Her devotion and passion for dance was obtained when The Toodyay Ballet School arrived, becoming her main source of training, which took Kate overseas for many dance opportunities. Her training began with classical ballet the Cecchetti syllabus, receiving Honors for all the grades until she achieved the Maestro Cecchetti Diploma in Classical Ballet (2014).
In 2011, Kate was accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) and moved to Melbourne. Whilst at VCASS she was fortunate enough to perform with her peers in Firebird, choreographed by Matthew Thomson. This was performed for Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall for the 2012 Jubilation. Kate was awarded the two-week exchange in Germany with The Palucca Hochschule fur Tanz Dresden in her last year of training with VCASS. In 2013, having completed her studies she was awarded with the VCE/VET Dance Premiere Award in recognition for her excellence in dance.
After Kate successfully auditioned for the Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year (2014), she soon discovered her passion for contemporary dance and was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the many possibilities this art form has to offer. Throughout that year Kate was able to perform and work with renowned choreographers, such as Once We Were (Lucas Jervies), It’s a Duet (Craig Barry) and excerpts of Project Rameau (Rafael Bonachela), which saw her graduate with a Certificate IV in Dance.
Kate was fortunate enough to be exposed to many aspiring artists throughout her journey of dance; she has recently graduated from Transit Dance (2016 Pre-Professional) with a Diploma in Elite Performance Dance. Kate's training at Transit Dance has allowed her to work under a handful of aspiring choreographers such as Paul Malek, Paea Leach, Shian Law, Kialea-Nadine Williams, Daniel Jaber and Thomas Bradley.
Kate is ready to embrace the new experiences and opportunities that may come her way while joining Austinmer Dance Theatre in 2017.
Kate's dance career started at Dance Unlimited in Mudgee where she trained for 12 years under the principal Tanya Hearne-Keenan. She moved to the ‘big city’ after school in 2013 after successfully auditioning for Jason Winter’s full time Classical Contemporary Course for Elite Performers at Brent Street. This saw Kate received a Diploma in Dance in 2013.
During this time, Kate was a member for several special performances, including John Kaldor’s Project #27 ’13 Rooms’’ for Rafael Bonachela’s ‘Revolving Doors’ with Sydney Dance Company, and a special guest for Expressions Dance Company’s ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ In 2014, Kate appeared as a back-up dancer for Chistine Anu’s ‘Beat of My Heart’ film clip supporting the Heart Foundation. She also appeared in The Veronica’s ‘You Ruin Me’ film clip, with the acclaimed American choreographer, Caitlin Gray (Steps on Broadway). Kate embarked on her first year of University, studying a Bachelor of Dance and Physical Education at Australian College of Physical Education (ACPE) in Sydney.
In 2016, Kate joined Austinmer Dance Theatre as a company member with the intention of developing a stronger relationship and connection with dance. Under the direction of Artistic Director, Michelle Forte, she has seen herself explore her creativity and improvisation skills. Since joining the company, Kate has had the opportunity to workshop with international choreographer Sagi Gross (Gross Dance Company). Later in June, she was invited to attend a 3-week residency in Mexico, for well-acclaimed Spanish choreographer Iratxe Ansa.
In March, Kate will be attending the Adelaide Fridge Festival with Austinmer Dance Theatre to perform a piece exclusively choreographed for the company by patron Maurice Causey. Kate is already grateful for what Michelle and the company have offered and is excited for what new experiences are yet to come.
Madi began taking dance classes at the age of 3 and her passion for dance has continued to grow ever since. She trained at various schools learning the styles of ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, hip hop and tap. Madi has performed in numerous productions with the Illawarra and South East Region Performing Company, and with Nowra High School’s dance companies. She was also chosen as a dancer in the Illawarra and South East Region Touring Ensemble, which toured the east coast of Australia in 2011 and 2012. Following this, Madi began teaching both junior and senior ballet and contemporary classes at the South Coast Institute of Performing Arts in 2014 and 2016, where she continues to teach to this day.
Madi was accepted into Austinmer Dance Theatre in 2014. Since joining the Company, she has performed five full-length works as well as numerous minor works and short performances. Madi has completed two intensive workshops with Iratxe Ansa (ex-Netherlands Dance Theatre) and was invited to travel to Mexico for a three-week workshop with Ansa in June 2016. In April of 2016, Madi had the privilege of working with Sagi Gross in a creative process for a piece he developed for the company. During this time, she was honoured to rehearse and perform this work for a private showing in front of DV8's Lloyd Newson. Madi has worked with company patron Maurice Causey, Thomas Bradley (ex-Sydney Dance Company), Lisa Maris McDonell and Bec Jones (Tasdance). Each of these workshops has helped strengthen her as an artist and an individual, something she is very grateful for.
More recently, she was accepted into the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, International Dance Journey program that she hopes to attend in late 2017/early 2018. This opportunity came to her as a result of her growth and experience with Austinmer Dance Theatre. Madi is excited for her fourth year as a company member, and the opportunities and experiences that will follow.
Born and raised in Queensland Saraphina has studied for seven years with Queensland National Ballet and the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts, achieving her Certificate IV and Diploma in Performing Arts.
At the age of five Saraphina followed her brother’s steps into ballroom dancing and competed until she was seven. She then continued dancing with her two brothers in ballet, tap and jazz. It was not until she was 13 that she found her love for contemporary at Queensland National Ballet. For three years, Saraphina was directed and trained by Martyn Fleming; former dancer for the Maurice Bejart at Laussane in Switzerland.
In 2013, Saraphina was accepted into the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts and it was there she found her deep connection to dancing. ACPA taught her not only to ‘dance’ but to feel and connect to the culture, the community and her own soul.
Being a part of Austinmer Dance Theatre is a great privilege for Saraphina, as it presents many opportunities for her to acheive her goals in dancing and life.
Emily began dancing at her local dance school at the age of 5, where she trained in Ballet and Jazz. By the age of 14, she started Contemporary upon moving to Rogersons Dance Studio to extend her training. Emily went onto complete her R.A.D Ballet exams including Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced Foundation. Over the coming years, her love for Contemporary dance grew.
At the age of 19, Emily travelled to Toronto Canada, to partake in a workshop with The School Of Toronto Dance Theatre. This provided her with an opportunity to work alongside company members and staff. Upon returning to Australia, Emily traveled to Wellington New Zealand for a 3 day workshop with New Zealand School Of Dance. Here she participated in classes with first year students. She gained insight and knowledge from these experiences, only further confirming her passion for dance. 2016 was a highly constructive year for Emily, being offered a placement in the Junior Company, Le Marchepied, which saw her move to Switzerland in July. She soon had to return home due to unforeseen problems.
Shortly after her return home, Emily auditioned for Austinmer Dance Theatre. She was offered an invitation to attend company classes and rehearsals. It was from here that her commitment and dedication was evident, seeing her promoted to an Apprentice with the company. Emily is looking forward to challenging herself and growing as both a dancer and an individual.
Originally from Mollymook NSW, Jai-Leigh started dancing at the age of 9 and quickly realised her love for the art. Moving to Bomaderry at 15, she sought further training at the South Coast Institute of Performing Arts (SCIPA) under the guidance of principal Nirvana Ricci.
For most of Jai-Leigh’s schooling, she was a part of the Illawarra South Coast Region Performance Company, where in high school, she was lucky enough to be chosen as part of the Illawarra South Coast Regional Touring Ensemble. This saw her tour and perform for public schools along the South Coast & Southern Highlands.
In 2015, Jai-Leigh was employed as an assistant teacher at SCIPA, which led to teaching her own Jazz and Ballet classes in 2016. After attending workshops in that were hosted by Austinmer and watching their 2016 productions, she decided to audition. Jai-Leigh was ecstatic to be offered an apprenticeship for 2017.
At the early age of 2, Natalie began her training as a student of Shers Studio Of Modern Dance and later continued her training as a student of I-Dance Performing Arts. Over the past 16 years, she has focused her training towards ballet, contemporary, jazz and tap, where Natalie has studied and completed the RAD ballet syllabus receiving distinctions in both graded and vocational exams.
Travelling to America in 2013 gave Natalie the opportunity to work with international choreographers at renowned dance studios such as Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Centre and EDGE Performing Arts Centre. After returning from America, she was offered a scholarship to attend Broadway Dance Centre NYC.
In 2016, Natalie had the opportunity to attend Australian Dance Theatre's Secondment week in Adelaide, which was an eye opening experience. This helped her gain an insight into the life of a company dancer and was an opportunity for her to learn company repertoire first hand.
2016 was a significant year for Natalie, as she undertook the Certificate IV in dance course at Ev & Bow Fulltime Dance Training Centre, under the guidance of Sarah Boulter and Lisa Bowmer. This year of training opened up Natalie's perspective of contemporary dance and motivated her to further explore the genre. It was then that she was encouraged to audition for Austinmer Dance Theatre.
Natalie looks forward to challenging herself both physically and artistically as an apprentice of the company in 2017.
Images: Children of the Revolution