EVE interviews Lynne Salomone Reynaud, director of Malta Dance Theatre, a Brigitte Gauci Borda School of Dance dance company.
What is the reason for setting up Malta Dance Theatre?
After 10 successful years of teaching for the renowned Brigitte Gauci Borda School of Dance, we both sat down for our yearly discussion which usually directs the following year.
This year more than any other, I felt the need to have a creative outlet, where I could work with individuals of a certain level of training. Thus offering graduates of the school the opportunity to continue to grow and develop, focusing on the performance aspect of dance. On this note Brigitte and I came to an agreement that we would collaborate to develop a dance company which resulted in the creation of Malta Dance Theatre. MDT is venturing beyond the traditional ballet world and focusing on home-grown talent to provide fresh choreography and music.
How do you describe this style of dance?
The company consists of dancers from both classical and non-classical backgrounds. This allows the company to produce work which is versatile and diverse, always focusing on producing performances of a professional standard. Company dancers are selected for performances in accordance to the production at hand.
At heart, dance is all about expression, being yourself and alive in the moment resonates deeply with MDT.
Our debut performance ‘Lacrimosa’ dealt with the darker side of human behaviour and its impact on human emotion. Movements were based on contemporary dance within the ballet vocabulary, whilst also having an infusion of everyday pedestrian motions.
Part of the company’s mission is to blur the lines between dance, theatre and reality. Creating a fusion which successfully expresses the theme of the show conveys a powerful message to the audience.
Do students progress from Classical to other types of dance or can they start off in the style they prefer?
Dance is an art form which should provide enjoyment, so it is essential that one starts off in the style of dance he or she prefers. It is then up to the teacher to provide the correct advice, guiding the student in the right direction according to capability, physique and character.
Classical ballet provides a strong foundation, which will allow one the possibility to pursue any other form(style) of dance. It is therefore extremely beneficial to begin with classical ballet, but not essential.
How does the male/female balance in Malta compare to dance schools abroad? Is the mentality changing?
Over the last couple of years the number of males interested in studying dance has been steadily increasing and the seemingly taboo subject of being male and a dancer (in Malta) is slowly disappearing. The local mentality is changing and young parents are becoming more open-minded in this regard.
The ratio of female dancers to male dancers in Malta is extremely unbalanced with the majority being female. Any males interested in studying dance can definitely benefit as there is a big demand for male dancers. Abroad being a dancer is seen as a prestigious opportunity for both male and female dancers alike.
Besides the physical benefits, what are the effects of learning dance on the student’s personality in general?
Dance is a discipline which develops/educates individuals physically, emotionally and socially. Dancers strive for perfection and this can only be achieved through practice dedication and hard work . All skills that are needed to develop a responsible, reliable individual.
Dance also provides opportunities for children and adults to work in groups developing social skills and often building confidence within shy individuals.
The most beautiful aspect of dance is the family of friends you develop and the bond you form with your peers throughout the hours spent training, rehearsing and performing together.
Is there any hope for adults born with two left feet who would like to change that?
It is much easier for one to learn any skill at a young age, the same can be said with dance. Issues that adults tend to face when dancing are problems with co-ordination and memory of amalgamations of steps. Many adults are taking up dance as a hobby, in fact this is a growing trend. Taught in the correct way dance can be a fantastic form of overall exercise and provide a great means of relaxation.