After winning awards in Livorno and Bari, students received scholarships to the prestigious Balletschule Theatre Basel.

Dance school ArtsExcel has recently enjoyed another wave of success at two separate competitions in Livorno and Bari in Italy, where 24 of its students competed. Among the many accolades, students placed first twice, second, and third twice, as students were offered a scholarship to the distinguished Swiss dance school Ballettschule Theatre Basel.

ArtsExcel, which was founded in 2012, has quickly become one of Malta’s most decorated dance schools, with wins at San Remo, the New Prague Festival and MIDCE, as well as various scholarships, including a Cecchetti Scholarship. Recently, it added various medals to its long list, as 24 children competed at Livorno in Danza in Livorno, Italy, and the International Classical and Contemporary Dance Competition in Bari, Italy.

Pearl Calleja

Above: Pearl Calleja


“The students did an amazing job, and we placed First in the Classical Group Junior section, First in the Classical Duet Junior section, Second in the Baby Contemporary category, Third in the Classical Baby Group, and Third in the Contemporary Solo Juniors section in Livorno. They also achieved the best five in Classical for the Junior category and twice got the best 10 in the Junior Classical section in Bari,” says Ms Marisha Bonnici, the artistic director at ArtsExcel.

Following the competition, two students headed to Switzerland for a week-long scholarship at the Ballettschule Theatre Basel, where they got to experience what it’s like to train vocationally in dance. They also attended workshops with Julie Wherlock and Amanda Bennett, and watched rehearsals of the premiere Ballet B/E of Swiss choreographer Joelle Bouvier.

“Ballettschule was a fantastic experience for the students, and an incredibly rewarding one, too,” she continues. “In fact, they were each offered a place at the same school should they wish to return to further their studies throughout the year.”

Ms Bonnici, who is the co-partner and founder of ArtsExcel, trained vocationally in the UK and believes it is pivotal that all 160 students at the school, whose ages range from two-and-a-half to 23 years, should receive as much individual attention as possible.

“The idea behind ArtsExcel was to move away from the usual 20 children in a classroom,” Ms Bonnici explains. “I was lucky enough to be trained by my mother, Mireille Coleiro, who is also a teacher at the School, and together with the rest of the faculty we sow little seeds and reap as much as we can to help students to improve.”

ArtsExcel group photo


ArtExcel’s students are also very active on the local scene, having just performed in the DLS Production of Belliegha, which took place at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Mara which was directed by The New Victorians, and in the Undivided concert. Up next, they will be working on their annual school show, which will give families, friends and the general public the chance to see the school’s hard work in person.