Award-winning dancer takes ballet classes online

Award-winning dancer takes ballet classes online

By Katie Johnson

Award-winning ballet dancer and Docklands resident Jane Casson knows better than anyone that the show must go on.

So, when dance studios shut for the second time under lockdown restrictions, she was quick to move her ballet classes at City Adult Ballet onto Zoom where she could continue to share her love of dance with her students.

“I conduct the classes via Zoom where I’m able to see everyone really clearly. So, I can still offer live corrections like I would in a studio environment. And the dancers love it because they feel like they’re essentially getting a one-on-one class where I’m able to correct them personally,” Jane said.

“They really feel like they’re being held accountable in their training and being pushed and motivated in this digital era.”

Aside from the personalised training, the online environment also allows people to be more flexible with their schedules. And the feedback has been so positive that Jane intends to continue the online classes even after lockdown ends.

“Being live and online has enabled guest teachers to join us from around Australia and we have had dancers in class from interstate and overseas. It has been a wonderful experience to connect with everyone despite being thousands of kilometres apart and in different times zones,” Jane said.

“The no travel time and no traffic driving to a studio are also big wins for everyone.”

Before opening City Adult Ballet, Jane was a professional dancer with The Australian Ballet and the Royal New Zealand Ballet, spending 15 years of her career traveling the world and dancing up to 200 performances each year.

Some of the highlights of her career include performing in front of the Queen and touring with The Wiggles for six weeks in 2019.

“I essentially came out of retirement for The Wiggles and it was absolutely worth it. It was such a delight to perform with them—they’re the most beautiful people and they give so much of their energy and love of music to the crowd,” Jane said.

“It was like being a rockstar performing to these sold out crowds of children. It’s was a magical atmosphere and the experience of a lifetime.”

Although Jane still loves professional dance, after years of demanding performance work she decided to open up City Adult Ballet in 2015 to fulfil her dream of starting her own business.

“After having my family, I had a beautiful transition going from a performer to a teacher and sharing everything I’ve learnt in my career. I’m a big people person too so I love getting to interact with people I’m teaching and form real connections with them,” Jane said.

In Jane’s view, dance can be especially important during lockdown because it provides a sense of community and accomplishment while people are cooped up at home.

“Everyone gets to take an hour for themselves, which is so important during this time that we’re going through,” she said.

“You get to feel a sense of community with other dancers, listen to the music, and learn a beautiful art form at the same time—so people are really grateful to have this outlet.” •

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