Graceful and poised on stage and in person, passionate dancer Savannah Roberts embraces both dance and her born and bred country upbringing. Savannah dreams of sharing her talent and teaching other country youngsters … but her performance star is also set to shine bright in the future!
Hi Savannah. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 17 years old and currently attend Year 12 at Guyra Central School, where I’m a Vice Captain for 2019. I’m extremely passionate about dance, and I study it both in and out of school.
I was born and raised in Guyra, and agriculture and animals are also interests of mine.
My family comprises my mum and dad (Natasha and William) and my two younger sisters (Millie and Sophie). Mum is an Administration Officer at Guyra Central School, where my sisters also attend, and dad owns a fencing contracting business.
My family provides me with endless support for my dance passion, whether it be travelling seven hours for rehearsals, attending every dance performance, Dad sewing tutus or Mum making up her own dance moves for me. They always encourage me to try my best and take opportunities that come my way. I am very appreciative for everything they do for me.
How old were you when you first began studying dance … and who have been some of the people who’ve most helped you hone your skills?
I was three years old when I first started studying dance at Australian Dance Enterprises under the guidance of Colette Brazier. I’ve had the opportunity of being trained by some extremely talented and knowledgeable teachers and choreographers, and I appreciate and respect all of them (there are a lot to list, but they know who they are).
I will be forever grateful for everything Colette has done for me, and so many others. It is thanks to them for assisting and guiding my development and enhancement of skills in dance and individual dance styles, but also skills in artistry, expression and performance. I’m so grateful to have been taught by such passionate industry professionals, all of them helping shape the dancer I am today.
Where are you currently studying/performing dance?
I’m currently studying dance for my fourteenth year at Australian Dance Enterprises (ADE). In addition to this, I study HSC Dance externally through Tamworth High School with Miss Breanna Mcfadyen, who has been a major influence on my love for dance.
I perform annually at Eisteddfods and competitions in local and surrounding areas such as Armidale, Tamworth, Inverell and Kempsey, as well as ADE’s annual dance recital.
What type/s of dance are you currently studying?
I’m currently practicing dance in the styles of modern, contemporary, jazz and classical ballet. I chose these particular styles as I believe they differ in their own way and allow me to explore new movements and dynamics with my body.
I always have and always will respect how important classical ballet is for every single other dance style. It is the basis and foundation of all dance movements, and without it I would not be the technical dancer I am today.
My favourite style would be modern or contemporary, as I still apply classical ballet technique whilst creating fluid and expressive movements. I also teach dance in the styles of ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary and hip hop, which I find really enjoyable and rewarding, as I get to share my knowledge and experience with younger dancers.
For those of us with the clichéd “two left feet”, it appears dancing at your level requires an equal amount of both physical and mental endurance! How many hours a week do you spend dancing … and what other activities do you do to keep yourself fit?
Ha ha! When it comes to social dancing, I am the queen of “two left feet”!
I do strongly believe a great deal of mental endurance is required to balance the physical endurance of dance and to keep dancers determined and motivated to keep challenging themselves to be the best dancer and performer they can be.
I dance around 15 hours a week, which includes teaching dance as well. Running helps me maintain a level of cardiovascular endurance, assisting me in dances that require that stamina. I also do resistance and interval training and regular stretching at home to better improve and maintain important components of fitness – balance, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.
What have been some of the performances you’ve been involved with that you’ve most enjoyed?
I was involved with the 2017 Grease Arena Experience, produced by Harvest Rain, as part of an ensemble, which I really enjoyed and where I was shown how a professional musical production is developed and performed.
I recently competed at the Gold Coast in the Evolution Dance National Finals, where I placed in the top three in several dances – which was an amazing experience.
Last year I auditioned to be a part of the Melbourne City Ballet’s production of Carmen and was successful in the process, meaning I was able to dance alongside some talented ballet dancers who are professionals in the industry.
A major highlight was my involvement in the 2016 Schools Spectacular, where I was the first student in the North West region to be part of a featured ensemble.
All of these have been such amazing and valuable experiences that have helped me improve as a dancer and performer and shown me what the performing arts industry is composed of.
What are your dreams for the future?
I would love to dance full-time for one – two years to gain a Certificate IV and Diploma in Dance and be involved in performances and productions around Australia, and possibly overseas. I really enjoy teaching dance, and I believe pursuing that would be an ambition of mine in the future, whether it be in a studio or in the school education system.
I’m also really passionate about agriculture and giving kids in the country (just like me) the opportunity to dance, so opening a dance school in a non-metropolitan area or travelling around rural and remote areas sharing my knowledge and understanding of dance would be a dream.
For this upcoming year I’m hoping to be involved in more intensives, workshops, masterclasses and productions to enhance my dance, choreographic and teaching style.
Interview: Jo Robinson.