Company dancer Dimitri Kleioris shares a rare glimpse behind the scenes of a Virtual Studio dance class


27 May 2020

“Seeing the joy in these young people… but most importantly connecting and supporting each other’s achievements was truly beautiful.”

This week, Dimitri shares his thoughts on our transition from the physical to the virtual, likening it to a graceful swan above water, paddling vigorously below the surface. Dimitri has joined our  Virtual Studio team who help deliver over 50 classes each week. Here he reflects on his new role, Virtual Studio technician, and takes us behind the scenes of an online dance class.

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These extraordinary times allow us all to stop and take stock of where we are, what we are doing and how we would like to live our lives post lockdown. This week during our daily Company” town hall” meeting, our Executive Director Anne Dunn asked us the question “What are the positives that you would like to take with you into the future from this time?” I’ve been thinking about that and for me it is to be able to sit and enjoy the quieter moments of the day and be present in what I am doing.

Sydney Dance Company’s initial response to the “lockdown” has been amazing. We were one of the first companies in the world to respond with such speed and grace (like a swan gliding on top of the water with its legs vigorously paddling beneath) with the launch of the Virtual Studio two months ago. Since then, we have had over 25,000 attendances from people Australia-wide. That’s more than we had in our physical studio at Wattle Street in Ultimo, over a two-month period.

One of my new roles as a member of this Company is being a Virtual Studio technician (VST). It takes 57 people each week to execute all of our online classes, from teachers and VSTs to customer service specialists and class facilitators. I am one of the 57 who are vigorously paddling those legs of the swan behind the scenes. As a VST, I make sure that my allotted online class runs smoothly, managing the chat, as well as the audio and visual technical aspects, and giving support to the amazing teachers before and during class.

While doing this a couple of days ago, I had the most wonderful experience. Fellow Company dancer Ariella Casu has been teaching online youth tap classes to our young, up-and-coming dancers. To give some background, Ari’s mum owns and runs a dance studio in Sardinia, Italy, which is where Ariella got her training from (she placed 5th in the International Tap Championships). She has been teaching younger children how to dance since she was a teenager herself. On this occasion, she had a student from Melbourne who was very new to tap dancing and one from Sydney who is quite advanced for her age. They absolutely loved it. Ariella took care to adapt the class to their individual capabilities. Seeing the joy in these young people being challenged by new techniques, enjoying the music, connecting with Ariella, but most importantly connecting and supporting each other’s achievements was truly beautiful. The class ended with them giving a huge thank you to Sydney Dance Company and saying they hope to one day meet in person and dance together.

I am really proud to work for this Company. We have been able to bring together people from all across Australia while in isolation and give them a place to connect and dance. I hope our online classes continue long into the future.

Dimitri Kleioris
Company Dancer


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