“Fitness has been a big part of my life; I find comfort in it. I work out regularly and during lockdown I found that doing Step Aerobics, my favourite cardio workout, made me feel very in sync with my body, giving me a sense of joy and wellbeing.”
Company dancer and Virtual Studio teacher Ariella Casu takes us on a trip down memory lane to where dance began for her. Born in America and raised in Italy, Ariella’s love of dance has taken her around the world and landed her right here at Sydney Dance Company, sharing her artistry and wisdom in our studios.
I started dancing very early; my first ever pair of shoes was a pair of tiny tap shoes. My mum was a dance teacher in Sardinia, Italy and she used to take me along to her classes. I started crawling my way through dance classes before I was one year old and I haven’t stopped since.
By age 12 I was helping mum create and memorise routines for her classes. I was so passionate about it that by the time I turned 15 I was preparing my own classes and teaching under her supervision. I left Sardinia when I was 16 in pursuit of a dance career. Having to choose between two scholarships, I decided to move to Rome where I studied dance for three years whilst completing my high school studies.
We moved to Sardinia in 1994 when I was four years old. At that time my mother found herself surrounded by people who knew nothing of dance, except for the traditional Sardinian folkloric dance, so she opened up a school and started teaching Jane Fonda based fitness lessons and Step Aerobics. The studio only had an LP stereo but luckily mum was fully equipped with the best music to go with it: Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, all the greats! She taught with the full package, a high waisted leotard, bandana and leg warmers. Half of my little town’s housewives still thank my mum for those golden years. All of this to say that fitness has been a big part of my life. I find comfort in it. I work out regularly and during lockdown I found that doing Step Aerobics, my favourite cardio workout, made me feel very in sync with my body, giving me a sense of joy and wellbeing.
Oh wow, back to my mum again, ha! I guess she is my dancing muse and greatest teacher. My mother taught me that Lyrical is the dance that is driven by the heart and it is. There is in my opinion, no better form of dance that merits you to fully express your emotions. So yes, come to my class with a heart full of will to let it all out and I guarantee that you will get the chance to.
When it comes to Ballet, I can say with confidence that it is the most necessary style of dance to strengthen your technique. It’s like the medicine prescribed by your doctor in the dance world, although still very fun of course! If you take my ballet class in the Virtual Studio you will practice grace, posture, balance, strength, flexibility and rhythm; so basically everything.
What comes to mind first is my excitement at starting a new online course to become a Master Trainer. I will begin in July and conclude it in January.
Also, I am currently reading two interesting books; The power of now and How not to diet by Michael Greger. I highly recommend both of them.
Finally, during lockdown I found myself having more time to be creative. I took up painting and created some choreographic dance content of which I will create some more in the coming weeks.