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Ambassadors

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Astara Jackson, 12, has proven that persistence is vital to becoming successful in the dance industry after the recent announcement of her ambassadorship with Dance Writer. This year alone she has received several ambassadorships for multiple dance companies, elected performance captain in her first year of high school and is a pivotal member of her dance studio competition troupe. 

The Dream Academy’s studio scholarship winner for 2017 Alexandra Eastwood-Gerula has been announced as the third official ambassador for Dance Writer.

Alexandra comes from Victoria’s western suburbs where she dances at The Dream Academy (Williamstown). She has been dancing since the age of three years old, but only really found her strong passion for performing in 2015. Her passion has certainly shone in such a short amount of time where she won the 2017 studio scholarship for her excellent attitude, work ethic and skill. Alex competes both as a soloist and in troupes and has taken part in many workshops including most recently the first Melbourne Act Now Speak Later event.

Alexandra along with three other ambassadors Bella, Ayshia-Mila and Sankara.

Alex prides herself on being a team player, but now scoring a recent ambassadorship with Dance Writer, she also strives to be recognised on her own terms as a dancer.

“Being a Dance Writer ambassador can bring wonderful opportunities. It also gives me the platform to inspire others! It is a major step to being a dancer.”

Her maturity is part of the reason why she is such a star student. For a 12-year-old, her outlook on dance is exceptionally modest. She believes dance is an inviting experience, not a competitive one.

“Dancing is for everyone,” she said smiling. “It brings people together.”

“Dance expresses my emotions in a different way,” Alex added.

Alex is predominantly known as an acrobatic and contemporary dancer. She prides herself on her ability to learn new choreography quickly and taking direction. With more persistent training on her technique and craft, she hopes her love for dance can transpire into a professional career. Alex aims to use her creative side and venture into choreography and teaching after her dancing career.

Off the dance floor, Alex is also a born leader at school. During her primary education, she represented the junior school body by being on the student council. It seems she is well-respected among her dance peers too for her heartwarming encouragement. “Our team has a very strong bond,” she says of her competition teams. “We are all best friends.”

“We all understand one another because we all have similar dreams and aspirations—we all support each other which is really nice,” Alex said.

Alexandra and her best friends all ambassadors for Dance Writer.

Her coach Tayla Blake has been very supportive of Alex throughout her dance journey.

“Tayla pushes me to be the best performer I can be and I’ve done things I never thought I could!”

“It’s hard work but it’s definitely worth it!”

Coach Tayla said she admires Alex for her maturity and support for others.

“Alex holds herself like someone well beyond her years. I forget sometimes that she is only 12!” Tayla laughed.

“She works with tunnel vision; she’s driven and knows exactly what she wants to achieve. Mixed with the way she unwaveringly supports her team mates and friends, it’s an uncommon but beautiful mix,” Tayla said.

She has been a top 10 finalist in the “Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler Australia tour” and trains in a highly sought-after extension program known as Dance Prescription. Nine-year-old Bella Jacobs—on top of all these achievements—has just been announced as the second ambassador for Dance Writer.

Bella began dancing at three-years-old. Based at the Dream Academy in Victoria’s western city suburbs, Bella trains in most dance styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary, acrobatics and even music theatre. Her coach Tayla Blake has inspired her greatly to be the best dancer she can be. “She is one of those kids who wants nothing more than for everyone to succeed and catch their dreams,” Tayla told Dance Writer.

Bella Jacobs mid-movement. Photography: Divadance.

Being an ambassador is very important to Bella as she believes she can show the world her passion for dance, inspiring others to achieve their own dreams. “I love to laugh and dance, and always look on the positive side of life,” said Bella. “I feel so happy, excited and proud to be an ambassador for Dance Writer,” she added.

When Dance Moms stars Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler came out to Australia to tour their workshops in January 2017, Bella knew this was her chance to impress her two idols. It was a dream come true,” Bella smiled. Learning from one of Australia’s best dance choreographers Marko Panzic from The Dream Dance Company really helped Bella develop the confidence to perform in front of the famous sisters.

Bella Jacobs a little ‘star-struck’ with Maddie and Mackenzie Ziegler from Dance Moms at the Australian tour.

“We all had to perform the choreography given to us by Marko. After the performances, Maddie and Mackenzie chose their top 10 finalists out of 170 participants,” told Bella. More than that, Bella also had to perform an improvisation solo in front of the panel. To her amazement, Bella was awarded a spot in the top 10. After all the performances, Bella met Maddie and Mackenzie and got a photo with them. “They were so humble and friendly,” she said. “This made me feel very special and that I can achieve anything I set my mind to,” she added.

On top of that awe-inspiring achievement, Bella has been training with Dr Lisa Ellis at Dance Prescription—a technique-based extension program for young dancers in Melbourne’s south-east. Bella has had the opportunity to train with such incredible young talent with the expert guidance of the dancer turned doctor. Dr Lisa Ellis focuses on technique and goal-setting so the dancers are reminded to constantly work hard to achieve their dreams. “Dr Lisa makes you believe in yourself and that you can achieve anything with hard work, dedication and lots of fun and laughter,” Bella said. She has just been accepted into Dance Prescription’s senior group, which will be a new and challenging adventure for Bella.

Bella Jacobs with Dr Lisa Ellis from Dance Prescription.

Alongside competing in solos and troupes, Bella also had the chance to participate in the Follow Your Dreams nationals competition in Ballarat. It seems like Bella’s hard work and dedication paid off as she was awarded a spot in the top 10.

Bella has been thankful to have the support of her family who takes her to all of her classes and competitions. Her mother Alison has been nothing short of a super-mum, always acting as Bella’s rock when needed. “My family always encourages me to take a strong interest in my passion for dance,” Bella said.

Dance Writer welcomes Bella Jacobs to the team with open arms.

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