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Tianna Koolloos: ‘Learning from Dusty Button changed my life’

Tianna Koolloos. Photo by Peter Hinsdale.

Certain events can be absolutely life-changing, and life certainly took a fabulous turn for aspiring ballerina Tianna Koolloos after participating in the International Ballet Workshops’ (IBW) Winter 2017 Series. Koolloos, a graduate of The Conlan College, was given an opportunity to attend the BellaMoxi Dance Convention in the USA by star ballerina Dusty Button, who was IBW’s international guest teacher in July 2017.

IBW brings elite ballet teachers to Australia and New Zealand for workshop tours twice yearly. This coming January, Button returns for a second time! (If you haven’t booked your spot yet, don’t delay, as some classes are already sold out…)

Tianna Koolloos. Photo by Peter Hinsdale.

Tianna Koolloos. Photo by Peter Hinsdale.

We recently caught up with Koolloos as she continues to embark on her ballet adventure overseas. Here, she tells us about her IBW experience, working with Button in America, and what the next exciting stop in her dance journey will be.

How have you enjoyed your IBW workshops?

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every IBW workshop! Every workshop brings something different, and I have learned so much from all the amazing people who have come to teach and share their knowledge. It doesn’t matter who the teacher is, you learn and grow from every workshop and leave feeling inspired.”

What was it like meeting and learning from Dusty Button?

“It was so inspiring meeting such a famous ballerina and someone I had looked up to for such a long time. Dusty taught me so much and helped me to really believe in myself, to believe it was worth fighting for my dreams and pushed me past my safe zone. Learning from Dusty changed my life.”

Was she different to how you thought she might be?

“I was nervous before my lesson because she is such a well-known ballerina, but as soon as I stepped into my private with her, I felt so comfortable. Not only is she an incredible and inspiring dancer, she is also one of the best teachers I have ever learnt from! She is also the coolest person I know, and I am so lucky to have her as a mentor and friend. She is so down-to-earth and humble.”

What was something valuable you learned at the workshops?

“I have learned so many valuable things from all the workshops, but one of the biggest things I have learned is to never give up, to believe in myself, to fight for my dreams and not be afraid to fail.”

What was the prize you won from Dusty, and how did you feel upon receiving it?

“I won a scholarship from Dusty to BellaMoxi, which is a dance convention in America. I was very thrilled, shocked and humbled to have received the scholarship, and I just knew it was something that I had to do!”

What was it like attending BellaMoxi?

“Attending BellaMoxi in Torrance, California, was amazing, as I got to take class every day with Dusty and also assist her in teaching some of her classes. I made some amazing friends and met so many inspiring dancers and incredible faculty across all genres of dance and musical theatre. I was very lucky to receive four first places in the BellaMoxi competition and was also awarded an amazing scholarship to the BODYTRAFFIC Summer Program in Los Angeles. BellaMoxi expanded the way I thought about dance. It was was one of the best experiences of my life and helped me to know that America is where I wanted to continue my ballet training.”

Dusty Button with Tianna Koolloos. Photo courtesy of Koolloos.

Dusty Button with Tianna Koolloos. Photo courtesy of Koolloos.

What has happened since attending, and where are you now?

“I can’t believe how much has changed since attending the IBW workshops and then the BellaMoxi Dance Convention in April! Working with my teachers at The Conlan College, I auditioned for and was excited to be accepted into many top schools across America and Europe. I chose to attend the five-week Joffrey Academy of Dance Summer Intensive in Chicago, and then accepted a position in its full-time ballet Professional Conservatory Program. I have just moved to Chicago to start the next step of my training, and I am loving every moment.”

How has IBW impacted you and your pathway?

“IBW has made such a huge impact on my path. It has provided amazing opportunities, helped me to believe in myself, grow as a better dancer and opened my mind to new ideas.”

What would you say to anyone thinking about attending IBW?

“If you are thinking about attending an IBW workshop it is a 100 percent must! Not only is there the chance that you could be awarded a life-changing scholarship, but you will also come out of every class feeling inspired and will definitely leave having learnt something new.”

What dreams are you working toward now?

“My dream is to become a professional ballerina in an amazing company like The Joffrey Ballet that has a strong ballet and contemporary repertoire. I am working hard to keep improving every day, and I am so grateful to all the people who have helped me to believe in myself and gave me the courage to fight for my dreams.”

International Ballet Workshops’ Summer 2019 “Blaze Your Own Trail” Series with Dusty Button, takes place from January 3 to February 2, in Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Sydney, Hobart and Perth. Book at www.internationalballetworkshops.com. IBW is supported by Dance Informa, Capezio, EnPointeOrthotics and DanceSurance.

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