FIIT dancers present Wonderland

The Space's FIIT program in 'Wonderland'.
The Space's FIIT program in 'Wonderland'.

The Space Dance and Arts Centre in Prahran, Melbourne, is one of Melbourne’s biggest dance studios. The amazing location attracts not only dance talent but also many freelance teachers and companies who utilise the many great studio spaces on offer. The Space is run by husband and wife team Deb Cantoni and Ariel Bud; they started the school in 2001. 

Open Weekend at The Space.
Open Weekend at The Space.

The Space has a fulltime dance training program specialising in commercial dance. Flexible Intensive Industry Training (FIIT) is designed to create a balanced approach to assisting dancers to reach their potential. Rather than training for a whole day, dancers train for half days, allowing them to supplement their training with sufficient rest and to work if necessary. The course also provides performance opportunities for its dancers. Wonderland is the most recent work they have presented at Gasworks Arts Park.

“This show explores a topic that is close to my own heart,” says Bud. “Not a coming of age story but an exploration of age. Over the years, we have watched so many young dancers develop into strong and independent women and men.”

Bud, who devised the work along with Cantoni and Trent Harlow, adds, “There is this strange and exciting time in a young person’s life. They are starting to take flight from the nest, sometimes soaring, sometimes crashing and burning; lives and personalities are starting to take shape; responsibilities and freedoms have to be balanced. Who is in charge of this world? Where do I fit in? Who do I look up to? How will I survive? Why didn’t anyone warn me about this?”

Presentations of work like Wonderland are also part of the opportunity The Space provides for the FIIT dancers to gain performance experience and present their work to the industry. This season of Wonderland has finished, but coming up on January 18 and 19, at The Space, there is a Summer Open weekend where you can dance all day and try many different styles. 

“We are so excited about the passion for dance at all age levels at The Space at the moment,” says Cantoni. “Even in what has sometimes been the off-season.” 

There are taster classes programmed all weekend for the curious to try many things out. It is also an opportunity to meet the FIIT training program teachers, and dancers can audition for the program at the weekend as well.  Cantoni adds, “Open Day can see over 500 adults of all ages and walks of life participating in a massive weekend of unlimited classes.”

To find out more, visit www.thespace.com.au.

By Tamara Searle of Dance Informa.

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