The Malta Independent 20 October 2017, Friday

Olivia Dow Bolsters contemporary and classic ballet

Malta Independent Saturday, 13 August 2005, 00:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

Olivia Dow has always reiterated that all kinds of styles are possible if one has the fundamental classical training on board.

Her system is very easy to understand. She starts her pupils from the age of three – not in baby classes, but straight into classical ballet curriculum – Legat System (Russian Classical Ballet). When they are strong enough, approximately at age nine or 10, she puts them en pointe. At the same time, she introduces them to character dance and gradually to modern/contemporary through choreographic workshops and finally, jazz.

This is a gradual process which has proved to be incredibly successful with Olivia Dow’s pupils. To prove her point, she decided to work on a project which demonstrated all this in a more understandable, visual way. So the show Fantasyland – The Danceshow was conceived.

Since last November, Olivia Dow’s creative husband John has been working on collating numbers with different styles but with a common denominator – classic rock. What he came up with is an array of incredibly catchy numbers by brilliant artistes from Queen to The Mamas and the Papas, from the Gypsy Kings to Mason Williams, from Wayne Lytle to Beck, Hans Zimmer and Liza Gerrard.

The innovative original choreography, supported by king-size animations on a 5 x 3.75 metre screen – which was created by Olivia Dow and her clever assistant Ivelina Dimitrova – was so unusual and refreshing that their contemporaries branded it as the contemporary-classical show of this generation. Everybody raved about

the type of music and choreography used in Fantasyland - The Danceshow.

The beautiful costumes, which were mainly imported from abroad via Mecca Enterprises and the incredible lighting effects provided by Mario Caruana of ITC Light Sound Vision, coupled with the dynamic sound by Wave Enterprises, the animations projected by Melchior Vassallo through his Wide Angle Lens Infocus projectors on the mega screen all gave Olivia Dow the tools which made this show so spectacular.

You could not pinpoint why and where but you knew that this was no ordinary show. There must have been a lot of thinking behind this new concept. Things were not just happening by chance. The preparations for such a performance must have been phenomenal, including long sleepless nights burning the midnight oil.

Fantasyland - The Danceshow was the first high-tech dance show that I have seen here and it certainly lays the foundations for similar shows in the future. The formula worked and everyone present at Sir Temi Zammit that Sunday evening came out smiling, satisfied and raving about what they had seen and heard.

The performers, ranging from three years old up to 18, were all perfectly disciplined in their art, precise and beautiful in their execution, smiling, graceful, expressive and, above all, happy to be there, entertaining others. Parents have asked Olivia and John on several occasions: “What are you doing to these kids to make them so happy and not want to leave?” The answer was simply: “We are teaching them how to enjoy themselves entertaining others with love, passion and enthusiasm – and we are doing this with love.”

Olivia Dow has come a long way since 1993, when she introduced her first 15 pupils as Petit Ballet Russe de Malte. Today, Ballet Russe de Malte is a truly magnificent youth ballet company within the Olivia Dow School of Russian Ballet with a difference! Each year, it gives us a different concept, always highly original, completely contrasting with what we saw the year before.

Olivia Dow is always inventing, moving forward, changing, and seeking perfection. One thing we know for certain – there will be something very new in her production next year. Both Olivia and John said that next year they will be producing the greatest dance show ever seen on our shores. And so far, they have always kept their word!

Olivia Dow will be opening her doors to her existing pupils and newcomers on 2 September. For more information, please contact her on 2158-3368 or Mob: 9947-4127, or visit www.oliviadow.com

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