Gisella inspires United Dance Production recital
This week’s United Dance Production recital Trying Times represents a second chance for dancer Gisella Filice.
In 2020, Miss Filice was really looking forward to her final recital at UDP, after 15 years studying at the school.
“Me and a couple of other students were to be featured in it,” the 18 year old said. “It was our last year. There were a lot of new dances that we really loved, such as Jesus Walks.”
Then the pandemic hit in March 2020. Everything shut down and the recital was cancelled.
“I was really disappointed,” Miss Filice said.
After winning the National Dance Foundation’s Argo Foundation Award last year, she went straight on to college in Spain to study dance.
UDP owner Suzette Harvey said Miss Filice was the inspiration for Trying Times.
“I was not going to have a show,” Ms Harvey said. “I was just closing my doors for the summer when Gisella came to see me. She was home on vacation.”
She visited UDP on Court Street in Hamilton to say hello.
“She was telling me all about what she was doing in college, and what Spain was like,” Ms Harvey said. “She was still starving to do the recital she missed in 2020.”
Talking further, Ms Harvey agreed to hold it in the summer, if Miss Filice and a few other former students would do the leg work to get it organised.
“Sometimes you have to really gear dancers up,” Ms Harvey said. “It would have to be the alumni, because they were the better dancers, and it was going to be a six-week intensive. Not everyone can pick up on 11 dances in six weeks. A show like this usually takes us a year to put together.”
When Ms Harvey announced that she was holding Trying Times, some people said she would never do it. There was just not enough time to make it work.
Now she is proving the naysayers wrong.
Miss Filice found 15 former UDP dancers who were willing to take on the project, and then Ms Harvey brought in a dozen current dancers ages 12 to 15.
Miss Filice will be in five different numbers during the recital. “It is a push for me,” she said, “but I think it will be really good.”
Her favourite dance in the show is Mascharade.
“We dance with fans,” she said. “It is two pieces that are within the dance. It is slower in the start and then becomes high energy towards the end. I really love it. It is challenging for me, to say the least, but I really enjoy it. It is modern, I believe.”
She has also been helping another class with their dance.
“I am teaching them a piece that I performed when I was younger,” she said. “The choreographer is not on the island any more.”
In September, she goes into her second year at the Institute of the Arts in Barcelona, Spain.
“It is a three-year programme,” she said. “The first year is general. I take contemporary, tap, jazz, commercial, singing and acting and a couple of other lectures online. Then in the second and third year we become more specialised with more of a focus on auditioning and getting ready for the professional world.”
Her mother, Nives Filice, found the programme for her. It seemed like a good fit, because it allowed her to follow her passion for jazz and commercial dance.
And she is loving Spain.
“Barcelona is really beautiful,” she said. “I am in Sitges, 30 minutes from Barcelona. It is a very touristy town, so there is a lot of beaches and tourist attractions. But when you go to Barcelona, it is amazing. In Barcelona, the dance scene is very contemporary, but it is booming, for sure. There are a couple of companies in Barcelona, that some of my teachers are in. So it is very nice. Musical theatre is also big in Barcelona.”
Instruction at the school is in English.
“I learnt some Spanish in high school,” she said. “But I am not fluent in it. And where I am in Spain, there is no push to learn Spanish. If you stumble on your words, they start speaking to you in English. They assume you are a tourist.”
At the Spanish school, precautions have been taken to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Students are kept strictly to class bubbles. They wear masks at all times in class, and a sanitation officer cleans up after each class.
After university, Miss Filice hopes to work on cruise ships, tour the world, and then join a company or two. Then, if she is ready to come back to Bermuda, she wants to create arts opportunities for younger students.
“Here there are not many whatsoever at a professional level,” she said.
Trying Times will be held at the Berkeley Institute tomorrow and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are $45 and can be obtained by calling the UDP officer at 232-9933 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a Safekey event.
For more information see Uniteddanceproductions.com or check them out on Instagram @uniteddanceproductions,
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