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Behind the scenes with dance champions: Feathered and Fierce premieres at Sydney Fringe Festival 2017

A World Champion Samba dancer takes audiences beyond the glamour to the sweat, grit and incredible strength it takes to win in the highly competitive Latin dance world.

 Lauren Eisinger and Amy Mills are proud to present Feathered and Fierce, an unorthodox Latin dance show premiering at Sydney Fringe Festival from 5 – 9 September 2017 for five shows only. Tickets are selling fast via sydneyfringe.com.

 Director and Choreographer Amy Mills (World Samba Solo Champion 2015) has led her all female team to three National Samba Championships (2013, 2014, 2016). In their stage debut, Amy and her team will reveal all in an intimate visceral dance performance, at one of Sydney Fringe’s hottest new warehouse venues.

 Feathered and Fierce will throw back the curtain and reveal the raw strength, failures and dogged determination that it takes to create a moment in the spotlight,” says Amy.

 Producer Lauren Eisinger is known for her unique and eye-catching stage and circus shows, at some of Australia and the world’s most eclectic festivals and venues.

 “This is Latin dance like you’ve never seen it before,” says Lauren.

 “Eight powerful women push their physical and mental limits without restraint. In this stripped back space you’ll see the sweat, hear every breath, feel the camaraderie and find the drive that fuels this world-class team.”

 Amy Mills plans to create a unique experience for audiences.

 “We are giving audience members a real look behind the scenes, incorporating costume racks, ladders and road cases into a Latin dance, with performers who don’t leave the space throughout the show. We will use the versatility of the warehouse space to stage scenes in and around the audience, resulting in a highly immersive experience,” says Amy.

Feathered and Fierce will feature a soundscape unique to the troupe’s shows: a mix of instrumental Latin rhythms and modern pop music. 

 Feathered and Fierce will be an up-close and personal experience of the world within the world of competitive Latin dance. 

 What: Feathered and Fierce, theatrical dance show at Sydney Fringe Festival 2017

 Where: HPG Festival Hub Stage One, 225 Euston Rd, Alexandria, Sydney

 When: 7:30pm, 5 – 9 September 2017

 Tickets: Adult $25, Concession or Under 12 $22, Group 6+ $22. All tickets available from www.sydneyfringe.com

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Information & Images Courtesy of ‘Feathered and Fierce’/Fuller PR

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times Gourmet News – Food/Wine/Events

E: literallyconnie@gmail.com

Follow us on Instagram @tatgourmetmag

Read on for Additional Information about ‘Feathered and Fierce’ – Performers Biographies etc…

BIOGRAPHIES

 “Coach Mills” – Amy Mills

Director, Choreographer, Performer

 A passion for music, the art of performance and a desire to be better than she was the day before.

 Amy’s specialty is her take on the Brazilian dance style “Samba no Pé” having ran Samba performance teams at Latin Dance Australia for 12 years in addition to fitness classes at Crunch Fitness. Amy brings her many years of stage and teaching experience to her weekly classes that are full of energia!

 Coach Mills is not only a World Champion but has also coached World and National Champions. Dedicated & passionate about all things dance and fitness, Amy is an inspiration to many. 

 Her awards include:

 Instructor of the Year 2017 (Nevaland Group)

COACH | 1st Place Samba Soloist (Semi-Pro) – Australian Latin Dance Championships 2017 (Yasmin Uzunlar)

COACH | 2nd Place Latin Open Divison- Australian Latin Dance Championships 2017 (Amy Mills Samba Student / SWAT Team)

COACH | Australia Latin Open Samba Team Champions 2016 (Latin Dance Australia Samba Pro Team)

World Professional Samba Solo Champion 2015

COACH | 1st Place Samba Soloist (Amateur) – World Latin Dance Cup 2015 (Candice Lowden)

COACH | 1st Place Samba Soloist (Amateur) – Australian Latin Dance Championships 2015 (Candice Lowden)

Australia Latin Open Professional Samba Champion 2014

Latin Dance Australia Most Outstanding Contribution 2014

COACH | Australia Latin Open Samba Team Champions 2014 (Latin Dance Australia Samba Pro Team)

Australia Salsa Open Champion, Latin Open Team Pro Division 2013 (Latin Dance Australia Samba Pro Team)

COACH | Champion, Australian Salsa Solo Amateur Division 2013 (Aya Shiragaki)

COACH | First Runner Up, Australian Salsa Solo Amateur Division 2013 (Brigitte Mason)

FiSAF Australia Fitness Aerobics (NSW State Division) Gold Medal 2012, 2011

FISAF Australia Fitness Aerobics (Nationals) Gold Medal 2012, 2011

FISAF International Fitness Aerobics Bronze Medal 2011

Australian Salsa Solo Champion Women’s Division 2010

Australian Salsa Solo Overall Champion 2010

Latin Dance Australia Awards 2006-2014: Best Overall Professional, Best Choreographer & Best Performer

“English” – Teresa Sepede

Performer

UK Born, raised Italian, lives in Australia & dances Latin! With a huge passion for dance, music & fitness, Teresa only started her journey in dance back in 2010.  She performed in various Brazilian shows and festivals around the UK representing Liverpool Samba School.

 Since moving to Sydney in 2013 and joining Latin Dance Australia, Teresa has been learning from World Champions and well-renowned mentors. Coached and trained by World Samba Champion Amy Mills, Teresa became part of the Samba & Salsa Advanced teams before joining LDA ‘s Samba Professional & Show teams.

 Having danced alongside Amy Mills the last few years, Teresa has won National titles with the Samba Pro Team and performed in various international Latin shows and festivals. Teresa has since gone on to teach at Latin Dance Australia & also runs Latin fitness classes. 

Marketeer by day & dancer pretty much the rest of the time! Smiles at the world in hopes it’ll smile back. “I think when someone tells me I can’t or won’t achieve something, the little voice inside always goes…watch me! I love this group of ladies so much, they’ve been a home away from home, my family. That’s what Samba is to me, love, passion, community, people coming together.”

 “Koko” – Jo Dilag

Performer

 Jo Dilag is a versatile and passionate dancer who has excelled in every style that has come her way. 

Growing up in a blue-collar family, money was scarce and left nothing for extracurricular activities so she did the best with what she had. Self-taught from the age of 11 and with a deep love for all things dance, she would record her favourite dance music videos on VHS to learn and perform for her parents. 

In the year 2001, she indulged her senses in the street dancing scene of Sydney and from the age of 13, was entering local hip hop competitions and breakdance battles. 

 Come 2005, her parents opened her eyes to the world of Latin dancing when they started learning salsa and chaperoned her to the Sydney Salsa Congress (now Sydney Latin Festival). It became the family tradition to attend each year, and her love for the Latin scene catapulted as she herself went on to perform, compete and instruct for Latin Dance Australia in numerous shows, competitions and major Latin events across the nation and internationally.

 Her pure love for the art of movement has seen her grow from strength to strength, making it almost impossible not to get caught up in her enchanting passion and vigour with each performance.

 “Superstar” – Nathalie Eiroa

Performer

 A Latino powerhouse with all flavours of South America, Spanish and Brazilian parents and born in Uruguay, Samba was always in her blood. She strayed from her heritage as a teen contesting in Rock Eistedfords and Dance Spectaculars in Jazz and Contemporary dance genres. After having success in these dance styles Nathalie found herself performing at the Sydney Olympic opening ceremony. She was then faced with the hard decision of sacrificing dancing to focus on her studies to become a qualified Chartered Accountant. The decision was eased knowing that one day she would be back on the polished floors doing what she loves most.

She began her Samba journey in 2012 finding herself at the door steps of Latin Dance Australia. Showcasing natural talent and the ability to learn quickly she swiftly moved through the ranks from Intermediate to Advanced all the way to Pro & Latin Show Teams, under the brilliant guidance of World Champion Amy Mills. As with her junior years Nathalie has enjoyed success, this time at the professional level. The LDA Samba Pro team are currently undefeated in all competitions and two time national champions. Despite the heavy and time consuming role of an Accountant you will still see her in the dance studio or gym every night in preparation for the next challenge…Worlds.

 In the year 2001, she indulged her senses in the street dancing scene of Sydney and from the age of 13, was entering local hip hop competitions and breakdance battles. 

 Come 2005, her parents opened her eyes to the world of Latin dancing when they started learning salsa and chaperoned her to the Sydney Salsa Congress (now Sydney Latin Festival). It became the family tradition to attend each year, and her love for the Latin scene catapulted as she herself went on to perform, compete and instruct for Latin Dance Australia in numerous shows, competitions and major Latin events across the nation and internationally.

 Her pure love for the art of movement has seen her grow from strength to strength, making it almost impossible not to get caught up in her enchanting passion and vigour with each performance.

“Rex” – Caitlin Hennessey

Performer

From the age of three Caitlin was in ballet shoes and danced on her feet then graduated to her toes up until the age of 18. “A dancers never can say they quit. They just take breaks,” says Caitlin.

 Caitlin is classically trained with the RAD syllabus. She began Samba back when her brother became serious with his Capoeira and would have hodas with his group. When they were finished Caitlin would join in with the Samba girls. She had a particular love of the live music and loved but only became serious about Samba after moving to Sydney and joining Amy Mills in her Samba Beginners at Latin Dance Australia.

 Having done quite a bit of partner dancing also, it has taken Caitlin five years to master the basics and change her posture completely. “I never thought I would be where I am with Samba today. I never thought I would be in this team but it’s the love of the team, the hard work, dedication, passion and just pure enjoyment I get from this language I call dance,” says Caitlin.

 Caitlin has performed at many festivals, corporate and private events and has learnt how to become an athlete. She has an open mind with a sense of humour and greatly enjoys working with people who have a passion for dance.

An art director by day, dancer by night, Caitlin continues working on some worldwide accounts from Philips Electronics Packaging to Aldi Super Markets and TVC commercials.

 “Ness” – Vanessa Tohme

Performer

 It was the year 2006, and a then 21 year-old Vanessa faced the unexpected and sudden loss of her Father.  After an arduous two years, struggling to cope, she knew it was time for a change.

 Vanessa combined her love for Travel, Culture and Life and explored Europe for an extended time with her sibling. This trip would act as the catalyst that would open Vanessa’s heart and soul to new and exciting experiences. She was able to discover the language of her soul…dance.

 With an extensive library of countless dance movies and TV shows, Vanessa dreamed of becoming the dancer she idolized on the big screen. In 2009, she had her first taste of salsa and was instantly hooked!

 Salsa, Reggaeton, Zouk Lambada, Vanessa was an astute student. She would later find her niche in Samba under the guidance of World Samba Champion Amy Mills. Social events, Latin festivals, Latin balls, her talent was shared all over Australia and the world. Performances from New Zealand to Noumea, Vanessa’s highlight to date has been performing Samba under the bright lights of the 2016 Rio Carnival in Brazil with the eventual winners escola G.R.E.S Paraíso do Tuiuti.

 Vanessa continues to improve her style and technique whilst living a healthy lifestyle. She lives by the mantra of always striving for the best and to stop at nothing to reach your set goals.

“Tats” – Danielle Jae Álvares

 Performer

 Danielle started ballet at the age of three in Nicole Marie’s School of dance. Since her first day in class she knew she had a great love for the art and then was enrolled in more styles including Jazz and Tap. During her 14 years at this dance school she was involved in many Eisteddfods, end of year concerts, and yearly ballet examinations for the Royal Academy of Dance.

 Carrying on from her days in dance she went on to Artistic Gymnastics at Caringbah YMCA where she eventually competed in States, bringing home a bronze medal.

In 2014 Danielle enrolled in Samba Begginers at Latin Dance Australia and stayed consistent, eventually making her way up to intermediate, advanced, SWAT team and then early 2016 was asked to be an understudy for the Latin Dance Australia Professional Samba Team. Her Coach, Amy Mills is the 2015 Samba World Champion is Danielle’s biggest inspiration and motivation in every aspect of her Samba career. Amy’s energy and training methods are like no other and her approach to Samba has a massive positive effect to all her students.

Danielle has competed in two competitions with the Pro Samba team this year which include states and nationals; in both competitions the team was placed first. She is very excited for what the future holds for this hard working and inspiring team.

Jessica Angileri

Performer

 Australian born, Italian blood but Latin at heart. Jessica has lived, breathed and felt music and dance her whole life.  From watching her grandparents dance together as a small child, to creating dance moves with her sisters, to running the dance group at her primary school, its dance that drives her soul. “It’s the hidden language of my soul, my escape and what makes me whole, it’s like breathing. “

 Travelling around the world from a young age has opened her eyes and heart to a world of dance and music, and the ability to bring people together.Jessica tried different styles of dance such as hip hop during her twenties as she was trying to discover herself but it wasn’t until she came across beautiful women on the street, not only dancing, but dancing from their heart and to the beat of “that drum,” and that is Samba, she fell in love with the dance. 

 In 2015, she joined Latin Dance Australia and instantly fell in love with the dance and the inspiring, beautiful Amy Mills and the vibe that she created in her classes.  Jessica regularly attended her beginners and intermediate classes and slowly opened her heart to other Latin dance styles such as Salsa and Bachata, which was the main reason for travelling to Cuba this year.

 She performed at the Latin Dance Australia Ball and it was then she found her passion for performing, it made her feel alive again. Only after one choreography and performing at Sydney Latin Festival in January 2017, she was asked to join Amy Mills Samba Pro Team as a trainee which sparked the beginning of a new chapter in her life.