21-year-old, Madeleine Magetti, gives us insight into the life of an independent dancer. Through her personal endeavours and professional experimentation with performance art, she deconstructs the belief that dancers are solely vehicles to embody a piece’s artistic merit. As she creates her own stage, she embodies both academic virtue and performance style, and renders herself as an artistic individual who shatters the shallow, superficial, dance stereotype with a refreshing authenticity.
How long have you been in the dance industry for?
I have been in the dance and performance industry, academically, for around 17 years. I began learning ballet when I was four and quickly moved to all other aspects of dance such as tap, jazz and contemporary.
When did you realise that dancing had become something professional, rather than only academic?
I had always been interesting in exploring the avenues that the performing arts had to offer, but was quite unsure how I would go about beginning. I first began to realise that this could become a reality for me when I was studying my Bachelor of Performing Arts, and I landed a dance job. This job shortly trickled into many others, and I found myself dancing in major productions such as the Victorian Opera’s La Traviata in 2014.
You said that studying performing arts has been invaluable, can you shed some insight as to why?
I majored in Theatre and Performance whilst undertaking my Bachelor of Performing Arts. I think what makes a successful performance artist is their ability to translate theoretical knowledge into something poignant and practical. Whilst studying, I learnt how to do this; I learnt how to transform my knowledge of performance history and other theoretical elements of performance into a practical adaptation. These skills are what allows me to contribute to the ever changing, contemporary theatre scene within Melbourne. Studying also broadens your horizons, particularly as a performance artist. I began my study with a sole focus in dance, but expanded and experimented with directing, dramaturgy and devising, which have assisted me in the production of my own works.
What are your thoughts on the theatre scene in Melbourne?
Melbourne’s theatre and performing arts scene is remarkable in its own right. There is an extensive mix of traditional and classical theatre being produced alongside independent, and contemporary works as well. However, in the recent years, it has extremely disappointing to witness the continued funding cuts from the arts scene – particularly the performing arts. That being said, the charisma and personality of the performing arts scene has continued to flourish, and I have an unwavering confidence that the future of Melbourne theatre will be rich and diverse. This is all due to the beautiful people who pour their essence into it, and in turn, are worth the distinction of being classified as performance artists.
What sort of ideas do you try and incorporate in your own work?
In my experience, when it comes to creating your own work, collaboration is inherently pivotal. There is something transcendent and immortal about working with other, passionate individuals and incorporating their unique skills and strengths into something timelessly artistic and beautiful. One of the most rewarding experiences for me, is to watch something so raw and basic being transformed into something complex and joyous to both witness and perform.
What area of performance are you interested in exploring?
At the moment, my inspiration has come from new musical theatre works. I am currently working on an original production which has been invaluable and challenging. I have been interested in exploring musical theatre due to my experiences in helping write and produce shows whilst studying, which are my fondest memories of my academic years. Many of the musicals overseas are spectacular, but there is an overwhelming amount of new work being made in Melbourne – the home grown talent is amazing, and Melbourne should be proud to have cultured it.