Love is in the air at WAAPA for Strictly Ballroom The Musical

Choreographer Jayne Smeulders withleads Harry Targett (Mt Lawley) who plays Scott and Rose Shannon-Duhigg (Inglewood) who plays Fran. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d493486
Choreographer Jayne Smeulders withleads Harry Targett (Mt Lawley) who plays Scott and Rose Shannon-Duhigg (Inglewood) who plays Fran. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d493486

FORMER WA Ballet principal Jayne Smeulders would not be around if not for ballroom dancing – her parents practically met on the ballroom dance floor.

“I didn’t actually do ballroom dancing as a child, but I did many other styles of dance: jazz, tap, acro, lyrical, contemporary, ballet and also loved to choreograph,” Smeulders, of Nedlands, said.

“I love watching ballroom dancing and I’ve done a lot of partnering through my ballet career.”

Smeulders retired from performing professionally mid-2016 and turned her attention to teaching at WAAPA the following year, where she now coordinates the music theatre dance program.

She also teaches in the classical elite performance department and her current focus is on WAAPA’s mid-year production Strictly Ballroom The Musical at Regal Theatre, June 15 to 22.

“If you have a love of music, listening to the music and choreographing to what the music feels, it kind of all fits in to place,” she said.

“I do have a ballroom specialist advising me as well, which is good so I can bounce things off him and he’s helping me with some of the more difficult parts of the show.”

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WAAPA’s Strictly Ballroom The Musical.

Smeulders said she fell in love with Baz Luhrmann’s film Strictly Ballroom in 1992 and had watched it many times.

“It’s always been a movie that is a lot of fun, about a young dancer (Scott) who just wanted to show his passion, who didn’t want to be conformed by rules and regulations and fell in love (with Fran) in the process,” she said.

“It’s a very heart-warming and universal story that’s not just an Australian story because all over the world there are people so passionate about something that they want to break free.”

She said the stage production was visually amazing with colourful costumes and a feast of dance, along with classic songs from the film (including Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps, Love Is In The Air and Time After Time) and new music.

“It is so entertaining and the one thing I’m enjoying a lot is just seeing the energy from the students,” Smeulders said.

“They are young and passionate, which is infectious so we’re having a marvellous time.

“WAAPA is such a fabulous place because the whole production, the costumes, musicians, all the back stage, technical crew and props is all student-made.

“It’s a phenomenal place to be working in terms of the creativity that’s surrounding you and the positivity. It’s very rewarding.”

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THE ESSENTIALS

What: Strictly Ballroom The Musical

Where: Regal Theatre

When: June 15 to 22

Tickets: www.ticketek.com.au