Belinda Cooper

Ex professional dancer, current sewing genius, and retail manager, Belinda Cooper, is a contemporary dance lover.  She loves the way dance lets her be in the moment, and the challenge of non-verbal performance of dance, and finds performing to be an experience of calm.

 

Discover more about Belinda by reading her answers to our Q&A below.

Tell us about your early dance journey?  Where did you start and what did you do as a child?

I started learning Jazz Ballet aged seven. My teacher was ex Sydney Dance Company and the style of jazz was mixed with contemporary. I leant about Martha Graham early on!

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What is your earliest memory of dance?

The end of year concert (prior to me starting lesions). I remember watching the adult performance and there was a lady who looked like Barbara Streisand. She was a beautiful dancer and I remember thinking that I wanted to dance like her.

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Where have you trained and who were your teachers as a dancer?

I grew up in Sydney and trained with my teacher (as above) in Dural in the late 70’s/80’s. During school holidays my mum would drive me into the Opera House for dance workshops with Paul Saliba. I remember the first time I met him; he was scary. But I kept going back for more every time they ran the workshops and this gave me an inkling into what it would be like to work professionally as a dancer. I was selected into the University of Western Sydney and completed a BA Dance with many great teachers, but my favourite was Garry Lester.

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What have been some standout moments/achievements you’ve had with dance?

In high school I was fortunate to be selected to do a week’s work experience with an emerging company called Bangarra Dance Theatre. This experience gave me insight into what it would be like to work professionally and motivated me to enrol and complete my BA Dance. I have worked professionally with 2 Dance Plus (a dance education company in WA), Dance Works in Melbourne as well as a brief stint with Australian Dance Theatre (ADT). I met my husband via ADT so that experience was life changing!

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Have you performed in a Fringe show before? If so, tell us about it

Nope, never but really excited at the tender age of 49, to be performing at the 2021 Adelaide Fringe!

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What is your favourite thing about dance?

Being in the moment.

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What is your favourite thing about performing?

I love performing because I enjoy the challenge of communicating non verbally.

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What dance styles are you most drawn to?

I’m a lover of contemporary dance.

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What do you prefer – class, rehearsal, or performance, and why?

Performing makes me feel calm. Rehearsals are great exercise for my body and brain. Class will often have the little voice in my head nit picking…

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What are your top three favourite dance movies?

Who remembers White Nights? That’s an all-time favourite dance movie for me.

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Who are some of your favourite dancers or choreographers?

Philippe Decouffle is my favourite choreographer; genius!

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What for you is the most challenging and most rewarding aspect of dance?

The most challenging aspect of dance is mental (self criticism) but it is also an important part for self evaluation. The most rewarding is feeling strong, fit and I really love moving through space.

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How many times a week do you dance? And what are they (eg class, rehearsals, where, with who?)

This year I have managed the two hour commitment to rehearsals. I have dropped into classes where possible but my day job can throw many curve balls.

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What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received (again, it doesn’t have to be dance-related)

My sister passed this advice to me. She was given this advice from a very successful businessman. ‘Life is a series of decisions and consequences’.

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Why did you decide to audition for the MTL Performing Company?

I started contemporary classes in February 2020 but unfortunately couldn’t continue with them. I have enjoyed getting back in touch with moving again, it’s like an awakening only I’m really stiff and don’t have the best balance. I auditioned because I wanted to find something that I would commit to. Rehearsals require commitment and I’m proud of myself for getting there each week.

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What is your favourite thing about being part of the MTL Performing Company?

I enjoy being a part or the MTL company and working with Jo because not once has anyone said ‘yuck yuck yuck’. And yes, a former Artistic Director DID say that to me (using a microphone in a darkened theatre in front of my peers).

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What hobbies do you have outside of dance?

My creative outlet is sewing. Most of my wardrobe is made by me. It’s a solitary hobby and I enjoy the creative quiet time.

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What is your ‘day job’? (could be working, studying, volunteering etc)

I am the Manager of a large Big Box retail store and I love it. I have to be physically and mentally agile to get through the day.