Millie Garard

Millie Garard

Mother of two, and dance teacher in training, Millie Garard says that when she’s lacking motivation, just showing up is the key, and from there, she might as well keep going.

Tall, elegant, and graceful, Millie always wanted to be a ballerina, but life had other plans, but as she’s discovered, returning to dance as an adult can be just as rewarding as a performance career.

Find out more about Millie – inquisitive, nonsensical, and verbose – in her answers to our Q&A

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

I fell in love with classical ballet at the age of seven and decided that I wanted to dance. I was given a picture book by our neighbour for my birthday on how to become a ballerina, and I used to practice the positions of the arms and feet at home. Mum signed me up to ballet classes the following year, and I had 18 months of learning RAD syllabus before dance classes became too expensive for mum.

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What is your earliest memory of dance?

I have some super fun memories from that time. Learning to waltz to Rainbow Connection so I could perform as Miss Piggy for the concert is one; learning a character piece to The Entertainer is another. I recall being backstage during dress rehearsals in our white tutus and being completely filled with admiration and inspiration watching the “big girl” (small school, only one dancer was en pointe at that time) dance on her tippy toes! We were on a float (read: flatbed trailer) for the Bougainvillea Festival that year in our tutus in the boiling sun and high humidity!

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

My short stint dancing as a kid was with Bev Cowan School of Ballet in Darwin. As an adult, I came back to ballet through Australian Dance Theatre’s classes before finding classes with MTL when my kids’ activities started happening on the same night as dance class and I had to find an alternative solution. With pole dancing, I’d gotten into a conversation with someone who taught pole classes and thought I’d give it a try.

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

I got to compete in my very first state competition for a heels-mandatory pole dancing style last year, at the age of 42, and managed to come 10th of 13 amateur performers. It was scary because my performance was first; directly after the opening act of five internationally acclaimed professional dancers in an amazingly choreographed piece.

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What is your favourite thing about dance?

That anyone can do it if they want to. And there are so many different ways to convey whichever emotion you wish to show the audience.

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What is your favourite thing about performing?

I love the very quiet bustle and excitement of backstage. There is such a beautiful camaraderie to be found there.

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What dance styles are you most drawn to?

Classical ballet is my first love, but I’ve also found freedom in contemporary dance. I also want to explore salsa more with my partner as a social thing.

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What are your top three favourite dance movies?

Dirty Dancing, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I saw Shall We Dance? again recently and was reminded just how much I love seeing a man who derives joy from dance. I don’t see enough of them out there.

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

It is physically and emotionally so demanding. But a beautiful performance is well worth it.

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What training or practice do you do at home?

I find I’m better motivated when I attend a class, so don’t really do much at home. I do attend a dance class (or rehearsals) five days a week, and teach on a sixth.

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What are your dance goals, dreams, or aspirations?

I’d still love to dance en pointe one day, and am taking classes towards that end. I’m learning to teach others, which is also something I love. Choreographing for someone other than myself would also be pretty cool.

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Who inspires you (they can be dance or not dance related)

My kids, my students, the ladies in MTL mature classes, kindness, and seeing others light up when they talk about something they’re passionate about.

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What keeps you motivated when you are tired, discouraged, or down?

Showing up physically to class. When I get there, I figure I might as well keep going no matter how tired, discouraged or disillusioned I might feel.

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

It sounded fun!

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How did you hear about Move Through Life?

I googled adult dance classes in Adelaide about 6 years ago.

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

Meeting such a wide variety of people, all of whom love to dance.

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What always makes you laugh?

So many things in this lifetime. If I can’t find something to at least chuckle about, it is time to leave that situation because it’s probably unsafe.

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What hobbies do you have outside of dance?

I love to read, and I love to listen to music. I especially enjoy listening to Triple J, there’s so many new compositions coming out and the J’s are a great place to discover them.

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

I’m learning to teach dance at the moment, and I’m a mum of two kids with their own bustling social lives.

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Describe your personality in three (or so) words

Inquisitive, nonsensical, verbose.