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Tracee Micallef



Ballet, Vernacular Jazz

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Tracee Micallef

The best thing about adult dance is that they are here because they want to. They are all for different reasons, to learn something new, to do exercises, lose weight, or whatever. Their motivations are all different and it´s great because regardless that they want to be here.

Dance journey

When I was younger my grandmother really wanted her granddaughter to dance. So, it was her that first pressured my mother to take me to a ballet class, from where I understand it. I started ballet at the age of four and I learnt with a lady called Elizabeth Wood. And I just remember driving to her house with my mum to the studio in the bottom of her house.

I remember that it was just joyful. When I close my eyes, I can still remember the light coming through the window, tapping and everything. Elizabeth always made me work hard and I stayed with her until I was eight, and I have also done also tap with her and started to go into ballet competitions.

At the age of 8 I was awarded the Shell Trophy which is the state trophy for the dancer with the overall highest score in the SASDS of that year. I was in the papers and everything. I went from there to what was called the Adelaide College of Dancing with Gwen Mackay and Helen Beinki. I stayed there until I was 14 and had a ton of opportunities. I danced on a Saturday Night Live show, we did pantomine in holidays, and we did competitions. It was fantastic and I remember loving every minute, even though I was really pushed to work hard.

By the age of 14 I decided I was going to be a ballerina and I got special dispensation at school to study with Helen Beinki for two years full time. I successfully completed my Royal Academy of Dancing (RAD) Advanced examinations and received an invitation to compete in the Adeline Genee Awards in London but I went to Sydney to compete in the Sun Cup where I was a finalist. At that time it was the biggest ballet competition in Australia.

I competed. I did my exams. I loved pressuring myself into achieving a goal and everything. After that I went to the Centre for Performing Arts (CPA) in 1980 and was in one of the first groups that graduated from there. I went to Sydney with the Kinetic Energy Dance Company.

When I was 20 years old, I had a bike accident and I couldn´t be anywhere near ballet knowing all my friends could still do it and I couldn´t. It was too heartbreaking. After that I´ve tried other styles of dance, like the vernacular jazz that now I teach at Dragonfly Dance. I did a bit of eerobics and even taught for a while and a little bit of Zumba.

I used to do Lindy Hop with my husband, which I love because we have such a great time doing. We did some performances in community centres. And it was very good to me because we used to perform in little community centres, so I could have the chance to start again to work on my memory, to remember routines, to work with a group of people.

A few years ago, I had a neurological incident and I decided life is too short not to do what you really love and give It a go. So that´s when I decided to go back to ballet in the year of 2022 at Dragonfly Dance and in 2023, I started also to teach. So that´s my dancing journey and now I am completely in love with dance again.

I think the things I learned from my dance training enable me to do what I did. Because I left school when I was 14 years old, I had no education. Even before that, in year 10, I had good grades. The discipline to know that I needed to do school while I was travelling to dance.

After I had the accident, I got married almost immediately, when I was 21. I saw myself at 24 being a solo mum and the ability to kick my nose and do some pirouettes and not much else. I decided I wanted my son to be proud of me, so I did an adult test for university and I got into that, and gained my law degree and business degree. Its was absolutely the discipline from dance that enable me to work full time, being a single parent and get two degrees. In between that I took a job in Canberra, moved states with my son.
I never used to do just one thing, and I know it´s the training and discipline from ballet in that first instance. Never give up sort of thing that is instilled in you if you want to succeed as a dancer that helped me through everything else.

Tracee Micallef


Now I feel that when I teach, I am confident saying to people “Don´t give up, you can do this”. I hope that knowing a little bit of my story and it inspires them to think “You can do anything you really want to”. So, I think it´s probably my best gift as a teacher. I say to them I came back after injury, after two neurological incidents.

I hope they get something good. They leave saying: that was good! I´ve learnt something new or something that is positive. Which is why I leave my little positive notes so that can grab them when they are feeling a little bit blue. I hope that inspires.

The best thing about adult dance is that they are here because they want to. They are all for different reasons, to learn something new, to do exercises, lose weight, or whatever. Their motivations are all different and it´s great because regardless that they want to be here.

I love the aspect to being able to say to them: if this is too much to you, step out, tell me what your challenge is with this and I’ll help you out. And most of the time people are more than happy to say things like “I have a sore knee so I won´t do this”. And then we give alternatives. They are happy to do in the best of their own abilities. And you see that they are still working hard to get that energy, or look or feel even with their limitations. And it´s what it´s very excited as a teacher to see that everybody is 100% putting in. That´s very inspiring.

At Dragonfly Dance we have a very supportive environment. You have a lot of freedom with also structure, which means that I can be myself. The ethos of the school is also fantastic. The individuality, support, respect of all the differences, no pressure on the whole-body image thing just makes it a lovely environment to be creative and have fun at the same time.

Biography and qualifications

Technique training
- RAD Advanced Ballet exam
- Graduated from Centre of Performing Arts (CPA) dance program
- Completed Gold Star tap and all jazz examinations

Professional experience
- Professional dancer with Kinetic Energy Dance Company
- Pacific International Lindy Hop Champions 2017

Teacher training
- Certificate in Dance for Mature dancers
- Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) teacher training for Level 1
- Certified Rock and Roll dance teacher

Teaching experience
- Guest teacher at Castanetto Studios
- Taught Aerobics at TAFE

Other qualifications
- Law degree
- Business degree

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