Personal Statement:

"It has been my mission for the past many years to pass on to others not only the sequences and steps, but more importantly the artistry and spiritual quality that makes classical ballet such an enduring and much loved art-form."

Sharon performed as a ballerina for companies in South Africa. Her roles included Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Peter in Frank Staff's Peter and the Wolf, La Sylphide, Cinderella, as well as Gala Performances of Raymonda and Paquita, and Hans van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier pas de deux (Third Couple). She also danced neo-classical, contemporary and experimental ballet works at annual South African Dance Umbrella events, alongside her long term ballet partner Alan van den Berg.

"My training started with the Royal Academy (RAD) ballet exams, and then at University I had the opportunity to dance the ISTD Cecchetti Vocational Majors, followed by private classes in the Vaganova method taught by an ex-Perm ballerina. Throughout my adult life I have supplemented my early company classes with open classes and workshops, particularly those offered by Pasi Nieminen and Vyvyan Lorraine in Durban and Johannesburg, and then with New Yorker Jonathan Angelucci, and Béjart Ballet's Timothy Gordon, as well as PACT/SABT Principal Kimbrian Bergh in New Zealand. 

This personal exposure to the three great ballet teaching methods, RAD, Cecchetti and Vaganova, followed by the high level, professional and eclectic teaching styles of celebrated dancers-turned-teachers, has provided me with a broad world view in terms of how to engage students in the ballet classroom. I regard it as the utmost honour and a vast privilege to be able to share my knowledge and deep passion for ballet with others. I believe that dancers and dance students benefit from my clarity and demonstration skills, my knowledge of kinesiology and flexibility, and my tremendous understanding of the emotional and artistic content of the ballets which they will be encountering on their journey going forward".

Sharon started Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) ballet classes at the age of nine, and danced Royal Academy, ISTD Cecchetti, and Russian Vaganova ballet classes and examinations. She was one of only three dancers who received Honours with Distinction for the ISTD Cecchetti Advanced 1 exam in that year. She is an accredited teacher for ARBTA (The Association of Russian Ballet and Theatre Arts) UK.

She has a passion for ballet repertoire and has chosen to specialise in teaching these classical ballet variations at an open class level, to encourage participation and to enhance an understanding of these ballets, as well as a sense of the privilege involved in dancing the great choreographies of the major ballets. The pedigree of her own great Russian ballet teachers is evident in the depth of knowledge and insight she has for both the classical and neo-classical styles.

Sharon served as an Executive Board member for the Performing Arts School of New Zealand (PASNZ) from 2008-2012. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree (English, Classics & History of Art) as well as an H.Dip. Project Management from two Universities in Johannesburg, South Africa.

"Although I specialise in teaching adults, my three year teaching post as Senior Ballet Tutor at The Performing Arts School of New Zealand gave me the opportunity to focus on bringing ballet to life for dancers 15+years old. I have primarily taught teen and adult age groups, as my approach to technique is based on kinesiology and I give corrections that are essentially bio-mechanical. Dancers who can understand how to access certain muscles and who are body aware, will be more likely to apply my corrections successfully." 

Sharon was awarded the 'Perfect Form Physiotherapy Dance Teacher and Health Professional' certification from Lisa Howell Physiotherapy (Australia), which specialises in increasing flexibility for dancers and in dance injury prevention and management. She has recently received certification from Marie Walton-Mahon for the PBT Progressing Ballet Technique training system.

Sharon offers private technique lessons, classical ballet repertoire/variation group and solo classes, pointework workshops, competition and audition preparation, and body alignment and flexibility classes in Dublin by appointment only. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Ballet Áthas Youth Ballet Company and the Ballet Áthas Adult Ensemble Company.

 
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Sharon Vandermerwe B.A. ARBTA PBT

Member: International Dance Council CID UNESCO