All Things Dance & Discipline with Sophie Molony

Year 10 student Emily Molony (left), who was taught by her sister and Santa Maria College graduate, Sophie Molony (right), in a Year 10 Dance workshop.

Sophie Molony (2021), recently paid a visit to the College, teaching our Year 10 Dance students a commercial jazz number.

We thought we would take this as an opportunity to sit down with Sophie and get a glimpse into her life as a dance student at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

We talked about passions, careers, and work-life balance. 

Here is what she had to say:

What have you been teaching our Dance students?

I have been teaching the Year 10 Dance students a commercial jazz dance that I have choreographed. I am piecing together this dance for Dance Day, which takes place in August. I’m hoping this choreography will allow the students to have some fun and learn some commercial jazz techniques.

What have you enjoyed most about working with our Dance students?

This is my first time choreographing with a large number of students, so I am enjoying the challenge of holding the attention and respect of this group. I’m also enjoying the opportunity to plan spatial patterning and utilise choreographic devices such as canons, for aesthetic purposes, which are most visually effective on larger groups of students.

What would be your biggest piece of advice to students, in helping them succeed in the subject of Dance?

My biggest piece of advice would be to start all assignments early! Completing piece by piece of each assignment, one hour at a time over a few weeks, will keep stress to a minimum. It will also produce a higher quality product, which isn’t rushed and completed the night before its due. ATAR Dance assignments, especially choreography assignments, always take longer to complete. I find it very helpful to start working on them early and take advantage of as much in-class time as possible.

What are three of the most valuable skills you took away from studying Dance at Santa Maria College?

The three most valuable skills I took away were time management, cooperation, and adaptability. Although I’m still working on my time management, Dance pushed me to balance both theory and practical work, which I continue to do at WAAPA. With any career, you will have to work with people you don’t know or who you may not get along with. You will have to cooperate to achieve the combined goal or task. I learned this skill, and continue to practice it, through collaborative group dance assignments. From dancing throughout my childhood, I have learned to adapt to new situations, develop new skills, and process information quickly and under pressure, which I believe assists me in all areas of study, work, and life.

What are you currently studying at WAAPA?

I am currently in my second year, studying for a Bachelor of Arts (Dance). My course focuses on contemporary dance techniques and performance. This year I will also study ballet technique, dance teaching methods, kinesiology, dance history, choreography, improvisation, aerial, and Indian dance practice.

What have been some of the highlights at WAAPA so far? 

My highlights have been the people I have met and worked with during my time so far, including dancers, lecturers, and choreographers. The knowledge and passion they share inspire my love and aspiration of pursuing a career in dance.

What was one of the biggest draw cards from WAAPA? Why WAAPA over a traditional university and course?

My initial motivation to choose WAAPA over a traditional, academic university course, was thinking that I can always study when I’m older. My body won’t always be young and capable of training vigorously, doing the things that I want it to do! I told myself I can always drop out of WAAPA if I don’t enjoy it, but once I auditioned and made it in, I knew it was meant to be.

Who do you think WAAPA is suited to and why would you recommend it?

I think WAAPA is suited to open-minded individuals focused on shaping and changing the future through arts advocation. I recommend WAAPA to those who are passionate about their art form and are prepared to sacrifice their personal life to meet the high number of contact hours.

Where do you hope to take your career in the future? Do you have any plans or long-term goals?

I hope that my career will take me travelling, both nationally and internationally. After I graduate from WAAPA, I plan to take intensives and workshops around the world to learn more about dance in different cultures and countries and collaborate with other artists across the globe.

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Sophie.

We can’t wait to hear about your stories, traveling the world dancing.

the Winter Appeal and Outreach Mass at Santa Maria College.

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