Portia Shares Her Passion with Year 6s
Year 12 student Portia Pittorino has been dancing since she was 2, dance is her life. Portia was invited to work with Year 6 girls teaching them hip-hop over three lessons, this term. We asked Portia about her passion for dance.
When Mrs Wynn asked me to help out with the Years 6 students, I was so excited and eager to teach them. Arriving to my first lesson, I scanned the room to see the bubbly students filled with enthusiasm, making me feel relaxed. I felt like I was teaching at my own dance studio. Since that first lesson, the girls have surprised me every time. They have continued to improve and embrace the lessons. The girls have learnt my choreography by listening carefully to the fine details of the movement and have performed their hip-hop routines in a funky and fresh style.
How do you balance everything?
Studying ATAR Dance and Drama, whilst completing a Certificate III in Dance, dancing four times a week, teaching dance, as well as revising for upcoming assessments is a real challenge. But overall, it’s the most rewarding experience and one I will cherish forever. Dance and Drama are my favourite classes. I have been studying them since Year 7. These classes have not only provided me with a chance to express myself after sitting at a desk, but my knowledge and passion for the arts has grown immensely. Not only have these subjects encouraged my future goals in the arts but have also helped me achieve so much. Such as the completion of my Certificate II in Dance, and my journey to complete my Certificate III and hopefully obtain my Certificate IV and a Diploma in Dance and Performing Arts down the track. As crazy as my week sounds overall, I couldn’t be happier. The support from my family, friends, Mrs Wynn and Miss Hux and my dance studio family is the reason I am able to balance and maintain a positive and healthy lifestyle.
Being a member of the Perth Scorchers Hype dance crew is my biggest and proudest accomplishment in my dance career so far. I first started dancing with the Perth Scorchers in 2015, as one of the youngest in the group. I was accepted again in the 2018/19 season and then the 2019/20 season at Optus Stadium. Being one of the youngest in the team to be selected was incredible, but then to be informed I was selected as one of the team leaders for my specific group, to guide, prepare and instruct on the game days was unbelievable. The opportunity has not only given me the chance to perform and show people what I love to do but also the ability to interact with a live crowd, with younger and older audiences, growing my career in the dance industry, as well as supporting the Perth Scorchers. This definitely is an accomplishment I will treasure forever.
Where do you dance?
I dance at the Valerie Heston School of Dance. My time consists of dancing four days a week, every week, preparing for my advanced tap exam, whilst teaching every dance style from hip hop to fairy ballet to a range of students aged 3-16. From being at the studio since 2014, my dance technique and performance has changed completely into a professional and stronger dancer. This has allowed me to win awards, including most conscientious and hardworking for my exam work, as well as best stage performer twice. The Valerie Heston School of Dancing is not just a dance studio, it is a family and that’s what makes it feel like home.
What do you love about dance?
What don’t I love about dance is the real question! Not only is it a chance for me to express how I am feeling, the ideas in my head and the motion of the music, but the way I can influence other dancers and aspiring performers. Teaching six different classes at the studio leaves me feeling accomplished. The way the students listen, ask questions and get so involved makes me eager to want to learn from others and teach others. I love it! Not only do I love dancing at my own studio, but also when working with the Year 6s, helping out at IGSSA or Friday morning dance, but I am also continuously getting the same rush. I had a group of Year 6 students approach me so excited on my way to my ATAR Dance class and they yelled out “Hi Portia, see you at Hip Hop!” as they hurried off after recess, filling my heart with warmth as I acknowledged their smiles and enthusiasm. This is the reason I love to dance, the reason I do what I do each week and am still excited for the weeks and years of dance to come.
What is your favourite style of dance?
I have studied a range of styles of dance from the age of 2, ranging from jazz, tap, contemporary, ballet, hip-hop and commercial dance, but my favourite style would have to be hip-hop. Even though I started off as a ballet dancer and wanted to be a prima ballerina at the age of 2, my career to be an elite ballet dancer suddenly disappeared as I had an eager passion for the style hip hop.
I think my desire for hip hop and street dance was influenced by either mum belting out some Missy Elliot when I was in the womb or watching my dad do the moonwalk around the house. I have performed in hip-hop troupes and solos at competitions and against older dancers and have taken out first place!
As you can tell I am invested into hip-hop dance, and through my knowledge and technique of the style, I use this to influence younger and older students to try this style and express it in their own way.