Fabiana Grimaldi is a passionate dancer, choreographer and teacher, specialising in Afro-Brazilian and Brazil folkloric dance. Residing in the City of Whittlesea, Fabiana explores the personal, social and cultural benefits of dance, sharing her wisdom and practice across Melbourne's diverse communities.
Growing up in Brazil's Northeast, Fabiana studied classical, contemporary and Afro-Brazilian dance styles. At the age of 17 she migrated to Australia and completed a Diploma of Arts in Classical Dance with the National Theatre Ballet School and undertook Performance Studies at Victoria University. Fabiana holds a Certificate in Ballet Teaching with the Royal Academy of Dance.
Fabiana will be facilitating sessions at the library over the July school holidays. Needless to say, we were very excited to hear all about her practice!
How do you describe your creative practice?
I teach Afro-Brazilian Dance and my passion is ‘Orisha Dance’. It comes from the Yorubá culture brought from West Africa to Brazil. It focuses on male and female deities or gods and goddesses. Each Orisha has specific dance attributes and characteristics. The main focus is on natural elements of nature. The work is grounding, deep and releasing. I describe it as healing and empowering.
How and why did you get into this area of work?
I wanted to teach about my culture, its origins and its beauty. I had a strong desire to show how dance can be used as a medium to strengthen, breathe properly, release tension and stress whilst having fun along the way. It is a cultural workout!
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently I am focusing on Folk Dances from remote Brazil's Northeast. I am researching the European, Indigenous and African influences in folk dance. Brazil is a massive cultural melting pot.
Do you have a studio?
I teach Thursday evenings in Northcote. I am currently hiring a space in a ballet school. It has mirrors, good flooring and ventilation. I also teach Brasil Dance Play in schools, libraries and community facilities.
What influences, inspires or energises your practice?
I am constantly adapting to and influenced by what happens here and now with our world. I believe we are one and cultures and traditions are interconnected. I believe my ancestors are always guiding my work. What drives me is the sparkle in the eye and joy that my students get from this work.
What has been your favourite project to work on?
Last year I had the opportunity to work with a great cinematographer for a video shoot. It was a new experience and the result was outstanding. It was a great collaboration and it was fun to work on my concept. It was entitled Alegria e Lamento or Happiness and Sorrow in Portuguese.
In a typical week, how much time do you spend creating?
I generally spend around 8 to 10 hours weekly. Sometimes I choreograph while cooking or sketch in between school pick-ups. Time is precious so I try to make the most of it.
What do you define as success in the arts?
I believe that accomplishment is the most important element. Being true to yourself and your vision. When you feel aligned with your true self success comes and it doesn't necessarily mean it needs to be televised and praised by everyone.
How do you celebrate your successes?
Dancing around the house! A good glass of sparkling is welcome!
What has been the most touching moment you’ve experienced as a creator?
I have received invitations from the Yorubá Community in Melbourne to perform in their annual celebration day. It was a great honour to be amongst the Nigerian community who embraces and respect my work. Incredible joy and pride.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?
Be true to your vision and be open to advice and how people respond. Sometimes we need to be open, it doesn't mean you are not being loyal to what you believe. Be consistent, work hard, have discipline in your practice. Plant the seeds of your work and affirm it every day. Never judge your clarity on how people respond.
Do you have a favourite author or artist?
I grew up reading Paulo Coelho. The Alchemist is my first literary love. I am inspired by Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, composer Heitor Villa Lobos, Ian Tiersen, and Brazilian performers and artists including my mom Amalia Grimaldi who is a writer and artist.
Where can we see more of your work?
I perform with my dancers in festivals around Melbourne and some of my work can be seen on social media. I have a Facebook page Ballet Folklorico Fabiana Grimaldi with photographs and updates of my classes and workshops as well as curiosities about my practice.
You can catch Fabiana during the July school holidays - details coming soon.