All people in our team are volunteers.
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT
French from origin, Aurélia lives in Zurich where she has worked in various roles for large multinational companies, mostly in the field of leadership and organisation development. She now is working as a freelance presence and public speaking coach.
Initially from a Literature and Business academic background, a career break gave her the opportunity to make a dream come true: bring an artistic and philanthropic project to life. Passionate about dance, the topic came to her very naturally.
“The What Dance Can Do Project was born from the belief that dance can change lives. And that more people should know about it. Dance is empowering in so many ways, it can play an active role in driving positive change at individual, community and society levels. Dance programs are not a cost; they are an investment in the future of humanity.”
Seasoned professional in the areas of brand management, strategic marketing and business development, Marie is based in Paris.
Being fascinated by visual arts, including photography and opera, Marie has discovered ballet dancing with Aurélia as an introduction to the What Dance Can Do Project. Realising how much she was herself moved by the poetry and energy of dancers made her grasp the power of dance. She therefore found herself aligned with the What Dance Can Do goal to promote dance as a change-maker for young people.
Marie is supporting the project from Paris where she aims to create events and develop the What Dance Can Do network.
Jean-Baptiste is a French journalist, digital consultant and social media strategist. Former political journalist for a national radio, he now works for cultural institutions (such as Fondation Louis Vuitton), fashion brands (such as Saint Laurent) or non-profits (such as Fraternité Générale) to help them find their way inside the thrilling and infinite digital world.
Jean-Baptiste is deeply convinced that social media and the Internet should not only be considered merely as communication tools but as real media, digital spaces, or even digital stage (as it is for the “3e scène” of the Opera National de Paris with which he has been collaborating for the last couple of years). Jean-Baptiste is a huge fan of ballet & dance in general (also being an amateur ballet dancer) and believes in the power of dance, movement and music to change lives.
Akram Khan is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists today. In just over fifteen years, he has created a body of work that has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and abroad. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as DESH, iTMOi, Vertical Road, Gnosis and zero degrees.
An instinctive and natural collaborator, Khan has been a magnet to world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines. His previous collaborators include the National Ballet of China, actress Juliette Binoche, ballerina Sylvie Guillem, choreographers/dancers Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Israel Galván, singer Kylie Minogue, visual artists Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tim Yip, writer Hanif Kureishi and composers Steve Reich, Nitin Sawhney, Jocelyn Pook and Ben Frost.
Khan’s work is recognised as being profoundly moving, in which his intelligently crafted storytelling is effortlessly intimate and epic. Described by the Financial Times as an artist “who speaks tremendously of tremendous things”, a recent highlight of his career was the creation of a section of the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony that was received with unanimous acclaim.
Khan has been the recipient of numerous awards throughout his career including the Laurence Olivier Award, the Bessie Award (New York Dance and Performance Award), the prestigious ISPA (International Society for the Performing Arts) Distinguished Artist Award, the Fred and Adele Astaire Award, the Herald Archangel Award at the Edinburgh International Festival, the South Bank Sky Arts Award and six Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. Khan was awarded an MBE for services to dance in 2005. He is also an Honorary Graduate of Roehampton and De Montfort Universities, as well as University of London, and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Laban.
Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells, London and Curve Leicester.
Photo: JL Fernandez
Kevin is the Artistic Director of the Royal Ballet. He was born in Yorkshire and trained at The Royal Ballet School and, through an exchange programme, with Royal Danish Ballet. He began his performing career with The Royal Ballet’s sister company Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, and stayed with that company as a Principal during its transformation into Birmingham Royal Ballet. During this time, Kevin performed extensively in the UK and internationally, including as a guest artist with many leading companies. His repertory included all the leading classical roles, such as Prince Siegfried (Swan Lake), Prince Florimund (The Sleeping Beauty), Albrecht (Giselle) and Romeo (in BRB’s first performance of Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet). O’Hare worked with many leading figures in the ballet world, including Ninette de Valois, Peter Wright, Frederick Ashton, MacMillan and David Bintley, and created several roles, including Amynta (Bintley’s Sylvia). He also produced many galas and choreographic evenings.
O’Hare retired from the stage in 2000, entering into a traineeship in company management with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This led to the post of Company Director with BRB in 2001, and in 2004 he joined The Royal Ballet as Company Manager. He was made Administrative Director in 2009 before being appointed to his current role. In 2013, he was appointed to the board of Dance UK.
Of French origins, Véronique moved to Zurich 20 years ago. Enjoying the city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and the wonderful landscape immensely, it was natural for her to acquire the Swiss citizenship along the way. The surroundings of Zurich have allowed her to learn and improve at new outdoor sports, of course skiing (with a preference for cross-country) and golf.
She also loves indoor fitness, especially dance, often participating in workshops, with great enthusiasm. She likes to surround herself with people who also like dancing and watching shows. Véronique had the chance to meet Aurélia while working at the same company.
The What Dance Can Do Project resonated to Véronique immediately. As a mother, she is greatly aware of the importance of sport for the well-being during childhood and adolescence.
This is why and how she is very much looking forward to joining WDCD project as the treasurer, where she as a certified chartered accountant (CPA) can make excellent use of her experience in auditing and controlling.
CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER
Oriane is a French business lawyer, recently relocated to Luxembourg after 9 years in Singapore. After various experiences in law firms and corporate entities in Paris and Singapore, she has launched in Singapore a start-up specialised in online corporate services.
A culture lover, and a long-time friend of Aurelia, she is delighted to join the ”The What Dance Can Do Project”, hoping to be of any help for this beautiful and generous adventure.
As Chief Compliance Officer, Oriane will ensure that the main activities of the association are compliant with laws and regulations and monitor and mitigate any compliance risks.
Selina is a Zurich-based freelance photographer. Young successful entrepreneur, she now aspires to grow her artistic potential. “It has been very exciting and inspiring to meet dance artists from diverse backgrounds since we started the Project!”
“The What Dance Can Do Project” relies a lot on image, for online publications and for the book that we prepare. We also exhibited pictures and text in a large exhibition in partnership with the Royal Danish Ballet and Magasin du Nord in May 2018 in Copenhagen.
Selina describes “Capture peoples’ unique moments and emotions in their true essence and turn them into something that ‘sticks'” as her biggest ambition.
Thanks to Selina’s initial involvement, photography has been at the heart of the Project.
Other great photographers have been supporting our cause in various ways documenting on our actions or donating photographs to the organisation: Sylvie Lancrenon, Gérard Uferas, Vincent Boisot, Laura Gilli, Mohamed Taher, Ann Ray, James Bort, Christian Lartillot, Giovanni Vecchi.
Isabella is an experienced business executive and multipotentialite of Austrian origin and now based in Munich where she works for Jimmy Choo.
Being at the forefront of innovation and creativity has always been a great ambition and inspiration in her career. With her long-term experience in the international start-up environment and working in business and project development, digital communications and event management, she is supporting the What Dance Can Do team in their marketing and event initiatives. She is a passionate networker who strives for excellence and best results, combining her business acumen with her flair for culture and aesthetics.
“The What Dance Can Do Project allows me to contribute to something meaningful, to create value, and to act as an interface between business, creativity and the beautiful art of dance.”
GRAPHIC DESIGN WIZARD & SOCIAL MEDIA TASKFORCE
Christine Denamur is a multidisciplinary creative.
Born and raised in Brussels, she finds herself in the humble and discrete middle of diverse interests taking shape throughout Europe. Christine is a genuine source of creativity and at the same time a very respectful person, giving a lot of value to what others have to say.
With the opportunity to have engaged with, and initiated, multiple international creative projects, she seeks to transcend her educational background ie. graphic design and diversifies her personal and professional interests within all forms of artistic and cultural activities.
Some of her multidisciplinary achievements are: curating “Baltic Sounds” a sound-art exhibition in Bozar focused on Eastern-European sound-art (2018, Brussels), music producer and singer since 2013 with concerts in 2018 at the prestigious concert hall Ancienne Belgique as well as in Le Botanique (Brussels), organiser and founder of “Product Tour” (2017) and organiser of “Kari Faux’s European tour” (2018) both European concert tours with international artists (US and EU) traveling to over 10 to 15 different countries, she’s since 2019 in-house graphic designer for Luma Arles (Art foundation) and last but not least, she invests herself in helping the What Dance Can Do project on a communication level as well as artistically.
Regardless the type of activity and its outcome, Christine would along the way always opt for the less obvious options. Always preferring the in her opinion beautiful grey zone activities – the intermediate ones. She finds great value in the hidden but at the same time indispensable jobs/subjects/projects/etc. and naturally tries to figure out ways to bring them to the surface. By doing so, she loves to make them apparent to people who had no idea of its existence in the first place.
PROJECT MANAGER TUNISIA AND VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH
Selma is both a pharmacist and a ballet dancer. She also is the artistic director of “Studio ElHouma”. She trained in private schools for 15 years and followed dance and teaching courses in France, at Rosella Hightower School and at the Opera National de Paris.
In parallel with her studies in pharmacy, Selma obtained the state diploma in artistic and sports dance in Tunisia and for ten years taught ballet in state and private structures. Her experience at the regional conservatory of Monastir was one of the most enriching, because it allowed her to share her passion with children from diverse backgrounds.
In 2018, with her friend Abdelmonem Chouayet, they decided to adapt for the theatre Daniel Keyes’ book “Flowers for Algernon”. In 2019, she opened a cultural space to enable access to dance and art in general.
“Dance everywhere and for all” is her slogan. What Dance Can Do can only be an organisation she feels close to.
PROJECT MANAGER BELGIUM AND VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH
Anne-Laure, professional dancer and dance teacher from Belgium, started dancing at the age of five. She followed a professional dance education at S.E.A.D (Austria). After her graduation, she became a member of the company’s school, Bodhi Project, and toured internationally.
Since then, she has worked as a free-lance dancer and performer with among others the Liz Roche Company (IE), the Opéra de Paris (F), Kyung-a Ryu Ecointhedream Cie (BE/South Korea), La Monnaie Opéra (BE), Bud Blumenthal/Cie Hybrid (BE/USA) and as an intern for ROSAS/Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (BE).
Anne-Laure is a passionate dance teacher, who for the last ten years has been teaching dance classes and workshops for children and adults in some of the main schools and dance centres in Belgium and abroad. Moreover, she is a certified GYROKINESIS® teacher.
Anne-Laure has always had the dream to link her profession and art with concrete actions for kids in the need and being a collaborator for the WDCD project is truly making it come true.
PROJECT MANAGER (PARIS)
Marie grew up in Paris, where she studied music and played the flute for more than 12 years. She holds a Bachelor in Cultural Mediation and recently graduated from a Master’s degree in International Cultural Project Development at the University of Lyon. During her studies, she worked for various organisations and festivals and also developed her own projects.
She has always been passionate about performing arts and strongly believes that music and dance are empowering and can become important tools in life.
Joining the What Dance Can Do Project is a great opportunity and allows her to combine her passion with her skills.
PROJECT MANAGER UK (SCOTLAND) AND VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH
Marge is from France and grew up in Paris where she trained at the Conservatoire Supérieur. After graduating in 2012, she joined the Scottish Ballet. There she was promoted to Principal and danced featured and principal roles in works by Christopher Hampson, David Dawson, Kenneth MacMillan, Crystal Pite, among others. This winter, she guested with Ballet West in Salt Lake City, USA, to perform Rubies and the role of Myrtha.
Marge thinks that ballet and dance in general should be accessible to everyone, although it unfortunately still is perceived as a practice for an elite.
“It is a difficult art indeed but I do believe that dancing, in any kind of forms, is exhilarating and no one should be ashamed of expressing oneself through movement! Children especially amaze me, they are so full of surprises! I would like to pass on my love of dance to them and give them access to this incredible form of expression. And see the stars in their eyes!”
VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH AND CHOREOGRAPHER
Rodolphe Fouillot studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris and California Institute of the Arts of Los Angeles. He danced for 23 years in national and international companies. He also is a certified dance teacher.
Along the years, he has led dance projects aimed at a vast range of people, among others elderly people, people in prison serving long sentences, living with disabilities or terminally ill.
Among other pieces, he choreographed the danced parts of the opera “Le petit poisson d’or” from Youli Galperine and those of “Hansel et Gretel” and of Strauss’ “Chauve-Souris” for the Paris Opera. He also has worked as rehearsal master.
Since September 2016, he choreographs for the Paris Opera Academy. Since 2019, he is in charge of an artistic project involving people living with disabilities and teaches at the CRD of Gennevilliers.
A documentary film, “De rage et de danse” (2019), documents on his recent work.
VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH AND CHOREOGRAPHER
Initially trained in Lyon, France (CNSMDL), Laura Arend entered the Merce Cunningham Studio in 2009. In New York, Laura was part of numerous creations, among others by Dai Jian, Judith Sanchez Ruiz or Kohran Basaran.
In 2011, after having presented her first own piece at the NY Judson Church, Laura started the LABORATION ART COMPANY. The same year, she joined the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company II (KCDC) in Israel. Since 2016, Laura focuses on choreographing, creating the pieces YAMA, FIVE and ANNA. In 2020, Laura worked with Xie Xin on a piece called YIRO.
Laura has presented her work around the world and has also been given the opportunity to choreograph for other companies like the Jeune Ballet Européen in 2016 et le Jeune Ballet d’Aquitaine in 2017. She can also still be seen on stage from time to time, like during a performance at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Laura also teaches workshops in France abroad.
Born and raised in Paris, Céline has always been passionate about foreign cultures, ancestral traditions and empathetic communication. With a ballet dancing mother, and as a young traveller, she discovered around the world salsa, bachata, tango, bellydance, and bollywood, just to name a few. From her journey this far, she realised the revolutionary power of dance and the impact it has in people.
After four years working in cultural and sustainable tourism in Peru, the Amazon Rainforest and Mexico, she is now back in Paris and enthusiastic to bring all of her passions together by joining the What Dance Can Do Network.
She believes dance is everywhere. It can be seen in on every street corner, in each of our daily gestures, in the stretches in the morning and even when we vacuum!
“Dance creates connections and bonds between people. It draws genuine smiles on faces and it makes us lose pride and seriousness. Whether alone or with loved ones, dance liberates us. An outlet, means of communication, vector of unexpected meetings but based on a same passion, dance is a pillar of benevolent socialization which our world really needs, especially in these times when one looses connection with oneself and others through being virtually overconnected”.
British born Alexander Jones was trained at the Royal Ballet School London. He won the gold medal in 2004 Adeleine Genee competition and was presented the Dame Ninette de Valois award, London Ballet Circle. Upon graduation, he joined the Stuttgart Ballet where he was promoted to Principal dancer on stage after his debut performance of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet. He then danced all the classical and major roles including the title role in “Onegin”, Armand in John Neumeier’s “Lady of the Camellias”, Colas in Ashton’s “La Fille Mal Gardee” and many others, along with other choreographies from George Balanchine, Kenneth Macmillan, Bejart, Jerome Robbins, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian and Christian Spuck. In 2014, he was nominated by the National dance awards, England for Best Male Classical dancer.
In 2015 Alexander joined the Ballet Zurich as Principal Dancer. He has performed in many of the major theatres, including Opera Garnier, Royal Opera House, London, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow and Arena of Verona as part of the Roberto Bolle and friends tour.
Born in 1979, Julien Benhamou lives and works in Paris. At the age of 12, he was offered a fully manual camera that would quickly become an exciting tool for him. He realizes that photographing people allows him to access a special relationship with them. After his photography studies, he became the assistant to several photographers in the world of advertising, fashion and contemporary art. He focuses his personal research on movement and becomes a dance photographer.
Collaborations with dance personalities, such as Marie-Agnes Gillot, Marie-Claude Pietragalla, Benjamin Millepied, Aurélie Dupont and Ohad Naharin, give him wings and fascinate him. Far from the academic image of classical ballet, he offers a poetic and sophisticated vision of dance. The poses are freed from conventions, artificial lights outline bodies and muscles, and dancers pose like moving mannequins.
VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH AND CHOREOGRAPHER
Mourad Bouayad discovers dance through Hip-Hop and meets with contemporary forms in the CNDC of Angers, France, graduating in 2015. He then began his career which led him to work with European and Israeli choreographers such as Laura Scozzi, Hillel Kogan, Eyal Dadon and Amala Dianor. In 2017 he joined the Batsheva Ensemble, directed by Ohad Naharin. He is trained in the movement research called Gaga and became a certified teacher in 2018. He created with Paul Lamy ACNO in 2019.
The premiere of the company’s new creation, FOR THE HUNGRY BOY, will premiere in “Institut du Monde Arabe” in Paris on March 12th 2021, right before starting a new process with the 104.
PROTECT OUR ANIMAL KINGDOM’S GLOBAL PROJECT DIRECTOR
Tuli Litvak has extensive experience working in Project Management, Film Production, and in the Arts. She is currently working both as a Film Producer on a short film commissioned by the British Film Institute, as well as a Global Project Director for ‘What Dance Can Do Project’s new initiative ‘Protect Our Animal Kingdom’ in association with the renowned Akram Khan Company. Tuli previously worked as a curator for WDCD’s exhibition in Copenhagen which was made in association with the Royal Danish Ballet.
In her spare time, Tuli is a multidisciplinary artist with her works being exhibited globally across Tokyo, Paris, London, and Brussels. In institutions such as the Camden Arts Centre, the Tate Exchange, The Royal Academy, the South Bank Centre, and Palais de Tokyo in Paris (Do Disturb festival), to name a few.
For these, she has been known to collaborate with dancers and choreographers, including a former soloist at the English National Ballet. In 2017, Tuli was commissioned to create a dance performance and a related installation for the Royal Academy of Arts, for which she teamed up with London based choreographers and dancers. Her work has been covered by Miss Vogue UK’s social media, as well as the Huffington Post and Vice’s Creators Magazine.
Jem Badger Choi
VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH
Jung ah Choi (alias Jem) is a Korean dancer, First Artist at the English National Ballet, born in Seoul. Jem trained at the Royal Ballet School, the Bolshoi Ballet School and the English National Ballet School. She has danced the leading roles of Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis in Mary Skeaping’s Giselle, Lescaut’s Mistress in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon and Stepsister Edwina in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella.
“I have always wanted to work with kids, and I think it would be amazing to put my talent into something else. To bring joy to an audience is a privilege in itself, but working face-to-face with children and help them discover, what they can do is something extremely precious.”
VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH AND PROJECT CONSULTANT
Parisian in Milan, Emilie Fouilloux entered the school of Paris Opera at the age of 9.
She joined the corps de Ballet and at 19 years old the Miami city Ballet before joining Teatro Alla Scala in Milan.
Since childhood, Emilie has believed that dance is a channel of communication that transcends the limits of language diversity by relying on movement and harmony instead of language. A vehicle of emotion and intention that can be used to tell a story or to convey a personal message, dance is one of the few arts that has always been present across all cultures and eras. It unites those who perform it and who witness it and is an instrument of both discipline and entertainment.
Emilie recognises the importance of supporting children in their self-expression, passion and talents. She has first-hand experience of the educational value of dancing and knows how much joy it can spark and how beneficial it is for both physical and psychological health. The desire to help young blossoming dancers in disadvantaged environments is why Emilie decided to spring into action and join the What Dance Can Do initiative.
Digital Project Manager & UI Designer
Being very shy, Aline started expressing herself through rhythmic gymnastics, which she practiced at a professional level. The mix of extreme physical training and artistry allowed her to use her body, movements and technique to translate her emotions and accomplish herself.
In parallel, Aline has always been devoted to computer sciences. As a teenager, she entirely built her first computer and was passionate about always upgrading it to the latest hardware. She devoured books and websites, and spent all her spare time learning new skills, keeping abreast to new software, video games and trends.
Once done with gymnastics competitions, Aline completed a Master’s Degree in technical translations in France. She sees languages as incredible means to establish communication between people from all backgrounds, all over the world, and interact and engage with them. She moved to the U.K. and Italy, and started working as an IT-specialised professional translator. Over the years, her career shifted to digital communication and marketing fields.
Driven by her passions for arts, languages and digital comms, Aline uses her skills and life experiences to help create meaningful projects and campaigns. She strongly believes in bringing love, joy and dreams to the generations of tomorrow, all around the world: children are our future. For this reason, she was thrilled to join the What Dance Can Do Project and puts all her expertise and enthusiasm to the service of our ambitious association.
OTHER PRECIOUS CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE
Clara de Perrot holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from the University of Geneva and is currently pursuing her formation with a Master’s degree in Law at the University of Zurich. She hopes to bring the association and Aurelia advice and support in the legal field.
She believes that dance and music are capable of arousing very strong emotions in human beings, allowing them to escape spiritually for a moment from their reality, which is not necessarily easy. She believes in the energy that dance and music together can induce amongst humans.
“The WDCD project is for me an opportunity to help by extending and developing WDCD’s activity in French-speaking part of Switzerland. This goal is close to my heart, so that the work of the association can benefit as many children as possible.”
Magali-Marie Bonald, born in South West of France and living in Paris, started dancing at the age of three and never stopped practicing. Always considering dance as a life companion, she decided to put as much of it as she can in her everyday life. Aspiring arts and culture journalist, she aims at promoting dance and ballet artists, theaters and companies.
Very passionate about writing, always admiring artists, she wants to share her passion with as many people as possible. Also involved as a volunteer in many cultural and dance related activities, she has always considered that giving time repays a hundredfold.
Being a team member of “The What Dance Can Do Project” is an amazing opportunity to bring all together everything she enjoys doing in life.
Maura Madeddu is a journalist passionate about dance and ballet, contributor to fashion magazines in Italy – L’Officiel, L’Officiel Hommes, i-D, Flair. She truly believes that beauty will save the world and according to her, the combining of dance and fashion is one of the most beautiful pas de deux ever. She decided to contribute to The What Dance Can Do Project because she is convinced that (telling) dancers’ stories could have a positive impact on nowadays society.
Olivia Lecomte is a freelance artist based in Luzern, Switzerland. After graduating from Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, Canada in 2014, she immediately joined Codarts Hogeschool voor de Kunsten where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Performance and was personally awarded the Jiří Kylián Foundation Scholarship.
Since August 2016, she has been dancing and choreographing for internationally renowned institutions such as Tanz Luzerner Theatre, Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Het Nationale Ballet, HMT Rostock, Korzo, Staatstheater Regensburg and Schauspiel Hannover. In addition to dance, Olivia has been experimenting with film, photography, and writing. Olivia has been a collaborator for WDCD since 2018.
Rasmus Meldgaard is a 28-year-old Journalist from Denmark, currently based in London. Primarily working as a Culture Reporter and Correspondent for Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR). Previous work includes Berlingske, VICE, Soundvenue and Tivoli Gardens. Through his work, Rasmus has specialized in ballet and dance in general, producing several stories about dancers in and outside of Denmark.
Valentina Erra is an Italian consultant living in Paris. She studied management engineering in Rome and moved to Paris during her studies. She has been passionate about dance since her earliest childhood. She started with classical ballet and now participates, in her free times, to different theatre and contemporary dance workshops.
She deeply believes in the cathartic power of art and experiments day by day how dancing could improve life quality. She joined the What Dance Can Do Project since she is eager to support people discover the power of dance.
Yeocheva Gabbay is originally from Paris, where she grew up in a very multicultural environment, currently studies languages and international business at the University Paris Sorbonne. Passionate about traveling, she decided to pursue her studies in Sorbonne Abu Dhabi.
Dancing has always been a big part of her life. It allows her to experience different cultures in her own way. Passionate about the power of education, she realized during her research that dance should be integrated into education. It allows societies to develop their identity and it is one of the most beneficial and effective ways of learning discipline and increasing creativity.
The What Dance Can Do Project
The NZ Team shares WDCD’s exciting vision in bringing change through dance and is driving initiatives in New Zealand since 2020.
PROJECT LEAD NZ
Raina is Malaysian born but grew up in Dunedin, New Zealand. After graduating, she had a short stint in corporate law before working as a journalist in Kuala Lumpur. After 7 years, she relocated to Wellington and resumed legal practice. Raina is an advocate for the important role that arts and literature plays in society. Ballet classes were instrumental for Raina as a young adult helping her through difficult times and giving her the tools she needed to face challenges, learn confidence and push forward. Having experienced what dance has done for her, Raina truly believes in the ability of dance and dance training to change lives and hopes to use dance as a tool to instil hope and improve lives.
VOLUNTEER DANCE COACH
Russian born Alina was a soloist with the Imperial Russian Ballet company. Alina was recruited for ballet training at the age of 10 and moved to Moscow to dance professionally in the scene after completing her classical Vaganova training. Alina also has a degree in media and communications. In 2015, Alina was touring with the company on a Swan Lake tour in Australia and New Zealand, when she met her partner. Alina relocated to Wellington shortly after that and is now an accredited Royal Academy of Dance teacher. Alina truly loves dance and has seen how it cultivates a culture of strength and character. She enjoys sharing her passion for dance and loves seeing her students’ responses to dance training. Nothing excites her more than to see her students exploring the world through the freedoms and disciplines of art.
Paula B.A. Westerby
Paula was born in Brazil and came to New Zealand as a student in 2007, staying ever since. Paula has a background in business administration and education management having worked for years with an organisation focused on offering and supporting school-leavers and second-chance learners seek training and qualifications. Paula is a lover of culture and the arts and believes that the arts can bring people together, heal and bridge gaps. Dance, in Paula’s view, both the experiencing and learning of dance, teaches values and resilience through new perspectives. It also gives kids a way of expressing themselves. Paula is excited to see how the initiative can build and change lives of New Zealand children.