AMPA Dance student Renelle Jones has danced since she was two years old. Renelle came into the public eye during 2014, coming fourth in So You Think You Can Dancae, Australia. Since then, the ever-smiling Renelle has continued dancing, studying and training, with her eyes firmly on the prize!
SYTYCDAU - Mr. Bojangles - Renelle and Eden - Broadway Jazz from Renelle Loretta Jones on Vimeo. VIDEO CREDIT: Shine Australia
Have you always known you wanted to be a dancer?
When I was younger I was absolutely certain I wanted to be a professional dancer. As I got older and the realities of life curbed my passion and I toyed with the idea of working in other professions. I even worked for various insurance companies for a few years while I took time off dance. However the pull towards dance was too strong and after four years off I came back.
What’s been the highlight of your dance career so far?
Definitely, being in the Top 4 Grand Finalist of SYTYCD 2015!
Tell me about your journey on SYTYCD.
I always dreamed of being on the show but never thought I would be good enough. My husband gave me a push to take a chance and audition, seeing that it was something I truly desired. Learning from the best choreographers, learning new dances and working my hardest towards improving every week was the highlighted points in the journey for me. I loved performing but honestly it's the process that I really thrived on. I learnt that if you work hard and you're really passionate about something, you can achieve it. I also learnt to accept myself and be proud of who I am with all my flaws and imperfections. I learnt not to compare my journey to anyone elses, but to be content with the knowledge that I'm doing the best I possibly can in my current situation and with my eccentric personality. As cliché as it sounds, it really is the ride not the destination that matters in the end!
What’s it like to study a Bachelor of Dance at AMPA?
I am learning how to align my passions, technical ability and creative ambitions with the reality of the dance industry. Learning practically how to do what I love, make it my livelihood, learn how to give myself financial security and widen my career options. So that I don't just have a job for the next five years, but how to expand my employability for when I can no longer perform, want to start a family or change direction.
At AMPA I’m equipping myself for the unforeseeable future, so I can be challenged, grow and find joy in my work life for the rest of my days. I'm cultivating an attitude of lifelong learning that I feel is necessary for a successful and happy life. So that no matter what circumstances I may find myself in, I have peace of mind knowing that I have great opportunities ahead of me, and great options to fall back on.
I love focusing a large quantity of my physical and mental attention and into dance study. When have so many things going on in your world it can be hard to give your passions the concentration they require to really excel. I love coming to school everyday with an empty basket just waiting to fill it with the things that interest and fascinate me. I also love the COMPLETELY non-competitive environment at AMPA. Everyone is for each other, we all help each there out, we all praise and affirm each other and we enjoy each others company. We are all work hard but don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s a comfortable, loving, happy learning environment to be apart of.
What (or who!) inspires you?
Artistically speaking the list is very, very, very long, I find inspiration in so many people’s work from dance legends like Fred Astaire, to modern dance pioneer Pina Bausch. They influence me in my art but people that influence me in my life on a daily basis, are great thinkers who devoted themselves to attaining a balance, fulfilment and peace like Marcus Aurelius and C.S. Lewis.
What advice would you give to a young person who aspires to be a dancer?
Whatever you want, go for it, don’t hold back! If things don’t work out then FAIL FAST and move on to the next thing. Life is an agility game. Learn how to bounce back and change directions fast so you don’t waste time doing the unnecessary and moving in the wrong direction. Most importantly, equip yourself for the future, don’t just focus on being the best dancer physically but learn to focus on growing your mind. You can achieve more through the power of the mind than you can through physically technical ability alone. Don’t be a dumb dancer. Learn to live in the present, content in the here and now but do not neglect your future. You don’t want to regret thoughtless actions that could have easily been prevented through a little foresight, smarter decisions, small sacrifices and careful planning.
To watch more of Renelle in action, visit her Vimeo page here: https://vimeo.com/search?q=Renelle%20jones