Former Teatro del Lago dancer shares her experiences

Maria Osorio (20) moved to England for three years in 2020, where she continues her dance studies at the Royal Academy of Dance in Leeds. She was recently on a visit to her home in the South of Chile. There she gave a master class for students of the dance and theatre faculties, made video recordings for the Mustakis Foundation and also shared her experiences in an event in Pucón in the Araucanía Region, 300 km north of Frutillar.

Maria Osorio began studying ballet at the Escuela de las Artes of the Teatro del Lago in 2010. She fondly recalls her first teachers, Rosita Barra and Macarena Montecino, who taught her ballet technique, including long-distance supervision under the patronage of the Royal Academy of Dance in London. She studied contemporary and modern dance, did Pilates and fitness training, took lessons in dramatic expression and applied music, and was actively involved in the School’s performances. Since October 2020 Mara has been studying in Leeds, England, hoping to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. We talked to Mara about her experiences in Leeds.

How was your start at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance?

In the beginning, all classes were online, and I started while I was still in Frutillar; because of the time difference, classes began at 4 am for me. In October of last year, I moved to Leeds, which enabled me to participate in on-site classes. The classes are very diverse, you only have the same teacher for a maximum of 10 weeks, which has the advantage that you learn a lot of different techniques. My fellow students are from all over the world. We all have different backgrounds: mine is in ballet, others might have urban dance or contemporary dance in theirs. There is a lot of open space in which we can be creative with our fellow students.

How was the new school in the beginning, had the Teatro del Lago prepared you well?

I realized that my level was pretty good. I had online classes for the first half of the first trimester, and I was doing well. When I got to Leeds, I was able to integrate very quickly. At the end of the first semester I had a lesson in contemporary dance, and I thought, “I’ve only been here for five weeks, and I feel really good”. I am happy with what I learned and my results.

At the Teatro del Lago, our education in contemporary dance focused heavily on floor technique. In Leeds, I was working a lot on foot technique and body posture, which I had not practiced so much before, but since I had danced a lot of ballet at the Teatro del Lago, I was able to adapt easily. The Escuela de las Artes really gave me a good foundation, and everything my teachers at the Escuela corrected is now paying off in Leeds.

How does it feel to return now and pass on your knowledge in Chile? I am really enjoying teaching. I taught a class for contemporary dance, and I was happy to see so many new faces at the school. In Pucón, I visited Rebeca Lopes’ dance school, who also trained with me at the Teatro del Lago school. There, I teach contemporary dance online. To be here, with the ability to see the students personally, confirmed that they learned a lot during this time. I also made a few short videos on contemporary dance for the Mustakis Foundation. I am really happy to be able to teach and to pass on what I have learned!