As cheesy as it sounds I can’t remember a time in my life that I haven’t danced. I went to my first ballet class aged 3, first performance on stage aged 4 and completed in the dance festival circuit from the age of 5 to 18.
Throughout my life, I’ve studied ISTD ballet, tap, jazz and modern with a brief stint in Bharatanatyam, classical Indian dancing, when my family moved to Italy when I was 8 years old.
I went on to study drama and Italian at university but always kept up with the dancing. In 2012, I had the opportunity of a lifetime by performing at the London Olympics Closing Ceremony. It was just a year later when I met Fiona and we started working together.
Being involved in so many dance shows and competitions has left me with a rather large dance costume cupboard and more importantly some amazing photos. With so many great pictures of florescent leotards, tutus and sequins, here are my 7 and half top outfits which I couldn’t not share.
Costume one 'I can sing a rainbow'
Elena: Age 4
This photo is a true 90s classic - lilac leotard with puffy sleeves with my matching purple cycling shorts. This outfit was for my first ever performance at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham with my dance school Central Stage School of Dance and Drama (Now Dance Studios) where we sang ‘I can sing a rainbow’ and where I remember singing too loudly and feeling mortified!
Costume two 'The Butterfly Catcher'
Elena: Age 6
Now in love with the whole concept of dressing up and performing I took part in my first dance festival. These are dance competitions run throughout the country. I entered the ‘character’ section where I acted out being some sort of victorian butterfly catcher and was placed 4th much to my delight at Loughborough Dance Festival.
Costume three 'Squirrel Nutkin'
Elena: Age 8
Flying high from my previous success, I continued dancing in festivals and when I was 8 I was placed twice on one day! 3rd for my ballet solo and 2nd ‘character’ number where I acted out Squirrel Nutkin at Nottingham Dance Festival. The costume included my mum dying my ballet shoes brown, some papier mâché acorns and a mighty headpiece. Unfortunately you can’t see the impressive squirrel tail I also had!
Costume four and five - 'Ballet and Bharatanatyam' Elena: Age 10
At the age of 8 my family moved to Italy for 3 years due to my dad’s job. I was quickly enrolled in a local dance school ran by an English ballet teacher. I soon became involved in dance shows and even learnt classical Indian dancing with my American dance teacher. I particularly love this classic silk indian outfit which I keep always keep.
Costume six - University of Kent
Elena: Age 20
The teen photos are always the most cringe which I can’t quite bear to share but I can just about cope with this one from my second year at uni so skipping forward 10 years here is me performing in the annual show in a lyrical number that I choreographed (obviously!) and dresses from Primark which I customised for everyone. Each dress was just £1!
Costume seven - 'The Lennon Head' at the London 2012, Olympic Ceremony. Elena: Age 24
At the age of 24, I decided to audition for the Olympic Ceremony and I was cast as a ‘Lennon head’. The section was to the track 'Imagine' where the dancers performed with giant jigsaw pieces coming together to make John Lennons face which then suddenly broke apart to reveal the one and only George Michael in the centre! It was the most magical experience with some amazing people and not to mention a string of celebrities including the Spice Girls (the 10 year old within me was delighted to be backstage with them!) Following this experience I was completely reignited by love for dance and performance which pushed me into going along to Fiona’s jazz class which lead to a completely new chapter in my life...
…. oh and of course here is half costume, my first Charleston photoshoot with Fiona but it is just the headpiece so technically it doesn’t count as a full costume but still a nice memory of where the Charleston adventure all started in 2013.