Spark Youth Dance Company Inc. is a non-profit Incorporated Association run by volunteers. The company is led by a Committee and a group of creatives under 25 years old. Young dancers audition for the company each year and we also work with musicians and various other members of the Mornington Peninsula arts community.
When Alex Dellaportas realised in 2016 that there were no opportunities for young people to direct their own full dance works, she decided to make one herself. This is how Spark Youth Dance Company was born. She is now the Director of umbrella company Spark Productions Australia Inc., Artistic Director of Spark Youth Dance Company and resident choreographer.
Alex started dancing at the age of two, quickly falling in love with ballet and contemporary dance and is now especially passionate about choreography and arts management. She has loved music all her life and has always used music and dance together to tell interesting stories from history, her own experience, and the world’s fascinations.
During her years at Rosebud Secondary College, Alex took on the role of School Captain and co-choreographed two award-winning productions for Wakakirri in 2014 and 2015. In 2016, she choreographed The Nutcracker for SYDC and has since choreographed two other full-length works for the company, each with their own touring seasons; Shatter (2017) and Ariadne (2018). Shatter was nominated for an Australian Dance Award in 2018. In 2018 she also made a short piece Weight for SYDC’s triple bill Triplicity. Alex has also choreographed works that have been showcased at the Victorian Dance Festival and at the A Woman’s Place Festival in partnership with Dreamhouse Theatre Company. She regularly speaks at various events including the Victorian Government’s inaugural Youth Summit in 2017 and Wakakirri’s Career Days.
Alex brings passion and a fierce belief in the power of dance to the everyday magic that Spark creates and is always exploding with new ideas as she leads the company into an era where young people have a stronger voice than ever before.
"Dance has always been a big part of my life and I’ve always loved how it can spark conversation and inspire change. I’m currently studying Materials Engineering and Biomedical Science at Monash University. I also teach ballet, tap, jazz and contemporary at Peninsula School of Dance where I have been dancing since primary school. Last year I completed my Cecchetti Associate exam and this year I have been assisting with the administration and organisation of Spark. To me, Spark Youth Dance Company is a chance to inspire the community and next generation of artists through storytelling and creative movement. As someone who has grown up dancing on the peninsula, the lack of performance opportunities has always frustrated me. I hope this company encourages young performers to pursue their passions with pride and confidence. We are here to prove that the peninsula is full of talented and dedicated youth."
After six years in France, conductor and saxophonist Joseph Lallo returned to Melbourne in 2016 and is currently an associate teacher at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, The University of Melbourne, and the Artistic Director of Melbourne Saxophone.
Joseph worked at the Conservatoire de Strasbourg as an assistant conductor to the symphonic orchestra, working with Theodor Guschlbauer (Berlioz Symphonie Fantastqiue) and Julia Jones (Poulenc Gloria, Bizet L'Arlésienne Suite No.1, Dutilleux Métaboles). He also served as chief conductor of the Orchestre d’Harmonie de Brunstatt, the Strasbourg Saxophone Ensemble, and the Annecy Music Summer Camp. In 2009, Joseph was awarded The Catherine Grace McWilliam Bequest after achieving the highest result in his Bachelor of Music Degree at the University of Melbourne, and as winner of the 2009 Donovan Johnston Travel Scholarship, began his studies in France. He completed a Masters of Conducting with Theodor Guschlbauer (Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Lyon Opera) in 2016. Joseph has conducted in the renowned Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, as well as the world premier of Les Orgues des Sax by Jean-François Zygel at the Strasbourg Cathedral in 2015. He has conducted world premiers by Mark Phillips, Franck Tortiller, Tomas Gubitsch and Philippe Geiss.
Most recently, Joseph has conducted the Percy Grainger Youth Orchestra and the Zelman Memorial Symphony Orchestra, in addition to performances throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia. He has conducted both the European and Australian 100SAX! youth projects, uniting over 100 musicians from around the world to perform music written especially for the ensemble.
Laura is currently finishing her Bachelor of Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Music at Monash University, specialising in clarinet performance with David Griffiths. Laura has performed with numerous orchestras including the Melbourne Youth Orchestra, Monash Academy Orchestra and Peninsula Chamber Musicians. Laura is currently teaching woodwind at numerous schools around the Mornington Peninsula. Laura was the prize winner of the Mornington Peninsula Shire Bursary Competition in both 2015 and 2016, and has performed in masterclasses with musicians including Paul Meyer, Phil Atkinstall, Sabine Meyer and Frank Celata. In 2019, Laura intends to complete her Honours of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium. Upon completion of her studies, she intends to continue to teach young musicians as well as perform with multiple ensembles around Melbourne and the Peninsula.
Connie is an 19 year old photographer for Spark Youth Dance Company. She is currently on her gap year from school and endeavours to pursue a degree in photography as it is her passion. Previously Connie has taken photos for various musicians at concerts and festivals. Connie enjoys being the dance company’s photographer because Spark Youth Dance Company is run completely by young people and it give aspiring creatives exposure and an opportunity to make their dreams a reality.
Finn Bentley is Spark Youth Dance Company’s Lighting/Technical Director for 2018. Finn also took on this role in Spark’s performance of The Nutcracker in 2016 and in Spark’s 2017 season. He is currently in Year 12 at Flinders College and is the Lighting Technician for a large venue on the Mornington Peninsula. Finn has had experience in theatres all over Victoria and on shows including his school’s productions of Mary Poppins, Guys & Dolls and Beauty and the Beast. Being part of Spark in 2016 was a great opportunity for Finn and he is looking forward to another great show from our creative team and passionate kids. Working alongside BAAC Light, Finn hopes to create an amazing show that fully emphasises the message of Shatter and excited to be touring this fantastic work.
Jacinta Martorella is a 22-year-old dance artist from the Mornington Peninsula. She has completed a 2-year Diploma of Dance in 2015/16 under the direction of Adam Wheeler, during this time she worked with some high standing choreographers and dancers such as Amber McCartney, James Batchelor and Alice-Lee Holland. In 2016 she co-created a work for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, and in 2017 was a member of the YW2 collective in their inaugural pre-professional year. Jacinta presented her contemporary work ‘nexus.’ As a part of their first season. Jacinta strives to be an active member of the arts and teaching industry and is looking forward to furthering her career in this field, as well as developing a new full length contemporary dance work for 2018.