Sitting down to talk all things dance with professional dancer Jacinta Seivers
Author: Leah Van Lambaart Date Posted:9 August 2019
Jacinta Seivers has always been a dancer who captures your attention. We met during our full-time training and she has been a beautiful example of the great friendships you find within the dance industry. She is not only a skilful dancer but an individual who can adapt and connect with the different personalities throughout the industry. She has many talents that exceed simply dancing, she is a captivating performer and has an amazing acrobatic ability that ensures she stands out from her peers. This has led her into multiple contracts, travelling the globe. We caught up this week to discuss her incredible career.
Beginning her dancing journey at the bright age of 4 in Western Australia, Jacinta spoke about her full-time training in Melbourne and the necessity for consistent and ongoing development. This led her to grow and refine her style in London.
"I started with acro classes then got into jazz and tap. I lastly took up ballet, although this didn't last long. As much as I tried I wasn't built for ballet, I missed out on the graceful gene. I then trained full time for 3 years at Patrick Studios Australia where I learnt more modern styles like commercial jazz, hip hop and contemporary. Dance training never stops, once I moved to London it felt like starting all over again. So many styles and teachers to discover along with learning the fundamentals of hip hop like popping, locking and house, there is no end to skills and knowledge".
Jacinta is an incredible example of where a career in the performing arts industry can take you. She has had some diverse and incredible opportunities.
"There was a lot of cheerleading at the start of my career as a result of my acro skills. I was lucky enough to work with Paul Malek and Kim Adam when they had Collaborations (a contemporary company). I have had a few musicals under my belt and a lot of freelance commercial work which also includes television commercials and catalogues. Some of my biggest jobs have been for Nike, Adidas, Mazda, Toyota, Mercedes, Flo Rida, Olly Murs, Red Foo, Guy Sebastian, Bonnie Anderson, Samantha Jade, DJ Havana Brown, Sheppard, The World Expo (representing the UK) and my most recent work with 2XU and Body Fit Training".
Throughout her action-packed career, London brought Jacinta a new path to style and creativity. She was able to refine her skills and found her passion for jazz-funk. She discussed why this hard-hitting style became her favourite way to dance.
"I love jazz-funk, not to be mistaken with commercial. Think 80s jazz with a funk twist but still danced to Gloria Estefan. A dream. I love hard-hitting, powerful movement but with a purpose rather than just a ‘gank' for the sake of it. I religiously did Johnny Bishop's jazz-funk class in London and now I can see no other way of dancing".
A diverse career dancing and backflipping her way around the world, Jacinta's career has not been without its hardships. She spoke about the difficulty in taking care of yourself when you are busy with multiple contracts.
"Injuries, general health and wellbeing take a backseat when you're a dancer. Keeping on top of these things can become tricky as we generally don't have the time or money to take a break. In hindsight, I wish I had more information and tips fed to me while training as it is so vital to our longevity, but we were often too focused on showcases and gigs".
In spite of these challenges, Jacinta has found rewarding aspects of her career. These include travelling to multiple countries and the remarkable people she has met.
"As a freelance modern dancer with not a single singing or acting gene in my body I have been so lucky to be able to find contracts and shows that have allowed me to travel the world. I have visited some places I never would have thought possible and for that, I'm unbelievably thankful".
Contracts with the globally touring show ‘Thriller Live!' has become Jacinta's career highlight.
"Without a doubt ‘Thriller Live!' has been the biggest and best experience of my life. I started on a global tour where a standout show for me was performing at the Lanxess Arena in Köln where Madonna had performed a few days prior, we then had a residency at the Parisian in Macau. Before heading to Macau, I was asked to join the cast on West End when I returned and that was a complete dream come true. To make it even better we constantly had ridiculous guests in our audiences like Rod Stewart, Terry Crews and Maya Rudolph just to name a few, but there were constantly people of this status in the theatre and that definitely lit the fire in our bellies".
She discusses what a day in the life of each contract looked like, starting with the global tour.
"The German leg of one-nighters! We would drive to our accommodation, nap for an hour or so, go to the venue for induction and safety walk around. Go to catering for dinner, hair and makeup, warm-up on stage, showtime, pack down the theatre, get back on the coach, drive overnight to our next accommodation then do it all again. This was ruthless".
"On the Macau contract, we would wake up in our 5-star hotel, go down to our buffet breakfast, go on a hike or some kind of adventure, sit by the pool for the rest of the day until warm-up or hair and makeup. After the show, the cast would often go and get dinner together at one of the 5-star restaurants our per diems allowed us to visit. This was lush living. We would often travel over the bridge to ‘Old Macau' and go to hawker-style restaurants and hang there with locals for the night, this is one of my favourite memories".
Performing on London's West End was a dream come true for Jacinta.
"My cast was very close so we would regularly hang out or get lunch together during the day. Then we headed to the theatre for warm-up on stage and go over the show notes. We commonly had rehearsals during the day to keep the show tidy and in peak form. From rehearsal straight into hair and makeup then showtime! I was usually running down to the quick change area at beginners call with my hair half done and makeup not quite finished. My dressing room was the party room and we would lose track of time because we were having too much fun. Most of the time scaring people or playing pranks. I had to give myself the necessary prehab for the show once dressed as it is very physical/full out and I flipped a lot. As the music starts to play I would say ‘chookas!' to everyone in the cast, band and crew. No one in the UK knew what this meant so for a while I was just the crazy Australian yelling out profanities. They soon learnt I was simply telling them good luck, they quickly caught on and it became routine. After the show, we would usually wind down together, and we made it a regular activity to go to the underground jazz bars in Soho and watch some incredible discovered and undiscovered people play instruments and sing songs. Our castmates were among that talented bunch".
I asked Jacinta who she has found to be her most influential dance teacher and why.
"This might sound cliché but in all honesty, Michael Jackson could be number 1. When I became a part of ‘Thriller Live!' the whole cast became obsessed with MJ and we were forever sharing videos, studying his style and drawing inspiration from YouTube, music videos and his old rehearsal footage. The man had too much talent for this world. If we're talking real-life teachers then I would have to say Tony Tzar. Teachers like Tony are so refreshing in a world full of commercial competition. No pressure, just genuine skill and passion for educating dancers and reminding us why we love dancing".
Some of the biggest hardships as a dancer are the sacrifices and she offers her insight for those thinking about furthering their career within the dance industry.
"Be prepared for the sacrifices, whether it's being present with your friends and family, money or dropping everything you have to start again on the other side of the world"
Before a performance and before each class Jacinta typically enjoys a coffee and a piece of fruit as she wants to avoid feeling sluggish. She likes to prepare her body for injury prevention. Ensuring that she has warmed up appropriately and completes rehab exercises prescribed from physiotherapist that week. Unfortunately and all too commonly, Jacinta has lived with injuries for the majority of her career. She consistently and efficiently ensures she has made all the appropriate measures to progress her career and strives for longevity. I asked Jacinta, how she recovers from performing.
"Eating healthy and nutrient-dense foods is the easiest and tastiest way to replenish your body and I believe it is so imperative after all of that hard work".
Jacinta has some great tips for getting the most out of classes.
"Just be there for you. Go to a class and stay in the back row, even if you are the best one in the room. Just be there and dance for yourself, don't worry about what anyone else is doing or what you're wearing. Of course, be inspired by the people around you but make sure you are there for the love of it and not for the sake of showing off".
Despite her injuries and sacrifices, Jacinta is an easy-going, smart, and captivating individual, who I feel thankful to have met. She is proof that the industry offers so many opportunities to those who don't necessarily fit into a particular box. She highlights the importance of being open to new styles and creating new ways to move. As well as the value in consistency and dedication to the beautiful art we all love, dancing!
You can follow her on Instagram @jacintaseivers and I hope you enjoyed the insights into her incredible career.
Thanks for reading
Leah Van Lambaart for Total Dance Australia