Sitting down to talk all things dance with professional dancer Sheree Ronai-Horvath
Author: Leah Van Lambaart Date Posted:20 September 2019
Sheree Ronai-Horvath is truly a person who lights up the room. Her beautiful nature, bright smile and incredible dance ethic landed her a contract in Tokyo, Japan, working in Disneyland. A contract which turned into a career highlight and gifted her lifelong friendships. I was lucky enough this week to sit down and chat all things dance with Sheree.
At seven years old, she was captivated with the dance world, including costumes, music and performance. But it was the tutu’s that drew her into what would be the love of a lifetime.
“I was seven years old when I first started dancing. I remember having two friends in primary school who both danced. One was doing a lot of ballet and one was really into ballroom. I fell in love with the costumes, the musicality and the whole aspect of performing. I wanted to do both genres but mum made me choose one to begin with. I think ultimately it was the tutus that really steered me towards ballet!”
It didn’t take long for Sheree to gain momentum and dance all the way to Dance World Studios, Melbourne.
“After falling in love with tutus I started with a lot of ballet – which I loved! I then started to incorporate contemporary and character as I was at a very classical based school. As I got older, I then started jazz, tap, musical theatre and before long was doing pretty much all styles. These were all further consolidated when I did my full-time training at Dance World Studios.”
Throughout her childhood and professional training, Sheree has been guided by numerous teachers who have helped to refine technique, build confidence, create and inspire her. Although, her biggest lesson of all wasn’t in the steps.
“I’ve had a lot of amazing teachers of the years who have all been very different. Every teacher has their own insights and pieces of advice so it’s always great to keep an open mind and listen to what they have to share.”
We talked about her favourite dance style and how the different styles captured her attention.
“I’ve always loved ballet but as I got older, I really grew to love jazz, especially Broadway jazz. The musicality and expression involved is always different and can be really quirky, which is heaps of fun. I also love a bit of an 80’s or 90’s jazz too with the old-school jazz technique!”
Throughout any career there are ups and downs. The more experience dancers gain throughout the industry will impact how to deal with challenges of a career in the dance industry. Sheree has learnt to embrace her individuality and build confidence in her own abilities.
“It’s always difficult to try and not compare yourself to somebody else. Although you want to have an idea of what everyone else is doing and gain inspiration from them, everyone is unique and has their own thing to share – which can be hard to understand and appreciate when you are younger. I think the older I got, the more I realised this and became comfortable with my own abilities.”
I asked Sheree what she had found rewarding about her dance career.
“It’s always great when you can create an emotive response from an audience through movement. Moments like those feel amazing. It’s also pretty good when you have been practicing something over and over and finally you get it. Like an ‘ah-ha’ moment!”
After her professional training, Sheree’s hard work had truly paid off and she accepted a contract that took her across the world. A career highlight and finding some of her best friends, Japan gave Sheree the experience of a lifetime.
“I managed to get a contract straight after graduation with one of the girls in my class – which was pretty awesome! We both worked in Japan at Tokyo Disney Resort. I ended up doing two contracts there before returning home and working in Australia performing in shows at Crown Palladium and The Palms Crown, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, ABC and Channel 10. I was then offered to return to work at Tokyo Disney and did a further two contracts where I was also the dance captain.”
Sheree spoke about a day in the life of when she was performing in Tokyo.
“The days when I was performing ‘One Man’s Dream II’ in Tokyo were quite long. We would perform five shows a day and this would be five days a week. The shows went for half an hour, with an hour between, or two hours for lunch in the middle of the day. We were consistently warming up and cooling down before and after each show but also had access to great trainers backstage too for any niggling pains or injuries. As dance captain I would also oversee any rehearsals or blocking changes that may have to occur on the day. I’d also watch the show from the booth to ensure everyone was still doing the correct choreography and give corrections as needed. It was a lot of work but also so much fun. Despite doing the same show daily, we had different tracks within the show and we always found ways to make things feel fresh.”
Both physical and mental preparation help Sheree get ready for her classes and performances.
“Warming up is always key. When you warm up, you’re less likely to end up injuring yourself, which is what you want to avoid whenever you can. Mental preparation is also important. With classes, just remember why you’re there and have fun. Don’t worry about everyone else in the room.”
Her go to meal before class is a banana and some form of protein. This includes nuts, protein bar/ball or shake. She doesn’t like to eat a big meal before she dances, so she ensures that she is constantly grazing on nutrient dense foods. And let’s not forget water, a non-negotiable for Sheree!
To recover from her performances or class, she ensures that she effectively cools down after class. She talked about how she really takes time to slow down the heart rate, stretch, roll out – even ice if needed! Sheree said that cooling down is just as important as warming up.
I asked Sheree what her top tips are for getting the most out of classes and her advice for any young dancer setting their sites on a career in the industry.
“Having fun, as cliché as it sounds, is one of the best things you can do. Draw inspiration from others around you but ultimately be there for you, your enjoyment, and your learning. Work hard and don’t give up if things don’t go according to plan! There are a lot of dancers and often the ratio of work to dancers doesn’t always match. But just because you didn’t get that one opportunity, doesn’t mean there isn’t another one in your future.”
Although dance is always in her heart, Sheree is currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy.
“My partner still dances and runs a dance school, so I’m still involved in that aspect. We also love to dance in the house and I do his classes sometimes too which is always fun. I think once you’re a dancer, you will always be a dancer.”
Sheree is an inspiring, generous and holistic dancer who was able to create a rewarding career out of hard work, dedication and personal growth. You can follow Sheree’s new adventures on Instagram @sheree_rh.
Hope all of our amazing readers have had a great week and thank you so much for reading!
Leah Van Lambaart for Total Dance Australia