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Donna Costello

Dance: Reflections on Donna Costello’s Masterclass

Donna Costello, our Juilliard Dance Curriculum Specialist visited St Andrews International School Bangkok for the second time this year.  Her two-day visit was packed with class demonstrations and observations, a special dance workshop with our Primary parents and masterclasses with our dance teams.

Our STA Varsity Dance Team had a special masterclass workshop with our Juilliard Dance Curriculum Specialist, Donna Costello. In this two-hour workshop, our dancers experienced a range of modern dance techniques, from center, to floorwork, to phrases across the floor, and ended with a challenging choreography.  It was a test of stamina and strength for our students and definitely a dance class they would remember. Here are some inspiring reflections from our students.

Donna Costello

“As a student who had attended Donna Costello’s workshop before, I was ecstatic when I heard the news that she would be running a second class. Her wonderful, calm and cheerful personality was definitely something that I had recalled with warmth from last time, as well as the many inspiring activities and dances that she conducted for us. This workshop in particular felt to me to be on the subject of beginning to understand the mastery of movement: coming to the realisation that our physical bodies can do so much more than we expect, yet to understand the boundaries and limits that only we can set for ourselves. As a person who studies ballet, I am accustomed to the strictness and unnatural rules that the foundation of dance sets for us. When it comes to Donna Costello’s class, the first thing that I learned was that in order to dance in this style, you have to listen to your body, and to let it lead you. You are not allowed to control it here because in order to achieve that flow of movement and rhythm,  your mind has to sit back and let the mortal vessels that we carry do the rest. One of the moments in this workshop that seemed like a sudden eureka moment for me was near the end, where we had to display our sequence that Miss Donna taught us. As the music was playing, this feeling of complete empowerment had settled over the room as we began to dance, focusing on nothing but how we moved. There was no stress over “wait, what’s next after this one?” or “oh, that person is doing it perfectly” or “oh no, I messed up!” So I would like to sincerely thank Miss Donna for helping me to further aim for not perfection, but the utmost joy in dance.” - Geo Mckay, Sd

“I had an amazing experience learning with Donna. She has an amazing personality which made the class really fun. I have learned to dance in a style that I've never learned before. Overall I think everyone who is interested in dance should try it.” - Mai, 11d

Donna Costello

“The experience with Donna was truly incredible, it was able to expose us to a different kind of movement. The class taught us so many important things that every dancer should know and experience, but above all that we all enjoyed it so much as it was a very bonding experience. I would definitely recommend this class to everyone; it was very fun and light, but also very meaningful.”  - Arad Angel, 11b

“The masterclass with Donna was a great experience. She taught us many interesting things that we can apply to our dancing and she made the class even better with her joyful personality.” - Tripti Rishi, 11c