2019 Dancers Market
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Aussie Dancers Abroad - Annie Macens

27 Feb 2019 9:04 PMLauren Nairne
Aussie Dancers Abroad - Annie Macens

What fun we are having creating this blog series.


Not only does it give our community the opportunity to understand the types of amazing opportunities that are offered abroad.  But it also gives me an amazing platform to celebrate the achievements of our home grown talent.  


From the moment I met Annie Macens ( a long time ago now) she has always been one of the most beautiful, humble, well rounded and down to earth performers I have come across.  It gives me such pleasure to share her story with you.  Hard work, persistence and an easy going attitude has got this performer jobs of a life time.  


Here is her story 



Annie Macens 


Tell Us About Your Dance Background

I started taking dance classes at the age of 4\. I studied F.A.T.D syllabus for Jazz and Tap, and R.A.D Ballet at the Australian College of Entertainment under the direction of Robyn Dixon. I later moved to Carlingford School of Dance to continue my exam syllabus classes. Later in my teenage years, I returned to Australian College of Entertainment (under new management) and was lucky enough to be taught by Phillip Filo and be a part of The Dance Works Company. These were the years where I whole-heartedly confirmed my dream of being a professional performer. After Phil was no longer teaching at ACE, I found a dance school to continue jazz and tap classes - Elena & Mario De Cinque's 'ED5'. During my final years of high school, I enjoyed music and drama as part of my Higher School Certificate studies, and it was here that I discovered singing and acting to be a passion on par with dance. Following this, I auditioned and was accepted into ED5's Full-time course and graduated in 2006 with a Certificate IV in Performing Arts. This was the year William A Forsythe became a director at ED5 and I began vocal lessons with Scott Ogier.  Needless to say - this changed my life! My training didn't stop after graduation, and it still continues 13 years later. As a professional performer, it's vital to keep up your craft and you can always learn more! I continue to take classes, workshops and masterclass - particularly Leslie Bell and William's classes whenever I am back in Sydney between contracts.


What was the Audition Process Like for Universal Studios?

As I was working in Dubai at the time and was unable to attend any live auditions, I submitted myself online. This involved putting together a 4 minute video - including specific material that was requested from the Universal Studios casting team. It included a short segment where I introduced myself on camera, and genre specific singing and dancing footage.


What does a normal day of work look like? Rehearsals, number of shows etc?

Universal Studios always has projects in the works! Along with your main role or ‘home show’, you may also be cross-trained or cast in corporate events, parades, seasonal shows, or be required as support in rehearsals for new cast members, changes to the show and so on. There is rarely a ‘normal’ day of work. Some days you might come in for a 30 minute rehearsal, other days you might come in at around 9am, perform 4 shows and then go to a rehearsal for 6 hours into the late evening. This changes things up a bit which can be fun, but it’s important to look after yourself and really make sure to rest in your down time.


What is your favourite thing about Singapore?

I really enjoy the warm weather. Leave your winter gear at home! I also love how safe, clean and GREEN Singapore is. It is truly a great place to live.


What has been your career highlight/s?

It's hard to pin point one experience in my career. Each job or contact has it's own exciting moment. Whether it has been traveling to a new country, learning from amazing choreographers and directors, meeting some really amazing people who end up being some of your closest friends, or being part of a brand new project where you get to experience the creation of a show from scratch. One of my favourite moments was singing a duet with a famous Latvian singer/conductor, accompanied by a huge choir and performing it in front of my grandparents (I am of Latvian descent) Although this was an unpaid performance, I was on that stage for my love of music and heritage - you can't top that feeling.


What is the best part about living and working abroad? 

I developed a passion for travel after my very first contract in Macau in 2007. At the age of 20, this was my very first time traveling overseas. That magic feeling of being in a new place and being immersed in a different culture is truly eye-opening and something that allows you to really learn so much about yourself! I've never been one to want to settle down. In an ideal world, I would choose to continue working abroad and experiencing life in different parts of the world.


What is the worst part about living and working abroad?

Being away from your family and friends can be tough. All contracts are different, you may get lucky and land a contract that grants annual leave and time to travel. Other times, on cruise ships for example, you are on that vessel from anywhere between 4-10 months depending on your contract. Luckily, technology allows us to do video calls, Skype, etc.


What advice would you give other dancers hoping to work outside Australia?

Keep an open mind, but always check your contract. If something doesn't sound right, don't feel like you have to agree. Contracts often involve a little negotiating. For those of you who are represented by an agent, you have that advantage to ensure you are protected by that contract. For those of you without representation, there is a huge community of performers out there who can help and answer questions. It is also REALLY important to learn about the country, culture and religion of a potential location you may work in. This can heavily influence your contract and experience. The more you know, the easier it can be to settle in and really enjoy yourself!


What is your biggest industry 'do'?

Always be a nice person and keep your wits about you ! Manners go a long way. You don't always know where people have come from or where they are going. Do your job to the best of your ability, be professional and be kind to others.


What is your biggest industry 'don't'?

Don't compare yourself. There is only one person in the world like you. Each performer has a unique look, style and skillset. As much as you may wish to be like someone else, learn to embrace what YOU have to offer, and share that with the world :)


What is the Aussie support/community like for you? 

As I've been working abroad since 2007, I am not so connected to the Australian dance community any more. However when I come back to Sydney, if I see a show or attend classes - it makes me happy to see more and more talented individuals performing, creating their own shows or collaborating to create more opportunities within the industry.


What's your dream role?

I have a few!! They have changed over the years, but I've always wanted to play Maureen in 'Rent', Regina in 'Rock of Ages', and recently, Zoe in 'Dear Evan Hansen'.

I also love the shows Les Mis, Guys & Dolls, Spring Awakening and Pajama Game.

In my later years I plan on gracing a stage as Miss Hannigan in 'Annie' ... Once upon a time I dreamt of being John Farnham's back up singer!


What's next for you?

Coming up to the ripe age of 33 I am very aware of my body and the fact I can't kick a leg like I used to. I am focusing on stability, taking care of my health, and hoping to continue to work abroad. Happiness is key. If I can keep making a living doing what I love, then I am happy. I enjoy writing my own music in my spare time and hope to have my own one woman show in the near future.


Thank you Lauren for letting me a part of this awesome initiative ! Best of luck to all those aspiring performers out there. Big love !