(dis)connect cast members Jana Kolacz, Kim McConachy and Jacinta Van Etten met up with us so you could meet them before they hit the stage at the Shenton Performing Arts Centre in July.
Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
Jana: I grew up in North Ringwood, Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and moved to Geelong 10 years ago. I feel like I pretty much grew up at my dance studio as I was there 4 – 5 days a week.
Kim: I grew up in Geelong and have lived here my whole life.
Jacinta: I was born in Geelong and have been here ever since.
Where have you studied?
Jana: I studied dance at Parkwood Dance Academy and the Edge Performers School in Melbourne. I went on to complete a double degree in Occupational Therapy and Ergonomics at LaTrobe University. Since then I decided to go back to my first love, dance, completed a Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management through the Australian Dance Institute, an accredited Mat Pilates course through Pilates and Yoga Styles, an Acrobatics certification through Acrobatics Arts and Certificate IV in Training and Education.
Kim: I studied the Diploma of Early Childhood Education at The Gordon in Geelong.
Jacinta: I have danced at Impetus Dance studios from 2004-2016 and now currently dance at Infinite Dance studios since 2017. I completed high school at Sacred Heart College in 2016 and went straight to uni, currently studying a double degree in Nursing/Midwifery at Deakin University in Geelong.
What's your favourite/best performance you've been involved in? Any other highlights?
Jana: Every dance concert I’ve been involved in, in the history of ever.
Kim: My favourite performance I’ve been involved in would be (dis)connect as it’s my first production! A highlight in my dance life would be being involved in a two day workshop with 4 contestants from the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Australia.
Jacinta: My favourite performance I have been involved in was Centerstage's production of 42nd Street that was on in March this year. I loved being surrounded by insanely talented tappers who pushed me to be the best I can be. One of my other highlights would have to be choreographing Sacred Heart College's production of Pirates of Penzance in 2017. This was my choreography debut and was very rewarding seeing 85 high school students performing my choreography!
What do you do for work?
Jana: I own DanceWorks Geelong, a local dance school that caters to students aged two to adults. I also work as an occupational therapist with specialty areas of mental health and trauma rehabilitation. A typical day for me usually entails coffee, listening, observing, question answering, (occasional internal screaming), laughs x 1000, choreographing dances, dancing, thinking about dance, showers, and anti-inflammatories.
Kim: I work in Early Childhood Education.
Jacinta: I am currently at university, but I work at Peter Alexander in Geelong (yes I do get to wear pjs to work!). I also work as an Educational Support worker at Hamlyn views school which is very rewarding.
What are your interests outside of dance?
Jana: Is there life outside of dance???? This is something I am trying to still figure out as I feel like dance is on my mind 24/7 (yes, I have even been known to count 5,6,7,8 in my sleep). I do also love yoga, pilates, and catching up with my gal pals over a glass of wine or a delicious breakfast.
Kim: I love to read, play around with makeup, watercolour paint and go waterfall chasing.
Jacinta: I love my uni degree, so anything to do with babies I'm interested!
What inspires you?
Jana: Everything! I’m particularly inspired by other people’s energy and how their face lights up when they talk about something they love; I am super inspired by my students and their persistence to better themselves; By places – trees, the beach, gardens; People that keep trying despite adversity; Music – pretty much all genres; Love me a good mantra or inspirational quote as well!
Kim: People. More specifically people that can see the positives and light in any situation.
Jacinta: People inspire me everyday. It is those people who stand out of the ground inspire me to the better version of myself.
Jana and Jacinta, you've both choreographed a piece for (dis)connect, could you tell us about them?
Jana: My piece is about the feeling of being stuck in a place, either physically or mentally. Wanting to run, but feeling like you have to stay because the people around you want you there for their own benefit. It’s about how people around you will continue to take what they need from you but don’t necessarily realise your internal struggle. Ultimately it’s the interplay between choosing your true authentic self vs choosing the needs of others above your own, and how the people around you respond to that.
Jacinta: My concept is even if we are disconnected from someone/something that we love through hardships such as a loss of job, love one or heartache, there are always people who are there to support you. We should not close our eyes away from people who love and support us even when things are tough.
What's your favourite song?
Jana: I can’t narrow it down to one! Lover You Should Have Come Over – Jeff Buckley, Holocene - Bon Iver, Monster – Kanye West, Great Spirit – Vini Vici
Kim: Picture Frames - Georgia Fair
Jacinta: Photograph - Ed Sheeran
What's your favourite dance genre?
Jana: Favourite dance genre to do – Lyrical or Jazz. Favourite dance genre to teach – Tap. Favourite dance genre to watch – Hip Hop.
Kim: If you had asked me this at the start of the year I would have said Jazz or Commercial but now I have grown this large soft spot for Contemporary.
Favourite Dance Styles
What's your biggest pet peeve?
Jana: People that breathe really loudly or people that don't point their feet when they're meant to.
Kim: Metal cutlery scraping on china plates!!! (Arghhh it’s like nails on a chalk board.)
Jacinta: People calling me Jacina (there's a T in my name for a reason.)
What's your biggest guilty pleasure?
Jana: Cheese, wine and car dancing to Beyonce or Britney.
Kim: The Sims.
Monte Carlo or Kingston?
Kim: Too hard to choose I live for both!
Jacinta: Monte Carlo.