We asked Ivana Matovina to tell us more about her work with artsREACH and life as an dancer:


What is your favourite part about working with artsREACH?

My favourite part about working with artsREACH is witnessing all the creativity that the students bring to the workshops! There is so much imagination and inspiration in young minds.

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an dancer?

When I was 12 years old I got to dance in Ballet Jorgen’s The Nutcracker and tour all over Ontario and North Eastern United States. This experience inspired me to become a dancer.

Do you have a favourite dance style?

I enjoy a variety of dance styles including ballet, modern, hip hop, and social dances such as salsa, ballroom, and various folk dances.

What dancer’s work inspires you right now?

Heather Ogden is my current favourite inspiration. She is a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and a mom of two. I follow her on instagram, but you can also watch a video of her dancing here.

Is there a special teacher who inspired you when you were learning to dance? What was it about him/her that helped you the most?

I had many different dance teachers growing up and I would say they all inspired me in some way. What I liked about my dance teachers is that their classes helped me reach my goals and their knowledge about dance inspired me to want to learn more.

If you could travel back in time and meet any performer, who would it be and why?

I would want to see Martha Graham dance in person. As one of the pioneers of modern dance, it would be amazing to see her perform and teach in person.

What music do you listen to while making art?

Oooh, lots and very loud- The Lumineers, Hugh Laurie (blues), Roxy Music, Queen, David Bowie, U2, 60’s Summer of Love classics, Janice Joplin, CCR.

What music do you listen to while on the bus or taking a walk?

I usually read on the bus and go for walks with friends so those are not my main music-listening times. If I am working on a choreography, going for a walk while listening to that piece of music does give me new ideas and inspiration.

What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever received?

The greatest piece of advice I have ever received was from one of my University professors. Her advice was simple: take care of your body by eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep and the rest will follow. She also advised us to keep a journal. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I check in with those three things and everything else falls into place.

What keeps you busy when you are not working with artsREACH?

Besides artsREACH I also teach ballet, contemporary, and character dance at various studios in Victoria. I also take ballet and yoga classes, attend rehearsals for Ballet Etoile performances, and enjoy spending time swimming, running, or having a nice meal with my friends.


Ivana (center) performing with the company, “random acts of dance” at the Toronto’s Junction Arts Festival in 2008.

© 2016 artsREACH

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