Anny spent her life in dance studios, starting lessons at May Down’s dance school at the tender age of 5. Pantomimes and song and dance competitions were some of the many types of performances under her belt as she studied theatrical dance (jazz ballet, tap, contemporary & classical R.A.D. ballet as well as folk dancing), until 18 years of age when she decided to turn her hand (or feet), to Ballroom & Latin.
At the age of 19, Anny took a full time position with Rio Dance Studio and became a professional member of the Australian Dancing Society (ADS), shortly thereafter. After a few years as a novice teacher, Anny began freelancing at various studios around Melbourne including Essendon Danse Academy, Granada Dance Centre. In the mid 90’s Anny decided to open her own space – which was eventually named Dance Cats Studio. This studio took many years to build and develop, but was a success after lots of hard work and determination, against the odds.
Success came in many forms, such as various Bronze, Silver and Gold medals being won at key international Same-Sex competitions, as well as the growth of student numbers over time. By the late nineties, the ‘little battler’ studio was a full time concern and operated 6 days a week as a permanent LGBTQI studio. Something Anny was always very proud of, as they doubters said it couldn’t be done. In 1998 came the start of a long tradition, with Anny organising the first of the now well established Midsumma Festival event – The Australian Same-Sex DanceSports, held in Melbourne annually. Anny was Choreographer with the 2010 Midsumma Festival Play Tango Femme, playwright Merrilee Moss (a previous student of Anny’s). A rigorous and gruelling rehearsal schedule but well worth the experience, a great cast and crew to work with!
In 2011, an ABC documentary was made about Dance Cats Studio with Anny as its protagonist, thanks to Waterbyrd Films. The doco is called Ballroom Rules which aired as part of the ArtScape series by the ABC.
Many heartfelt thanks to Nick Bird and Eleanor Sharpe at Waterbyrd Filmz, for this wonderful honour.
Anny sold Dance Cats in 2012 planning on retirement from the dance industry, but as with many things in life, things changed. Her love of dance was too strong and drove her to return to what was thought to have been left behind forever. Missing the energy and enthusiasm of a busy class Anny has returned, if only in a small way. Offering lessons on a social level and only on a few nights per week, for the foreseeable future. Hence, the inception of Queer as Foxtrot in 2016.
So, Anny’s back to continue her contribution to the Same-Sex dance community of Melbourne. Hoping that her return will tempt some past students back to the dance floor. Hopefully also bringing new life and new students to this wonderful world of Same-Sex dancing, whilst not wanting to detract from anything Dance Cats is doing as this is still a functioning studio. Anny hopes that the further promotion of Same-Sex dancing will only benefit both studios in the long term, by building a stronger community of Same-Sex dancers in Melbourne.
Whether you are experienced, a previous student, just passing through, curious and/or a complete beginner, we hope to see you on the dance floor for some dancing shenanigans, soon!