Interview to Letizia Bonciani, founder of “Let me dance”, a dance school in Pieve al Toppo.
When dancing gets into your heart and invades your whole soul, all you can do is to let it do its own thing, as a divine law that makes your body move and express itself so that no words are needed.
Dancing keeps you alive, your feet become long roots that draw their vital nourishment directly from the soil, while the arms become wings to satisfy your need to fly.
When you are born a ballerina, you stay a ballerina forever, through time and growth, you will always dream of keeping hold of the bar not to be swiped away from the ever-changing life.
Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing the ballerina and founder of the “Let me dance” dance school in Pieve al Toppo, Letizia Bonciani.
I already knew Letizia; I have known her since the time when dreams feel like a golden reality and you can almost touch them.
Letizia had been my dance teacher for many years, and meeting her again today felt like going back to that one place I had not seen in a long time.
Letizia laughs heartily, this woman is a force of nature.
She tells me: “How can this woman be the little girl that came into my school many years ago?”
Instead, she has stayed the same: stubborn, determined, speaking firmly, she looks straight into your eyes.
Dance is her life, and I enjoy listening to her, as it is also my life.
When did you first understand you wanted to found a dance school?
When I was three! (she laughs)
I was just a littl egirl but I already knew I would grow up to be a dancer and teach dance. The school itself was born right after I completed my studies, but the idea of dance had always been there.
How did your school evolve through the years?
I would say it has evolved towards a change of the girls and of the requests. Today’s students are not like the ones there used to be 30 years ago, when I started teaching. Nowadays, everything is more dynamic, faster, and as a school we have had to adapt.
Through the years, we have added new dance trends. However, the basic ballet classes have remained stable as well as many other genres, which go from modern, contemporary, aerial dance to reggaeton and zumba fitness. The different demand has led us to offer several alternatives for every need.
I remember that once, when I was still a dancer, you told me that when you were a kid you would go from one room to another dancing. What did that little girl dream of?
The woman I am today, to be honest. I don’t know if I can define my journey as pure luck or as stubbornness (it might more the latter). Since I was three, my life has always revolved around dance. I am a ballerina inside: if I have to go get something, I’ll dance to it.
I think I learned how to dance before I could even walk. Still today, when I hear music , whether it is at the supermarket or anywhere else, something inside of me moves and I start dancing.
It’s my way to be, my calling.
What piece of advice would you give to one of your students who wants to go from amateur to professional ballerina?
You need to study a lot. Unfortunately, since dance TV shows have appeared on the screen, our students, mainly the younger ones, are always more incline to believe to false myths.
Technical work is the base of everything and technique mainly comes from ballet. Starting from the technical base, one can build new genres. In a reality as the one we live in Arezzo, in which big theatres or big TV broadcasting stations lack, it would be ideal to move to a bigger city to complete their journey, studying as much as possible and trusting the teachers. It is a very competitive world; it requires commitment, dedication and a certain versatility.
Love and passion are not always enough.
Translated by Giuliana Vargetto