Dance is a big passion for thousands of people in Malta, but there are times when a hobby turns into something way more. ŻfinMalta Dance Ensemble (or ŻMDE), was established for that very reason.
The national contemporary dance company has put up various works from both local and international choreographers, and it is their promise to provide full-time opportunities in dance that really shows their dedication to young talent.
Still running on a high from their successful performance Qalbna during the opening ceremony of Valletta 2018, ŻfinMalta dancers are now sweating it out in the studios for the upcoming contemporary dance adaptation of the classic Carmen, under the direction of new artistic director Paolo Mangiola.”
Ahead of that big night, ŻfinMalta has unveiled more information about its 11 dancers. A mix of young local and international artists willing to give it their all, these are Malta’s full-time dancers.
1. Yasmin Priyatmoko Bohn
Born in Bali, Yasmin left Indonesia when she was only 16 six years old to live in a dance conservatory outside of Los Angeles.
After moving to Rotterdam to attend the Codarts University of Dance in 2013, she joined ŻfinMalta last year.
Yasmin will be leading Carmen, dancing the role of the famous protagonist herself.
2. Zoe Camilleri
This Maltese 24-year-old dancer was part of the birth of the national dance company four years ago, so it’s safe to say the art runs through her blood. One year later in 2015, Zoe joined the company as a full-time dancer.
Zoe began her dance training in Malta with the College of Dance, and later formed part of YADA Dance Company. In 2011 she was awarded a scholarship through the Malta Arts Scholarship Scheme and, at the age of 18, went onto full-time training at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London.
3. Keith Micallef
Keith began his dance tuition in Classic Ballet under the direction of Theresa Lungaro Mifsud at The Dance Workshop when he was only twelve.
He achieved a distinction in his Advanced 2 Level of Ballet in the Cecchetti Classical Ballet Technique, also performing in the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition in Manchester in 2011.
He has attended masterclasses at the Royal Ballet, working in Italy, England and America. Keith joined ŻfinMalta in 2014.
4. Florinda Camilleri
Born in 1986, ‘Flo’ began her dance training at the age of three. In 2005, she was invited to join the Contact Dance Company under the direction of Francesca Tranter, where she collaborated with many well-established international choreographers including Bawren Tavaziva, Roberto Olivan and Idan Porges.
Beyond her work as a dancer, Florinda also teaches extensively. Before choosing to dance full-time, she graduated with a Masters in Pharmacy in 2012, but she joined ŻfinMalta in 2014.
5. Abel Hernández González
A 24-year-old dancer from Spain, Abel starting teaching hip-hop lessons at the age of 15 while still training in contemporary dance. He had been dancing since the age of 10, and seven year later, he felt the need to go abroad and enrich his knowledge and technique.
Abel joined ŻfinMalta last year, after dancing in The Netherlands, Colombia, Germany and Lithuania.
6. João de Castro
Born in Brazil, João has been through a long list of countries, doing what he does best.
He’s participated in ballets in Denmark, Sweden, Poland… and as of 2016, Malta. He’ll definitely be bringing all his experience to the stage with ŻfinMalta.
7. Martina Zammit
Martina joined the Olivia Dow School of Russian Ballet in Malta and studied the Legat System there, reaching ‘soloist’ level in ballet and the ‘senior’ level of teaching, while also performing in all of the School’s productions.
Martina joined ŻfinMalta in 2014, after completing three degrees at the University of Malta. She was introduced to contemporary dance while reading a Bachelors in Dance Studies under the tutelage of Jo Butterworth, Mavin Khoo, Francesca Tranter, Lucía Piquero and Anusha Kedhar.
8. Jure Gostincar
Jure was born in 1992 and grew up on the Slovenian coast. He started dancing hip-hop at the age of 18, eventually joining a neoclassical company for young dancers in the capital.
Since then, Jure has danced and performed with different companies across Slovenia and in many different companies and projects. He joined ŻfinMalta in 2015.
9. Nicola Micallef
18-year-old Nicola began classical ballet at the age of seven. She achieved distinctions in her Cecchetti examinations up to Advanced 2, and began contemporary dance five years ago.
Nicola has attended multiple courses with prestigious schools, including The Royal Ballet School and The English National Ballet School. She is one of the newest members of ŻfinMalta, joining the troupe as an apprentice dancer in 2017.
10. Rebeka Mondovics
A 20-year-old apprentice dancer from Hungary, Rebeka was inspired by her sister, who started dancing at a very young age.
She began her professional dance training at the age of seven at the School of Dance and Fine Arts in Györ. In 2010, she got accepted to the preparatory course of the Bachelor programme of the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna.
Rebeka also joined ŻfinMalta in 2017.
11. Tommaso Marchignoli
Born in Bologna, Tommaso is only 19-years-old. The Italian dancer began his dance training at the age of five in his hometown, but by 2011, he was accepted at the ESDC Rosella Hightower in Cannes.
In 2013, Tommaso was invited to continue his studies at the Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin, where he graduated in 2017. His next step was joining Żfinmalta.
ŻfinMalta’s performance of Carmen will be happening on the 15th, 16th and 17th of February.
For more information, stay tuned on the official Facebook event.