In the latest edition of our Dubliners series, we talk to Ariane, a Dundrum dancer who has her sights set on London’s West End.

I’m 18 years old and I’ve lived in Dublin all my life. I began dancing at the age of four at Debbie Allen’s Dance School in Dundrum.

It was always a huge passion of mine but not something I wanted to pursue until I was about 11 or 12. I was accepted to the Irish National Youth Ballet company and this was when I really fell in love with dance and I just really couldn’t see myself doing anything else in the future.

After my Junior Cert, I was accepted to The College of Dance in Dublin – one of the only third level dance colleges in Ireland. There is one particular exercise I remember doing in ballet class really early on; it was called ‘Good toes, bad toes’.

We would all sit on the floor with our legs stretched out and pretend we were dipping our toes in a pond. Bad toes were when our feet were flexed up out of the water and good toes were when we had them pointed into the water.

This was my first introduction to the ballet world and the precision and discipline it entailed.

As I got older, I was introduced to many other styles of dance and my passion just grew stronger and stronger.

I was cast as Cinderella in our 2018 Christmas production in the Pavilion Theatre in Dun Laoghaire – a really valuable experience for me as a growing dancer. It showed me the excitement of having a lead role, but also the pressures that come with it.

It is my ultimate dream to study dance and performing arts abroad in the UK and still a surreal thought for me; leaving home, leaving Dublin, and the reality hadn’t completely dawned on me until a few months ago that I will be living independently so far away from my family here in Ireland.

I really wish there was a full time performing arts college in Ireland. Being a member of the Irish National Youth Ballet has been an unforgettable life experience that I will always cherish.

I have made wonderful friends and been given the opportunity to work with so many inspiring teachers and choreographers. I have learned so many valuable lessons in both ballet and life from my time in the company that have shaped me as a person and as a dancer.

What I love most about being part of INYB is the lifelong friends I have made – I have developed such a strong bond with them.

Dancers battle through a lot in their life and it’s very important to have people around you that support you and I was blessed to have so many people around me that I could depend on.

Simply, my dream career is to perform and to dance. Any opportunity I am given to perform I will take, whether it’s in [London’s] West End, a cruise ship, with a company, or as a back-up dancer. I also have a passion for teaching, and would love to one day pass on what I have learned.

One of the many things I love about Dublin is undoubtedly the people. There is something so welcoming about the people here and the vast sense of pride in the streets of Dublin is heartwarming. I am so lucky to have grown up here in Dublin.

  • What’s your story? Do you have an interesting connection to Dublin and why you call it home? Please email your story to news@dublingazette.com.