Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Stefaan started classical ballet lessons at the age of nine. After finishing training at the New Zealand School of Dance in 2015, he was offered a contract at the Singapore Dance Theatre where he stayed for two years.
He moved to Germany in 2016 to dance with Theater Pforzheim and during his time there, transitioned from classical ballet to contemporary dance.
His final stop was in beautiful Malta to dance with Zfin Malta National Dance Company, before arriving back home to Adelaide, Australia.
“My sister and I were raised by my grandmother, who was a guiding light in both our lives, supporting and inspiring me to keep developing the artist within me.”
In this interview with Stefaan, he describes his love of dance and art, and how each talent evolved in its own unique way:
What inspired you to become a dancer?
“Mikhail Baryshnikov was my first idol that really drove me to become a professional dancer. I was nine when I first watched the film ‘White Nights’ in which he and Gregory Hines co-starred. I was in awe at their skill and at how effortless their movement looked. I started ballet the same year.“
How long have you been dancing?
“13 years, having pursued classical ballet from the age of nine and joined my first ballet company – the ‘Singapore Dance Theatre’. I then spent two years working professionally until deciding to change tracks slightly and join a contemporary dance Company in Germany. At the end of 2018 I left Germany to join a contemporary dance company in Malta. Now I’m back in Adelaide“
What are you plans for your career in the future?
“Now I’m back in Australia and am taking things one step at a time to see where they lead. Right now I’m thoroughly enjoying guiding the next generation of dancers through private coaching. Choreographing their dances for National and International competitions. I find choreography to be another great medium of expression.”
Do you feel your life in dance has influenced your perception of art?
“I find it’s had a major impact on the way I view the aesthetics of a piece. I also noticed once I changed from classical ballet to contemporary dance, my perception of art morphed along with it. The fluidity of the movement I work with every day helps a lot in the visualization of my drawings.“
What made you want to pursue drawing?
“When I was around six years old I loved to draw on paper with pencils, drawing anything I could think of, all the time. I fell out of the habit a couple years later, only picking it up again at nineteen, once I moved to Singapore. It started again as a hobby to fill my free-time. However, it quickly escalated into a passion for drawing.“
What kind of medium do you usually work with and do you have a preferred method to approach your pieces?
“Mostly lead and colour pencils, black ink and alcohol based markers. However, I have recently been experimenting more with other mediums including watercolour paints and acrylic inks. When i’m creating a piece, I like to steer away from using pencil too much to sketch, and just work with ink straight away. I find I usually end up with something different than I expect as you have to adapt more to what comes out.”