Dance Australia

THE INCREDIBLE COURAGE OF JANA CASTILLO

WHEN Jana Castillo received the 2018 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Dancer, it was a double vindication. The judges described her performance in Australian Dance Theatre’s revival of the late Tanja Liedtke’s Construct as “astonishing”, fusing “strength, flexibility and the ability to illustrate raw and empathic emotions in ways which left audiences and critics in awe”.

For an Australian country girl who had spent most of her dancing career in New Zealand, such recognition from Australian peers was sweet. Sweeter still though was the acknowledgement of her dancing prowess from judges who did not know that she suffers from a movement disorder that has at times left her struggling to walk, let alone dance.

Castillo first heard of Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) when she was studying at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School. Her teacher, Tim Storey,

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