Danza Viva was founded by Deanna Blacher OAM in 1984 and was the first body established in Western Australia for study and performance of Spanish Dance and Flamenco. Born in South Africa, Deanna is one of the world’s few castanet virtuosi and has had an illustrious career as a performer and choreographer. Over the decades Deanna established the Danza Viva company as one of the premier Spanish Dance ensembles in Australia, staging many and varied productions with top calibre local performers and international guest stars.
In 1984 Deanna also founded the Instituto de la Danza Española, a body with a structured syllabus that is taught in the Danza Viva academy and assessed by external examination. The syllabus offers a comprehensive approach to Spanish Dance tuition, focusing on Clásico Español, Escuela Bolera and regional dance in addition to Flamenco. Study is spread over six junior levels and three major levels, and may then be followed by a teaching and a masters qualification – Profesor de Baile and Maestro de Baile. Those who excel at the Instituto examinations may be accepted into the Danza Viva company.
In 2015 Deanna decided it was time to focus her energies internationally and handed Danza Viva over to Sofia Pratt, a soloist and teacher with Danza Viva. Sofia trained in ballet at the Graduate College of Dance before discovering Spanish Dance and Flamenco at Danza Viva in 1999. Since then Sofia has studied extensively with Deanna and with some of the most prominent Spanish Maestros including Manuel Betanzos, Paloma Gomez, Pepa Molina, Andrés Peña, Rafael Campallo, Inmaculada Aguilar and Candela Soto. In 2010 the IDE awarded her the degree of Maestro de Baile, with special distinction.
‘It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Danza Viva Spanish Dance Academy and Company are now in the capable hands of Sofia Pratt, who is ideally placed to lead Danza Viva into the future. Having for many years been both a valued soloist in the company and a skilled, devoted and enthusiastic teacher in the school, I hand the baton to Sofia, in the sure knowledge that Danza Viva will flourish.’
– Deanna Blacher OAM