Andalusia Ballet holds its summer workshop

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 9, 2019

Andalusia Ballet director Maryanne Murphy said she has tried to get the instructors teaching this summer’s company workshop for the longest time.

“We were finally able to find a time and work out our schedules for them to come,” Murphy said. “We are so delighted they are here. They are just such wonderful teachers.”

Julio Montano is teaching the ballet class, while his wife, Gissell Durand is teaching a contemporary class.

“Gigi is really known for her contemporary work,” Murphy said. “A lot of competitions, seminars and workshops that we have went to her pieces just always stand out. Sometimes the piece can almost help to make the dancer. Julio is Cuban originally and Gigi is originally from Peru. They met while Julio was dancing in Peru.”

Montano is the artistic director, ballet instructor and choreographer of All American Classical Ballet School in Tampa, Fla. His career started at the age of 17, at Ballet De Camaguey under the direction of Fernando Alonso. In 1993, Julio was chosen to perform with the Ballet Nacional del Peru as a principal dancer. In 1995, Julio won the Circe Prize top award for artists in Peru. In 2002, after 9 years of performing in South America, he moved to the United States to perform with Tulsa Ballet for two seasons.

Durand is the assistant director, ballet instructor and choreographer. Her professional career started at the age of 16, at the official ballet company of her country, Ballet Nacional del Peru under the direction of Olga Shimazaki, as soloist 1 and after three years, she was promoted to principal soloist. As a dancer, she participated in festivals and tours performing across South America and the United States. She has been awarded many outstanding choreographer and outstanding coach awards at YAGP and other national and international competitions.

Murphy said these workshops are so important to her students because they get to work with other teachers.

“With these workshops, they get to experience feedback from other teachers,” Murphy said. “These teachers are just especially wonderful. I think bringing in other teachers brings a sense of new energy to the workspace. When you work with the same teacher all of the time, sometimes you quit listening. By bringing in other teachers, it keeps the dancers on their toes.”