Couple tap in to WA dance future
Matt Papa and Daniel Bermardini. Picture by Gerald Moscarda/ The West Australian

They are one of Australia's top dance power couples but, rather than chasing careers in the spotlight, they have settled themselves in Perth to help mentor other up-and-coming performers.

Canberra-raised Matt Papa has enjoyed a celebrated run as a lead Tap Dog, dancing in more than 43 countries with the troupe and spending a six-month season on London's West End.

His girlfriend Daniella Bernardini has an equally impressive resume, having shared the stage with the likes of Kelly Rowland, Flo Rida and Ricky Martin and taken on a role in The Great Gatsby film.

After they both moved to Sydney in their teens to live out their showbiz dreams, the duo last year returned to Bernardini's home city of Perth to teach at the Australian Performing Arts Network, which recently became the first WA tertiary institution to offer a Certificate IV in performing arts, majoring in commercial dance.

Bernardini told AAA she was motivated to move into the realm of teaching because the opportunity to study dance at that level in WA just wasn't available when she was younger.

"I think if you can train while being around your family and support network, that's really great," the 24-year-old said.

"I never had that because I moved over to Sydney when I was 18 because there was nothing here. Being able to go home to your family when you have had a long day of dancing is important."

Papa, 26, said helping the students, who he calls "the future of performing arts", was more rewarding than his previous work because it allowed him to be more of an artist.

"It's nice to pass that on and get on the other side and start creating and teaching," he explained.

"I almost feel like I am more creative when I am teaching because it gives you free rein."

But aside from dancing technique and choreography, the *Joondanna * couple have been using their experience in the entertainment industry to pass on valuable career advice to the APAN students, from how to get an agent to audition tips and professional presentation.

Bernardini said WA had a history of producing top dancers and there was no reason performers from Perth could not succeed on an international level.

"You've just got to be active from early on because your time in the career isn't as long as that of a doctor," she said.

"That's what we try to instil in the kids all the time - that if they want it, they have to do it now."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West