The dancer and the dance | Jacqui Losco

Talented and determined, Jacqui Losco has created a name for herself in every industry she’s been a part of. Here, IGGY FENECH discovers how her next big break will see her dancing alongside artists from the world-famous Royal Ballet in the highly-anticipated, full-length ballet by the Brigitte Gauci Borda School of Dance, ‘The Sleeping Beauty’

24 November 2015, 7:57am
Jacqui Losco has been pursuing dance for the past 11 years
Jacqui Losco has been pursuing dance for the past 11 years
“I started dancing ballet when I was seven years old, and I have never looked back!” Jacqui answers when I enquire about her background in the field. I, like many others, know Jacqui as a Supernova Model; one who’s graced the front cover of a number of local magazines and even walked for the quintessentially-Maltese designers, Charles&Ron, among others.

“My sister, Lisa, had been dancing from a very young age, and she really enjoyed going to class,” she explains. “So, when I was old enough to ask, I decided to try it out.”

Starting lessons with the celebrated dance teacher Brigitte Gauci Borda, Jacqui’s first role was in Coppelia at the Manoel Theatre some 11 years ago. Her next big performance was at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, for the 20th Anniversary show for the Brigitte Gauci Borda School of Dance.

“Swan Lake was such a big thing for the School,” she reminisces. “I will never forget how hard we all trained – from the beginning of July till December – but it was definitely worth it, as I still consider it one of the best productions I’ve ever been in.”

The show was a complete success, and saw a cast of 200 students from the School perform with Principal Dancers Chika Temma from Japan and Emil Faski from Russia.

Of course, full-length ballets in Malta are quite a rarity, and success is not only defined by the tickets sold, but also by their cultural impact and educational value for the students. In fact, Jacqui, along with her peers, got the opportunity to work with international choreographers Terence Etheridge and Sianne Stasberg on the production – an experience usually reserved for those studying at leading colleges abroad.

What many may not realise, however, is that Brigitte’s School is achieving that status, with foreign, leading ballerinas and choreographers flying to Malta to expand on her students’ education. Among these, was First Artist of The Royal Ballet Erico Montes, who is also choreographing the School’s 25th Anniversary, The Sleeping Beauty.

“Coincidentally, I met Erico the day before rehearsals started, on an Air Malta flight,” says Jacqui, who works for the national airline as a stewardess. “I was so surprised to see him at the School the next day, and even more surprised that he actually remembered me!

“He’s a fantastic teacher,” she continues, “and working with him has definitely been a once-in-a-lifetime experience… Classes have been challenging, but he pays so much attention to each and every one of us that our techniques and stage presence have improved manifold. It’s been a real honour to be his student!”

Erico, along with Claire Calvert, a Soloist from the Royal Ballet, will be performing the lead roles in the timeless fairytale, which is being choreographed to the music of the legendary Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – a fitting tribute as the world commemorates his 175th birthday.

Jacqui will be taking part in both acts of the ballet: first as the soloist in the Garland Waltz and then as the Jewel Fairy. “I’m sure many people will recognise the Garland music instantly thanks to Disney’s version of the fairytale,” she says. “And I’m quite looking forward to seeing people’s reaction to the stage – it’s so full of colour, life and movement!”

Given past editions of Brigitte Gauci Borda’s ballets – including the über-successful The Nutcracker – there is very little doubt that The Sleeping Beauty will be another standout event on the local cultural scene.

“I have been studying ballet with Ms Brigitte for the past 14 years, and the School has been getting bigger and bigger,” Jacqui says. “Not just from a humble home in Sliema to a grand one in the same location, but also in the number of students enrolling every year and the quality of the School’s productions.

“Ms Brigitte, along with the school’s other teachers, like Ms Lynne [Salamone Reynaud] and Ms Claudia [Preca], has pushed us to do our best and to persevere. Ballet is not an easy discipline, but they have really taught us to express our emotion through dance, and to reach levels we didn’t know we could. That, coupled with the two headlining dancers from the iconic Royal Ballet should make this show a fantastic one.”

But what happens when the ballet slippers are taken off and when Jacqui’s not modeling, I ask? Well, turns out that her life out of the spotlight is just as busy.

“I have recently graduated from the University of Malta in Tourism Studies, and I work with Air Malta at the moment. As for the future, the plan is to continue my studies in the touristic sector, as I believe Malta has the potential to keep flourishing in this industry.

“Some have asked me if I will ever pursue a modelling career abroad, and the answer there is no,” she continues. “For starters, I’m only 5’6, which means I’m too short, anyway. But I do enjoy it, particularly since fashion and modelling are a performance in their own way, and I’m attracted to anything that involves the arts.

“In fact, I would like to encourage young girls and boys to immerse themselves in the arts, be it ballet, singing, drama, drawing, music, dance… whatever! There is so much one can learn from these, and you will see the world in a completely different light,” she concludes.

The Sleeping Beauty by the Brigitte Gauci Borda School of Dance will take place at the historical Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta on December 5 at 19:30 and on December 6 at 16:00. Tickets are available from the Booking Office at the Mediterranean Conference Centre and online from www.mcc.com.mt