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SunDance Guest Instructor: Ilara Lopes

Ilara Lopes is a professional dance educator and choreographer based in Brazil, who enjoyed an illustrious performing career in classical ballet. Starting out at the very young age of four, her impressive career spans decades and has taken her all over the world.

As an Examiner of the Royal Academy of Dance since 1995, Ilara has examined in Germany, Canada, Spain, the United States, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore Hong Kong, Central America, South America and Brazil. She has taught courses in several cities in Brazil, two consecutive years at Festival de Dança de Joinville, Ballace in Salvador, Passo de Arte in Indaiatuba and also abroad (Canada, United States, Mexico City and New Zealand).

Ilara has graced SunDance as a featured instructor five times since 2004, and we are elated to welcome her once again to teach this year's intensive dancers a 'Surprise Wednesday' masterclass on July 15.


Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you trained, and your career.

I started my training at the age of four at with Paulo and Maria Zemerov, in São Paulo. They immigrated to Brazil from Russia during the War and trained their pupils following the Vaganova Syllabi. I trained with them until the age of fifteen and became their assistant teacher from a very young age. I continued training under Carla Perotti, learning the Royal Academy of Dance syllabi and completed all Vocational levels as executant up to Solo Seal. As a dancer, my career spanned for many years as a principal at Ballet Evolução, Ballet de Camara de São Paulo and Grupo Uirapuru. I started my own school early on in my career, celebrating 53 years in 2018, before joining Promenade Studio de Dança in a very successful partnership. I prepared and entered students for examinations from the beginning of the RAD’s introduction in Brazil. I became a Vocational Examiner 25 years ago and have been a Graded and Vocational Examiner since 2012.

What first influenced you to begin dancing? When did you realize that you wanted to pursue dance and/or dance education professionally?

My grandmother and mother were Lyrical Opera Singers and I was brought up in a classical musical environment and at the age of four I asked to begin ballet lessons. I had many performance opportunities from a young age and by the time I completed school I knew that I wanted to pursue a life in dance, both as a dancer and as a teacher. My years as assistant to my teachers developed in me a love for sharing my knowledge with others.

Why do you think you gravitated towards ballet/modern/the style of dance you are currently most engaged with?

My training began in classical ballet and I suppose that due to my physical attributes I was encouraged to continue developing into a classical dancer.

What has been a career highlight for you?

As a dancer, my first solo at the age of 7 is a fond memory of that first opportunity to be alone on stage. Later completing my Intermediate to Solo Seal examinations gave me a real sense of achievement. My premiere in the principal role of ‘Giselle’ and my farewell performance in 2017 were also magical moments in my career... During my teaching career, the successes of my students as dancers, teachers and choreographers, as well as seeing the effects of dance in so many lives was always very important to me. Also, becoming an examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance and representing the RAD for so many years has brought me countless experiences and the chance to meet unique, wonderful people.

What is a challenge that you have faced in your dance career and how did you overcome it?

Developing the characters for different roles and maturing as an artist was always a challenge I welcomed and that gave me great satisfaction throughout my career. At the same time, working to overcome technical demands, allowed me to focus on artistry, expressing my feelings and emotions to the audience during performances.

Do you have any advice for young, aspiring dancers?

We will encounter many difficulties, challenges and go through tough moments in our lives. Never give up your dreams, keep your determination, discipline, dedication, work ethics and above all, respect your teachers and peers. Most importantly never lose sight of your love for dance.

WATCH: Ilara and Promenade Estúdio de Dança

(Turn on close captions and change subtitles in settings)

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