Charmene Yap joined the Sydney Dance Company handpicked by the company's then-newly appointed Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela after a private audition. That was in 2010 and six years later, she's now an award-winning dancer with over 30 performances with the Company under her belt. A lot of achievements for someone who "did not have any inclination to be a dancer."
"I started ballet at seven years old, just like any little girl," says Charmene. "I continued dancing until Year 12 then discovered a dance program at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts where I thought I'd give it a year, but ended up graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance."
Clearly it's not as fortuitous as it sounds as Charmene obviously has a passion for her work. "Over the years, I've come to really love the physicality of dance and personally, think I can express myself better through my body rather than words," she admits. "I have also come to enjoy performing and engaging an audience...and with contemporary dance, there's a lot of freedom on how I can do this."
The Sydney Dance Company is set to open its 2016 season and Charmene is currently rehearsing for the world premiere of Lux Tenebris, an original piece created by Rafael Bonachela. "My day starts off around 8:30-9am, just like everyone else," she laughs. "We start with a class, either yoga, ballet or contemporary dance then on to rehearsals until lunch, and then more rehearsals until about 6pm. Dancing is very exhausting, both physically and mentally, and by the end of the day, you're just totally spent...but that's part of the reason why I love it."
Charmene also plays a starring role in the David Jones' A/W 2016 campaign in where the dancers perform alongside ambassadors Jessica Gomes and Montana Cox, and international supermodel Catherine McNeil."It was such an awesome experience and it was really interesting figuring out how to bring movement and energy to the shoot. Models and dancers move in different ways and it was fascinating to see it all come together in such a beautifully shot campaign."
Watch Charmene perform in Sydney Dance Company's Countermove, opening at the Roslyn Packer Theatre from 26 February. Find out more at sydneydancecompany.com/productions/countermove.
Main image: Charmene Yap photographed by Ben Symons.