Living the Italian Dream: Part II – How it all began
Our local dancers are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to see Luca & Loraine perform live in Vancouver! The fact that they are willing to come to our small city and work with our Vancouver dancers at all is amazing enough. Luca & Loraine extremely busy, training the top dancers in the world, including and not limited to: Professional finalists, Victor Fung & Anna Mikhed, Amateur finalists, Marat Gimaev & Alina Basiouk, and even a couple of our local visiting professionals, Erminio Stefano & Luane Conte.I remember first trying to describe to Luca where we were from. The only way we could think of was to say that it is near Alaska. And of course, immediately, he started to picture snowy banks, icebergs and igloos! From then on, he would always joke about how we must be riding our sled dogs to and from the studio at home. (Little does he know that I am trying to arrange a sled dog to pick him up from the airport when he and Loraine come to Vancouver in August! Hee, hee!)
Sometimes I wonder in amazement, how Joel and I even got to have two such amazing people as Luca & Loraine in our lives… I always wonder how if one little thing had happened differently along the way, perhaps we would never have met them and our students would not have had the opportunity to benefit from their teaching. My life definitely wouldn’t have been the same, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Sliding Doors’ you’ll know what I’m talking about. The movie begins by showing the life of a happy young couple; and then all of sudden branches out into two separate scenarios of how the story could unfold with just one little twist. Sometimes the little twist is a conscious decision on your part that could change your life forever; and sometimes it’s a chance event that is totally out of your control. In a lot of these movies like Sliding Doors and some of the more recent movies I’ve seen, like ‘Bella’ or ‘Benjamin Button’, a major life changing event (like a car accident) occurred that was due to a sequence of chance events that could have gone either way.For us, I would say that our Italian dream began after placing 2nd at the Canadian Championships. Being one of the top 2 couples in the country meant that we qualified to dance at the World Championships in Austria later that year. Since we were going to be traveling to Europe anyway, we thought we might as well take advantage of the situation and do some training on the other side of the world. We decided to take the plunge and move to England for a 6 month stint to prepare ourselves for the Worlds and of course to further improve our dancing.
Since we were in London, we thought that it would be a great opportunity to take a side trip to Italy if we could. And for us, there was no choice as to who we wanted to work with. While we were in Vancouver, we practically lived on the ‘Superstars’ videos, which are filmed from an annual show in Japan of all the top Professional dancers in the world. We watched the Superstars video religiously every year, and our favourite couple by far was Luca & Loraine Baricchi. We would watch them over and over again, rewinding and playing and replaying them in slow motion. Somehow, they never ceased to amaze us! (Here’s one of my favourites from Youtube.)
We didn’t even know if they would have time in their diaries for us, let alone want to train a couple of dancers from Canada, but we decided to try our luck and send them an email anyway. Fortunately for us, they were willing to take us on! From our first trip to Italy, stepping into the most stunning studio that we had ever been to, and meeting the two people whose dancing inspired us to no end, we were hooked!
During that next year, when our money had run out and we had to return from London to Vancouver, we took several trips back to Italy to study with Luca & Loraine. It was tough though, because each time, we would only stay there for 1-2 weeks, and then have to train on our own for the rest of the year. Things would always gel in Italy, but 1 month later, while practicing on our own at the Grand Ballroom, we struggled to reproduce the same quality of dancing we had managed to create in front of Luca & Loraine.
One bright and sunny morning at Studio Danze Baricchi, we were sitting around the studio, waiting for our lesson to begin, while Luca had his morning coffee. We talked about how difficult it was to maintain consistency in our dancing, when we only saw him & Loraine for a total of 8-10 weeks per year, if we were lucky. He sat there in silence for awhile (true Luca-style), with a look of understanding. He then suggested, “Well, why don’t you move here?”
Honestly, I think at that point, Joel and I both almost fell off of our chairs! We tried to contain our excitement and carry on as normally as we could. Being the very practical person that I am, however, I couldn’t see how it would be feasible at all. But when he said that he was looking for some help in the studio and at home, I started to see the possibilities… It took everything I had to stop myself from shouting out, “YES! YES! We’ll do it!” Instead, both Joel and I put on our game face and said calmly, “We’ll think about it.”
After the lesson, Joel and I pretty much decided (if not during the 2 seconds after Luca had suggested it) that we were going to move to Italy and train full-time with him & Loraine. It was simply the logistics that had to be sorted out. Thankfully, both of our sets of parents were very supportive of our dancing, and we were pretty sure they would be on board.
And that’s how it began… If we had not qualified for the World’s, we may not have considered moving to London, and may not have taken the trip to Italy to work with Luca & Loraine; and had Luca & Loraine not been looking for help at the time, and had not recognized our need for more consistent training, Luca may not have suggested us to move there. Some people will say it’s luck (being at the right place at the right time) and others will say it’s fate or destiny. Who knows? Perhaps if the series of events had happened differently, life would still have turned out the same, just via some other route. Well, either way, by fate or by circumstance, I’m thankful that things turned out the way they have, and that I have such amazing people in my life.