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Yarra Ileto

Yarra Ileto

MA Arts Pedagogy and Practice
2019 — 2020

Yarra Ileto graduated with a BA First Class Honours Degree in Performing Arts (Dance) at LASALLE College of the Arts. Upon graduating, Yarra joined T.H.E Dance Company as one of the full-time founding members. She has performed in all the company’s works from 2008 to January 2015 touring extensively in Asia and Europe. She has also choreographed works for T.H.E Main Company, T.H.E Second Company and several local universities and colleges. Yarra is a professional freelance dance artist, choreographer, lecturer and artistic director of a university dance group. In 2017, she received the Young Artist Award, Singapore's highest honour for young people in the arts. She now holds an MA in Arts Pedagogy and Practice from Goldsmiths, University of London.


Yarra's research interests lie in creating interdisciplinary, inter-generational dance theatre works that draw inspiration from biographical content and embodied knowledge. The pedagogical implications of working with biography build social semiotic modes of meaning-making and interpretation. This enriches the creative environment through task-based person-centric methods of learning and personal development. The choreographic classroom has many opportunities to bridge, expand and deepen knowledge introspectively and purposefully.

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Thesis abstract

Transitional learning: female mid-career artists adulting in contemporary dance

Professional work as a full-time dancer not only exhilarates, but also problematises the entire dance ecosystem if precautionary measures are not met to tackle transitional issues. Subsequently, the inevitable crossroads of the ageing female body in accordance with personal “milestones in life” - marriage and child-bearing, for instance have interjected the trajectory of a career in dance by adding cultural, societal and personal pressures to the precarious nature of the mid-career experience. Amidst the rigour of everyday upkeep and adult responsibility, former dancers are left with the knowledge gained from countless moments spent on stage and in rehearsals. This knowledge can be activated as a lived experience, a way of knowing their craft deeply, where “to know is to transform reality” (Piaget as cited in Overton et al., p.8, 2008). Mid-career artists have the ability to shape the realities of their life with prolonged artistic practice through the cultivated experiences of embodied action in time. And although career transitions are “inescapable: preparation is key” (Jeffri & Throsby, 2015).