Mandy Demetriou is originally from Zimbabwe and has worked as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and performer in a wide variety of styles and methods. Her passion is dance and movement and she works with dancers, actors, singers and musicians hoping to inspire them with a little bit of the delight she has found from working in this field.
Mandy started to teach after a very serious spinal injury forced her performing career to end. She spent three years gaining knowledge in many diverse areas such as Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Sports Therapy Massage, Acupressure and a study of Anatomy and Physiology. These disciplines, along with her dance training, give her a unique understanding of the body and how it works both when it is well and injured.
She was teaching dance, giving courses in Historical Dance and developing her own method of work to release stress and correct alignment when she was given the position of Movement Coach at TheNational Opera Studio then under the directorship of Richard Van Allan CBE. Anna Sweeny, then Head of Movement at the Opera Studio and about to go to New Zealand, was responsible for making sure Mandy was able to continue this wonderful work in this very specialised area. Sheila Barlow was also working at the National Opera Studio and was kind enough to mentor her and enlighten her on the work of Delsartre.
From this beginning in 1987, Mandy has continued to work with singers and has been responsible for continuing and developing her movement work. It includes body awareness, muscular assessment, developing and strengthening the body, characterization, stagecraft and a knowledge of period movement. Her work tries to instil in singers an ability to express thoughts and feelings in their bodies without having to compromise their vocal technique. This work has continued at the National Opera Studio under the directorship of Richard Van Allan, Donald Maxwell and currently Kathryn Harris.
She has also gone on to work at the Royal Academy of Music coaching movement on their opera course and she works regularly at the Royal Opera House with the JPYA Programme. She continues to update her knowledge and is always developing and refining her work with singers.
She also works as a freelance choreographer and as movement coach at The Royal Academy of Music, The National Opera Studio and The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House. She has just done some work at the Royal Opera House for the Young Artists concert and goes on to work on a production of ‘The Rake’s Progress’ for BYO. She also sits on the Artistic committee for BYO.
She has been fortunate enough to have had as mentors both Sheila Barlow and Anna Sweeny who have encouraged her to take their inspiration and find her own style of work. Richard Van Allan, John Copley, Geraldine Stephenson, Jean Hart and Lisa Ullman have all had a strong influence on her work. This gives her a unique pedigree when it comes to working with young singers and dancers. Her work has also been informed by the techniques of Classical Ballet, Jazz Dance – Matt Mattox style , Laban Technique, Alexander Technique, Pilates, Ballroom Dance, Flamenco. Feldenkrais technique, yoga and many other styles of dance and movement based techniques. Her work in movement for singers is, however, a specialist area in which she has been particularly interested as it requires a deep understanding of the voice, the singer and what they need to enable them to sing and also show emotions and thoughts in their movement.