Dancer Gianna Gi moves in an otherworldly way, with dance moves you could only dream of pulling off. The young Australian moved to London as a teen to pursue her passion for dance… and it paid off. Her credits include dancing for FKA Twigs and M.I.A and being the first Australian to be a finalist in the world’s largest international street dance competition Juste Debout at just 18 years of age. A believer that ‘movement is art’, Gianna’s star continues to rise. Read on to discover more about this talented young creative.
You’ve made a big impact in the dance community, when did you first know you wanted to dance?
I started dancing when I was 5, quite early really. When I was 8 I decided I wanted to be a dancer and performer, so since then I’ve been training every day.
I grew up in a really small suburb, and I was at a small local dance school learning Ballet and contemporary dance. Interestingly, my parents never pushed me to dance, I really wanted to dance on my own from a young age. It also started from watching a lot of music videos, I’d binge watch VH1 every Saturday morning.
What was the decision behind moving from Australia to Europe?
Career-wise, it was a good decision. London has a lot of possibilities and potential; Australia didn’t have what I was interested in at the time. I was 18 when I left and I didn’t know anyone in London, I didn’t know any dancers, it was tough, but it was also great because I had to do everything myself and take a lot of risks.
I started looking for places to dance straight away – the first class I went to was a House class to meet other freestylers and I met a guy called Frankie J. He told me all the local spots, like [now, sadly closed – editor’s note] Madame Jojo’s, and I’d go and meet loads of people at events.
You have a totally unique style of movement; how would you describe your style of dance?
Hip hop, house, Voguing, popping, experimental dance – it’s definitely a mix of all of that. My dance style is also influenced by Next Level Squad and the flexers from Brooklyn.
I’ve always had a feeling that my style could be taken somewhere else. I feel like people are always keeping within the rules. It’s so great to learn old styles because you’re learning from people who pushed or who did something different from the ‘70s or ‘80s. But it’s also up to us to do something different.
Who or what inspires your dance style?
There are so many cool people out there that you don’t hear about. I’m so lucky to have travelled and be on jobs where people have taken the time to talk to me and even teach me and they all really inspire me.
Everyday people going to raves and parties and seeing how they dance, people having fun. The most precious thing to me is still just going to training in car parks or on the street. To me, that’s the most fun part. I used to train with a B Boy crew in a train station, and that was definitely the most fun.
What does dance mean to you?
I think it’s entirely spiritual, even before I knew what spirituality meant to me. I think it’s like a medium – I feel like it made things happen for me that shouldn’t have happened in my life all through dancing.
You’ve danced for FKA Twigs, M.I.A and choreographer Ryan Heffington – what advice would you give to up-and-coming dancers who want to work professionally?
Be careful of the advice you take. If I followed the advice of other people I don’t think I would be where I am. A lot of times people have good intentions behind what they say, but a lot of the time as well people say things aren’t possible.
Who would be your dream artist to work with?
I’d love to dance or choreograph, or both, for Bjork. She just speaks to me. There’s also a company in Japan called Sankai Juku that I’d love to work with or learn from. They do a style of dance called Butoh, which I studied little – I’d love to learn more.
Can you tell us about your dance collective, JILTD?
JILTD came about because I saw a need within the industry for a space for people who wanted to do things differently to come together and flourish. It’s very hard being on your own and trying to do your own thing and push boundaries. It’s only natural things should grow and I feel like me and my friends are that evolution. I always wanted to do it and I couldn’t see anyone else doing it, it’s literally been one of the best things I’ve done.
How would you describe your style?
I’m very inspired by the Harajuku girls in Japan; I’d always find online Japanese stores that I could never afford and stalk them. I’m definitely inspired by Japanese manga and anime. I’ve decided I want to be my own anime character.
How do DM’s fit into your style?
The shoes I wore for the Worn Different campaign are absolutely amazing, and I would definitely wear them again.
What makes you DIFFERENT?
I feel like everything that’s happened to me has gotten me to where I am. I think that what makes me different is having something unique to offer.