· By Rosie O'Donnell
Leo Muse; Daisy Sonter-Kelso
Can you tell us about your cultural upbringing?
I grew up in a small country town in inland northern NSW, called Inverell. I lived on a hobby farm, we had cows, peacocks and a beautiful gully and old train track running through our property. I spent my mornings and afternoons at the local dance studio practising, practising, practising to one day reach my dreams of becoming a professional dancer.
What does being a Leo sun mean to you?
My mission in life is to radiate a sense of self. It is imperative to me to be who I really am, in a big way! My favourite thing to do is express my quirky personality, laugh and go on adventures. I am a bit of an extrovert and don’t mind a little bit of attention. As a performer I would thrive off of this. “I want bums on seats”. I am an extremely loyal person and would go to extreme lengths to keep my loved ones safe and happy. I am such a Leo!
How do you integrate astrology into everyday life?
I usually blame anything I do on being a Leo. Emotions, attention, bold, maybe sometimes unthought out action. It’s all because I can, because I’m Leo.
By way of introduction, can you give us a little summary into the real you?
I am an extremely passionate person, everything I do seems to be all or nothing. I love hard and am not afraid of taking risks. My whole life has been putting myself out of my comfort zone and learning to swim. After living abroad in the dance/ performance world for so long I feel like a bit of an outsider in everyday situations. As much as I love to socialise I am a big fan of my own company and love nothing more than to lay in the park with my dog and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. I do not need money or fancy things, I just love genuine connections with people, laughter and spontaneous adventures.
What are the passions that light you up?
Love - I love love. It is my favourite thing in this world and I make sure everything I do is from a place of love.
Travel - I live to travel and see new places! I love to experience new and exciting cultures. I was lucky enough to travel to India at the beginning of this year just before all the restrictions. A trip of a lifetime! I am so lucky!
Movement - I am addicted to pushing my body to the limit physically and that comes out in my dance training where I put a big emphasis on strength and flexibility. I also feel so alive when I move and dance, whether that is daggy dance on the dance floor, and trust me I’m so daggy! Or, in front of an audience on the Lyra, moving my body is my favourite thing to do to feel good!
Can you tell us about your journey into Lyra and where it's taking you next?
I am from the country, but far from a country gal. I moved to Brisbane once finishing school to study full time dance. I trained really hard and started to audition for overseas contracts. I found myself on a cruise ship in Asia for a few years dancing in their production shows. I ended up in Europe performing as a cabaret dancer in a Speigltent and dinner shows. From there, I went to the Netherlands to join the circus, I was working with a French magician in his illusions, disappearing, being levitated, cut in half. It was a crazy world I’d been introduced to. It was there I developed my love for the Lyra apparatus and I came home to Australia and developed and aerial acrobatics act. It was a huge transition from dance to aerial and a lot of hard work. I now have my own solo act performed on the lyra. The lyra is a metal ring suspended from the ceiling where I spin, hang and contort myself around. I love to perform in amazing settings in Brisbane and interstate. I can’t wait for venues to be back up and running to start entertaining people again!
What have been some of the struggles and the triumphs?
It was really hard to be away from friends and family for a long time whilst performing overseas. I missed many important events and felt really disconnected by the time I got back. Normality was not something I was used to, so I had to retrain myself to live in the everyday world which is very different from a cruise ship with a cast of dancers from all over the world. It sometimes feels like I was an outsider in both settings of home and away, I still feel like that sometimes. I have been so lucky to travel to so many places for work though, I got to see some amazing countries and be immersed in their cultures.
Why Lyra? Why do you love it so much?
I love Lyra because it is a step up from dance. I can use my background in movement and flexibility, rhythm and performing but I have increased the risk, had to train that much harder for results and I get a kick out of being off the ground and upside down.
It takes courage to perform creatively in front of an audience. Can you tell us what pushes you to do this?
I honestly feel at home. I love the feeling of letting out my alter ego. I have many insecurities and do feel nervous sometimes but when I get on stage everything fades away, I become someone else. I ooze confidence and quirk and I love to make people feel something. The more you do it the easier it gets and then one time you will have so much fun, it’s like a drug that you want more of!
What advice would you give to others with dreams of creativity or performance?
There is nothing more satisfying than doing what you love every day. Find a way for it to make you some money but find the balance so you don’t lose your passion for it. My mum always said to me there’s no room at the top for shy people, and well, I found that to be very true. We must sell ourselves. It may feel unnatural to you, but no one else is going to do it for you.
How do you stay motivated and inspired?
I go through waves of training a lot and then sometimes I won’t train for a couple of weeks. I find music and setting the best way to keep inspired. If I’m in a creative slump, I will try to put on a new music genre and create movement to that. Cross training is great too with a yoga or Pilates class. There’s plenty of ways to keep working towards my act without always being on the hoop.
What dreams are you chasing next?
I am hoping to create a burlesque Lyra act to perform around Australia when everything settles down. I love to incorporate dance and cabaret into my act and I am developing a whole new character to reveal to audiences when the time is right.
Tell us about you love of wine, and where it first began?
While living in Germany wine became a part of my everyday life! We would finish our show for the evening in the Speigltent and always wind down with a wine at the bar after the show. It was the highlight of our days and you always learn more about someone with a wine in hand. After returning home I have explored a lot more types of wines and really enjoy matching wines with my cooking.
What advice would you give to a younger you?
I would tell them that dance is a short career and it might be good to have a few back up plans! I would also let them know to always have a few bottles of wine in the cupboard, you always need more!
What is something we would be surprised to know about you?
I was Kanye Wests backup dancer in 2012!
Favourite wine bar or spot around Brisbane?
I love Mr Chester Wine Bar in Fortitude Valley. It’s a really cosy atmosphere and they have some amazing wines. The staff are really knowledgeable too. They do fresh pasta that is to die for! You will leave feeling extremely happy!!