At the young age of 17, Pearl Calleja left Malta to pursue her dreams of dancing professionally in the city of Rome. 

Last September I left Malta to pursue my dream. Throughout the years I have developed a love for dance and my aim is to become a professional dancer. Around a year ago I successfully auditioned to the Professional Program at Dance Arts Faculty (DAF) in Rome. The school offers professional training in contemporary dance and hosts numerous guest choreographers and artists from around the world throughout the year. 

From a young age, I always wanted to dance. I started my first dance classes at the age of 5. This helped me develop a sense of discipline and commitment towards my ambition of achieving higher standards in my dance performances. As a young girl, I used to gallop down the street, improvise to a piece of music on the radio and put on dance shows for the whole family. 

My heart always belonged to dance. The love for dance has and will always be inside of me. I owe my love for dance to my teacher, Marisha Bonnici and to Seed Dance Studios, a school which has always pushed me to reach my full potential and who gave me a lot of exposure both locally and international. It is thanks to Seed Dance Studios and my family’s total support that this dream has been made possible.

Living in Rome has come with its challenges. Initially, the biggest hurdles were the language barrier and living alone. However, I believe that this experience has made me grow as a person; it has made me much stronger and more independent. Since I have now settled down, I started exploring Rome and realised what a beautiful city it is. I’m really enjoying it.

I now have a very demanding schedule. A day at Dance Arts Faculty usually consists of lessons between 9am and 4pm. We start off every day with classical ballet and then move on to various contemporary classes as well as yoga, drama and strengthening classes. When we have a guest artist choreographing for us, we rehearse six hours a day, seven days a week, for weeks. 

My advice would be to never give up, to always follow your dreams no matter how big they seem and to do whatever you do with love and passion. 

Moving to Rome meant I had to leave all my friends and family behind. I do miss them tremendously however I am so grateful for this experience; at the end of the day this was my life-long dream which I am living at the age of 17. I knew immediately that nothing was going to stop me and that the positives outweighed the negatives. 

Dance is my way to connect, reach and inspire people. Through dance, I can express my feelings without saying a word. At present, I am determined to continue working hard here in Italy and eventually get accepted into a contemporary company in the future.

Are you a Maltese person living abroad? Contact malteseabroad@timesofmalta.com

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