We love this time of year when our Instagram feed turns to all things Halloween. When we were scrolling recently and stopped in our tracks when we came across dancer Talissa Bavaresco’s time lapse videos of how she gets ready for her performance in Unleashed! Of course we wanted to know all about her experience in the show. Unleashed! is a live action show featuring cirque-style feats, dance and acrobatics at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson during Fright Fest which is held every weekend from September 13 through November 3.
We were thrilled when she was as excited to share her experiences with the show as we were to hear about them. The artists who apply her makeup are Angela Malinowski (IGs: @angela_malinowski @beetlejusx3) and Andreaolivia Kovalik (IGs: @andreaolivia and @andreaoliviaart). Andreaolivia does cool UV makeup. They do amazing work, as you can see in the videos and photos.
When she is not thrilling audiences at Great Adventure, takes off the make-up and fright wig, and hangs up the costume, she is hard at work as artistic director at BAVA Dance Company or at her own photography company.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Talissa’s Interview follows:
My name is Talissa Bavaresco and I was born and raised in Cascavel, PR – Brazil. I have been living in NYC for almost 6 years working as a professional dancer and choreographer.
How did you get started dancing?
I started dancing at 2.5 years old in Brazil. I had only done classical ballet and lyrical jazz until I was 17 years old. I was then accepted to the Joffrey Ballet School Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program in New York City. I took the leap to the Big City for 6 months and was a awarded a full scholarship to continue my studies at Joffrey. Four years later I was the first Brazilian to graduate from the Jazz and Contemporary Program at the Joffrey Ballet School.
While at Joffrey I was exposed to all styles of dance including contemporary, theater and street styles. I started auditioning and working a few gigs. My favorite ones were performing at Panorama Music Festival at TheLAB in 2017 and 2018, performing with Grammy award winner artist Kimbra at the Park Avenue Armory, and being a featured dancer at Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ music video for his hit “So Close”.
I also started working as a freelance choreographer since the fall of 2017. My choreography works are contemporary and modern based, and they have been featured at the Dumbo Dance Festival, the New York Jazz Choreography Project and many more. In the summer of 2019 I was asked to be one of the ‘up and coming’ contemporary dance companies at the Bryant Park Contemporary Dance Festival, so that was when I launched my own dance company: BAVA Dance (Bold Alluring Virtuous Artists).
What is your favorite kind of dance?
I love the commercial dance world, so as a performing dancer I love working with hip hop and street styles. My absolute favorite styles are Waackin and Vogue. As a choreographer I like to work in the concert dance world, so my works are contemporary with a heavy modern and classical ballet influence. As a dance teacher, I teach all styles and all age ranges and levels, but my favorite class to teach is jazz because there is so much technique in it, but there isn’t necessarily so much pressure about it like a Graham technique class per say. In jazz class we can have a lot of fun and bring a lot of style into it, while working on our high legs and turns.
You also have a photography IG account. How long have you been doing photography?
I do! I got a camera for Christmas maybe 2 or 3 years back and as a hobby I started photographing all of my dancer friends. I haven’t had too much time to focus on my dance photography lately, but I have plans on taking online photography courses next year and expand my dance photography!
How was the audition process for the Great Adventure show?
This is a good story. So this is the third year that Shade Entertainment brings the circus show ‘Unleashed’ to Six Flags Great Adventure in NJ. On their first year, I had three friends in the dance cast. I came to see the show and fell in love with it! I had always had interest in the cirque world as a dancer but had never been exposed to it. The year after I had one other friend in the cast as well and I came to see show again. Last year I was in the process of applying for my Performing Artist Work Visa, and I remember being in the audience of Unleashed in the Showcase Theater and thinking to myself ‘If I get my visa, I am going to be in this show next year. I don’t know how, but I am gonna make it happen!’.
I got my Artist Visa in June this year and so I was ready to make my moves. Shade Entertainment doesn’t have auditions, but last year they had come to see the Dead Man’s Party auditions for Six Flags Great Adventure, our neighboring show! So what I decided to do was email the choreographer from the show last year (since I was able to get his email contact off of Instagram) and tell him I had seen and loved the show and was interested in joining the cast this year. I sent my headshot, dance shot, resume, reel and website link, and told him I was going to be attending the Dead Man’s Party audition in July. No one from Shade Entertainment had been able to attend the audition this year, but they knew I had gone and that the audition had been filmed. I went through to the last round of the callbacks and then got cut at the very end. I was quite upset but I knew my hopes weren’t gone because my main goal was still to book Unleashed, although I would have loved to be cast for Dead Man’s Party just as much.
The day after the audition I emailed the choreographer once again telling him how far I went in the audition and what my audition number was in case they had access to the audition videos.He forwarded all of my information to the owner of Shade Entertainment, and a week later I got an email being offered a position in the show! It was surreal. It felt amazing to set a goal a year in advance and find my way to make it happen for myself.
Is this your first time dancing at this annual event?
Yes it is! But I hope to continue performing with Shade Entertainment at Six Flags across America for the years to come!
How long does it take to apply all the makeup and costuming?
Make up takes about 15-20 minutes. Six Flags has an amazing crew of make up artists that they bring for Fright Fest. They are insanely talented and kind. They do all of the performers make ups as well as all of the make up for the park ghouls! They work so hard and are some of the most fantastic people I have ever met!
In the show I have four different outfits I change into, each with it’s own 4-6 pieces and accessories. We don’t have much time to change during the show, so we have a quick change area backstage where we usually have to change from a complete costume to the next in one to two minutes only.
Is there something inside you that you need to bring out to get into the character in the show?
It is funny because I absolutely hate scary things. I can’t watch horror movies, and I also can’t go on high intensity rides like roller coaster, so it’s funny to me that I wanted this job so badly but can’t enjoy all the perks of it!
But this show is absolutely amazing and fantastic and I love being on that stage and being part of Unleashed. I am a scary clown in the show. I usually spend 10 minutes right before the show starts warming up and concentrating to get into character. Once our show intro music starts I get in full character to make sure I scare as many people I can in the audience when I come out, and carry on the spooky vibes throughout the entire show.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do?
Between dancing, teaching dance, choreographing, running my own company and doing my other admin work and side hustle jobs, I don’t get too much time off honestly. I commute a lot between NYC, New Jersey and Long Island for work, and have been working 7 days a week since August. It has been great, but on my time off I am either sleeping or cooking and eating! I do love drawing and going to the park or the beach when I can! Specially to Long Beach Island! It is one of my favorite places on earth and made me fall in love with Jersey!
Instagram: @Talissabsco and @Talissaphotography
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