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Rochelle de Vries

Rochelle de Vries
Pitty Stories is super excited to introduce you to Rochelle! She is the owner of Eternal Dance Studio in North Hobart. If she had it her way would visit New York every day, but she loves Hobart and the opportunities Tasmania has given her. We have even made a little Pitty Vid for you to watch this time, so read and watch on!
PM: When did you first start dancing or when did you first know you wanted to pursue dancing?
Rochelle: I was five when I first started. I used to watch Janet Jackson on the TV and I used to copy everything and that’s when I was thought, “This is what I want to do.” I’d be praying everyday; “I want to be Janet Jackson’s back-up dancer,” and my dad would always say something like, “Dancing is great but maybe we should leave Janet Jackson alone.” But that’s when it started for me. Obviously growing up in South Africa, things were very different there so pretty much every opportunity we had, we took it. I was very fortunate and blessed to have a lady come and teach us dance in our community. We started with ballet and I really enjoyed that, and from there we just progressed really. Much had changed in the government in South Africa but there was still so much work to be done at the time. Not all white South Africans had the same mindset in regards to colour, so I was blessed to witness that through my dance teacher. She inspired me in many ways. We also got to teach her things which she didn’t have an awareness of being a white South African. It was, like I said, very different then so for her to come into a coloured community and be able to inspire so many people with her gift in my class to the point of me continuing dance was just awesome.
PM: Obviously becoming a professional dancer and instructor takes a lot of hard work, what do you think are the qualities required to be in this industry?
Rochelle: Discipline. Consistency. You have to sacrifice as well, but consistency and focus and determination are what you need in order to survive in this industry. You are always faced with rejection or no you can’t do that, so it takes a lot of hard work but it’s possible.
PM: You started Eternal, has the business changed since you first started?
Rochelle: Oh definitely - so it started more as a hobby because for one, I came to Hobart and it was a different environment for me so I wanted to try and do something that was different to what was happening. I did my research into what was missing or what I felt was missing in the dance industry here, so that’s why at Eternal we have focused on particular genres: hip-hop, urban and contemporary. I feel like we can give more to that. We can use our expertise and do it in a way that isn’t being done anywhere else so it sets us apart really. We can be fluid, we can move out of doing set things, we don’t have to run to a syllabus so I think we are more creative in that aspect.
PM: What is Eternal’s connection with Artgym and how have they helped you?
Rochelle: So our connection with Artgym came because I was training and being trained by Miskad and Eilish. So when they started the gym and their focus on creative fitness, we spoke about throwing in a hip-hop class as part of the fitness in the group classes at the gym. We tried it out and it went off! People really responded to it; it was cross-generational and seeing so many different age groups in one class was really fun. It brought a really nice atmosphere to the gym so now we hold two classes there a week - so both businesses have just gelled.
PM: What new works are you planning to develop at Eternal?
Rochelle: Well we’re collaborating with you guys at Pitbull (more to come…watch that space). Music is probably one of the other things we collaborate on, so for me it’s dance, fashion and music and how we can really branch out and try different things while still sticking to what we’re about. So we’ve created video clips, we’ve worked with other fashion designers and stores, we’ve produced some music videos, and we’ve used our dancers as back-up dancers for other artists or short films. We’re also currently working on a documentary utilising dance as a vehicle, but also having a strong message that later we will take into schools and bring other ways that dance can also do so much for the community.
PM: Tell us a little bit more about the Eternal Dance clothing line?
Rochelle: Yes! So we are starting a clothing line that is unisex also based on streetwear, but making it so that even if you’re not a dancer you can wear it. It’s not just for dancers; it’s going to be a crossover. We want you to be able to wear it to the gym, or if you’re just going out with your friends. It will also have basic pieces that you can work into your everyday wardrobe, so we are going with a certain colour palette and we also want to stick to using natural fabrics, so that it’s breathable and of a high quality.
PM: Can you tell us when that will launch officially?
Rochelle: That will launch in July!
PM: Awesome! If you could bring your students to any city on earth to be inspired, what location would you choose?
Rochelle: Oh, New York City. I knew it! Ha! Definitely – it’s the best city for anyone creative to just go and be injected with New York.
PM: Just as a follow-up, you have lived and visited many different cities and places in your life, what’s your favourite?
Rochelle: I would still say New York! It was an experience for sure, I was almost robbed on the subway for example, but it was still the best experience. I loved it, everything about it.
PM: Now for a little more about you – what was your first job out of school?
Rochelle: It was in a fashion boutique, and how I landed it was just that I went in and spoke to (who I didn’t know at the time was) the owner of the store, and she asked if I wanted to come in for an interview and I just said, “Okay!” So I went in for the interview and got the job! From there, she pretty much trained me up to be a buyer, which I ended up loving. She also taught me about merchandising and styling, so I learnt a great deal of things that I’m still using now.
PM: Do you keep a notebook or journal?
I’m crazy about notes! I love notes. I have sticky notes everywhere. I journal everything even next year already has entries and plans. Whatever inspires me at the time, I write it down.
PM: Do you have a favourite life quote?
Rochelle: Probably something that my grandmother used to say which was, “Don’t talk about it, be about it.”
PM: Oh I love it! What or who inspires you?
Rochelle:  think many people inspire me. I think the first people that come to mind is my family, especially the generations of women that have come before me and have really shown me what it is to work hard and to do something with your life, even if it’s something small. Do it well. I think the other thing that drives me is my faith, what I believe, what I stand for, that is what pushes me forward.
PM: Little bit about Pitty, what are your favourite buys from Pitbull Mansion?
Rochelle: Ooh, my Vege Threads purchases and I love Assembly Label. I like their casual, basic pieces. I always love Dr Denim jeans - they actually changed my life. I think at the moment my Rains jacket is serving me well too - everyone needs a Rains jacket in Tassie as a staple.
PM: Weather: hot or cold?
Rochelle: I think hot just for living life, but winter for fashion.
PM: What’s your favourite place in Tas?
Rochelle: Hobart. Hobart is my favourite place; you have the city and a bit of the wild merged together - Hobart for sure.
PM: Tea or coffee?
Rochelle: Coffee! Do you really need to ask me that? Well not everyone knows how much you love the stuff! Ha! I got so inspired this morning when I saw you carrying an urn, but I got a bit disappointed when I realised there was no coffee in it.
PM: Haha, well there will be soon! Last question, what will the next five or ten years bring for you?
Rochelle: I suppose I want Eternal Dance to continue on, ever-increasing in collaboration with other small businesses but also getting the clothing line to where it needs to be. We’d also like to establish a training hub in the next ten years for people within the performing arts who want to pursue hip-hop, urban and contemporary dance on stage and in shows and all manner of places!


Photography and Video: by Candice Carlin (
© 2017 Pitbull Mansion.  All rights reserved.



Comments on this post (2)

  • Jun 15, 2017

    Wonderful Spirit!! Nice dance moves…and I can so hear your Dad saying that….

    — Bobbie Owens

  • Jun 08, 2017

    What a Gentle Kind and Beautiful yet Natural Soul with a heart filled and flowing with African Passion!!

    — Merle Fynn

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