Earlier this month, the Jean-Baptiste Group introduced Eurovision fans to the four Sweden-based dancers that will accompany Destiny on stage in Rotterdam. But Maltese dancers aren’t happy, saying they are disappointed that Destiny won’t be accompanied by local dancers.
The Jean-Baptise Group — helmed by Eurovision veteran artistic director Sacha Jean-Baptiste — confirmed that Destiny will be joined at Eurovision 2021 by four dancers: Pauline Eddeborn, Milena Jacuniak, Kim Pastor and Jennifer Pacaanas. The dancers are all based in Stockholm but have different backgrounds.
View this post on Instagram
But this caught the attention of Maltese dance creatives, who are disappointed that local talent has been overlooked. Choreographer Daphne Gatt — who co-choreographed Destiny’s “Je me casse” music video wrote on Facebook, “We were good enough to create the music video, choreograph and perform in it but sad to see that foreign dancers were selected to represent Malta.”
She was also clear that she held no ill will towards Destiny herself, acknowledging that the casting of the dancers was out of Destiny’s control.
Professional dancer Kim Elloole told the Times of Malta that support for local talent was needed in the pandemic era. She said, “I think that, in the current situation, this hit home because at a time when we should be supporting the local agenda, it seems as though we are ready to do so only with words and not by providing concrete and paid work”
Destiny’s team responds
Destiny’s team issued a statement, noting that the team behind Destiny’s entry largely consisted of Maltese talent:
“The team for the Eurovision Song Contest is made up of a Maltese team – hair, make-up, costume design, stylist, vocal coach, dance coach, PR, marketing and management, as well as Sacha Jean-Baptiste and Sony Music.”
They also confirmed that using the four dancers were part and parcel of having Sacha Jean-Baptiste behind the staging. They explained, “The selection of Sacha Jean-Baptiste as artistic director and choreographer meant that her team would accompany our artist on stage.”
No outcry in previous years
It’s also not the first time Malta has used Swedish dance talent for their Eurovision performance.
In 2019 Michela’s “Chameleon” performance was created by “Euphoria” choreographer Ambra Succi and also included four Swedish dancers in the performance. In 2016, Ira Losco was joined on stage by the French dancer Skorpion for “Walk on Water”. Both of these castings were met with little negative reaction in Malta.
While Maltese shows such as the former national final and the X Factor Malta often feature extravagant dance performances that highlight Malta’s talented dancers, these type of displays don’t typically make it to Eurovision. Maltese performers are more likely to perform alone on stage at Eurovision, however more recent dance-focused songs have been matched with dancers.
What do you think? Should delegations use local talent? Or is it OK to outsource? Tell us your thoughts below!