Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Award-winning producer's inspiring home town visit

Former district resident and Dance Academy television producer Joanna Werner was in Echuca on the weekend.

IVY WISE March 27, 2014 4:03am

Jacqui Kornmann (left) and former Echuca resident Joanna Werner outside their i-dance studio.

Former district resident and award-winning television producer of Dance Academy Joanna Werner encouraged Echuca’s aspiring dancers to follow their dreams when she visited her home town at the weekend.

Miss Werner, the daughter of Echuca’s Bev and Jeff Werner, opened the new i-dance studio in High St on Saturday night.

‘‘Jacqui (Kornmanni-dance principal) was one of my early ballet teachers,’’ Miss Werner said.

‘‘It was really lovely to see the performance that the students did.

‘‘It was such a good showcase of talent.

‘‘Coming home reminded me of the time I spent doing ballet.

‘‘It was a huge part of my life and I have such fond memories.

‘‘Ballet gave me so many skills.’’

The Emmy award-nominated, AFI and Logie award-winning producer encouraged others to continue with their dancing and advised them to work hard if they wanted to make a career out of dance or work in the film industry.

‘‘Enthusiasm, dedication and energy is important,’’ she said.

‘‘I benefited from going to university, which introduced me to filmmaking.’’

The former Echuca High School student worked with the Rock Eisteddfod Challenge in Sydney for a year before completing a Bachelor of Media Studies at RMIT.

She established Werner Film Productions in 2008 after many years producing live action children and teen drama series which have screened around the world.

The acclaimed teen drama Dance Academy first screened in June 2010 in Australia and can now be seen in more than 130 countries.

The 35-year-old said doing ballet lessons in Echuca since she was four and aspirations of becoming a ballerina inspired her to create Dance Academy, which is now in its third series, on ABC3.

‘‘The show tapped into something that so many people are interested in,’’ she said.

‘‘Dance is so popular now and I created characters that were easy to follow.’’

Miss Werner’s next project is a political thriller series aimed at adult audiences.

‘‘It’s a very different type of story and will involve filming in Canberra in the last six months of the year,’’ she said.

Miss Werner said she loved her job and working with talented people.

‘‘I work long hours, but it’s incredibly rewarding,’’ she said.

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