Creativity is our rocket fuel at LDJ, and we’re especially boosted by women whose work is an authentic extension of their passion, love and light — who transform challenges into golden opportunities and who are redefining what it means to be a “creator.”

At the age of six, Teatro alla Scala dancer Denise Gazzo was already manifesting her future. After her first time dancing on stage as a six-year-old, Denise realized that achieving her dream of becoming a professional classical dancer might slip away if she remained enrolled in her local ballet class in Valdagno, a verdant hill town in the north of Italy. This baby ballerina convinced her parents first to let her move to attend dance school in Vicenza, then to travel 90km a day to get her to classes in Castelfranco Veneto, a testament to the powerful determination that fired this raven-haired beauty.

Following all that heart-driven instinct and intuition paid off. At 15-years-old, after a twirl of scholarships and international prizes, Denise was spotted by Accademia del Teatro alla Scala’s director, Frederic Olivieri. The day after receiving her diploma from the Academia Teatro alla Scala, the company invited her on tour. Fast forward to today and Denise now performs as a key member of the Teatro alla Scala corps de ballet, on occasion as a soloist, throwing shapes on the Milanese opera house’s talismanic stage in performances spanning neoclassical, classical and contemporary dance. 

Bust A Groove In Denise’s Edit

“I really like stretching because it frees the body. You feel new every time.” 

Dance is a meditation of sorts. ​​”When I dance I lose track of time,” she says. “There are long moments and very short hours. Days and days of rehearsals but then in a moment you are already on stage and taken by the interpretation you live in a non-real dimension, projected into ancient or modern and in any case surreal atmospheres. It’s nice to immerse yourself in characters that are always different to bring to life on stage.”

When she’s not performing, you’ll find Denise teaching GyroKinesis, a movement method that opens energy pathways and stimulates the nervous system through rhythmic flow and breathing. “GyroKinesis is a discipline that mixes dancing, yoga and martial arts,” she says. “I like it because you can feel freedom, breathe and it uses the whole body  – it’s very good for the articulation of the limbs, the back, legs and circulation.” For Denise, movement is a conscious activator, not just a case of simply exercise or expression. “I really like stretching because it loosens the body. You feel new every time.” 

At our La DoubleJ shoot today it’s clear that a fiery passion for dance hasn’t fizzled. Denise throws herself from one pirouette to another with a smile radiating across her face with every twist and turn. It’s a glimpse of that six-year-old ballerina from Valdagno enthralled with dance, still lighting a flame inside this bellissima professional dancer today. 

With open hearts and gratitude to Denise (follow her dancing life on Instagram at @denisegazzo) and photographer Lucas Possiede.