UNLEASH: The Documentary is raw, relatable and a little bit raunchy. Viewers are instantly drawn into the lives of these diverse women and their incredible stories of resilience. The film follows each character as they uncover their inner spark and a means for solace, whilst preparing to take the stage for their upcoming burlesque show.
Melony Cherrett, the films Creative Director says, “Each woman in this film demonstrates strength through embracing what makes them feel sexy.”
“No matter their age, culture, background or circumstance –watching each woman’s individual journey of discovery through dance is truly inspiring and quite often tear-jerking,” Melony says.
Filmed across SA, UNLEASH follows participants over nine weeks through a dance program that culminates in a beautifully bold, on-stage performance.
The diverse group of women share an inspiring message: that dance is accessible to everyone, no matter their age, size or pressures put on them by society, and that every woman can be capable of unleashing an inner self-confidence.
We spoke to one of the film’s featured characters, 64-year-old Vicki Cafarella. The documentry shows how Vicki teaches yoga to the residents at Hamilton retirement village. Vicki uses burlesque and sexy moves to make it super fun for the residents whilst also getting their bodies moving.
Vicki shares that when she turned 50, she decided to become younger, not older and try new things – hence burlesque.
Tell me about your transition from your professional career in gemmology to a yoga instructor?
I was in the Jewellery industry from the 1990’s. I have always been curious and love to learn new things. Hence, I took on studies and became a Qualified Gemmologist and Lecturer with the Gemmological Association of SA. (GAA) along with many other courses.
I then became a Registered Jewellery Valuer, and Diamond Grader & eventually opened a Valuation Business in the city, on the corner of Gawler Place and Rundle mall next to the GAA. Rooms.
As I ran a business, lectured for the GAA and was a carer for my parents, I needed something for me. Mum suggested a Yoga Stress Study being conducted at Adelaide University and that they were looking for participants. I applied and was chosen; thus my journey began. I fell in love with the mindfulness and connection of the breath with movement.
The following year in 2014, I became a qualified Yoga Teacher. My new passion and love opened up oh so many more doors, and saved me. It has brought so much joy to me and those around me.
Tell me more about turning 50 for you? What did it mean for you and how your life has changed since?
In 2007, when I turned 50, I decided to get younger not older and explore new avenues – not be bound by the normal or expected, but to keep growing, learning and experiencing new things or revisiting old loves.
I have always loved dancing, so when a young friend asked if I would like to learn Belly dancing with her, I said why not! We started with a beginner’s course and ended up doing it for 3 years.
In 2013, I found yoga through the Stress Study Program I participated in. I did many teacher training courses and met some amazing people. In my yoga journey, I decided to visit as many yoga studios in Adelaide as possible, via their introductory offers, so as to experience the range that was available.
In 2017 as part of my exploration into Yoga and Mindfulness in Adelaide, I went to the ‘Soul Train’ studio and got chatting with the yoga teacher, Mel, who also happened to be the owner. I always gravitate towards teachers with a dance background – there is a flow and energy that allows one to connect to their inner beauty.
I mentioned my love of dance, and Mel explained that they do Burlesque Fusion classes there in a 10-week block and then perform in the Fringe. WOW! I had always admired such dancers and wondered how it all worked. Here was my chance. So, putting aside my fears, I thought why not!! It was a truly liberating, incredible experience. That first year I performed in 5 shows.
When I turned 50, I decided to get younger not older and explore new avenues – not be bound by the normal or expected, but to keep growing, learning and experiencing new things or revisiting old loves.Vicki Cafarella
I have met an amazing bunch of woman and a great group of friends – many close friendship’s have formed within this community. Fun, excitement, freedom, friends, performing and who knew! A Documentary Movie!
Tell me about your experience with UNLEASH? What was a highlight?
What an amazing opportunity and experience!
Being asked to be involved in the first place was a huge honour and seeing first-hand how a movie is made along with some of what is involved in the production, was fascinating..
So incredible to see Mark and Mel’s vision come to life and then to experience this on the big screen is Mind Blowing. A memory for life!
There were so many highlights during filming, at the studio and in our homes.
Seeing the movie was incredible. I love the variety, the shapes, sizes, backgrounds and stories. So inclusive, inspiring and fun. Surprising, emotional rewarding enlightening and simply the best.
Having my husband, Tony, involved was definitely a highlight, and seeing the song that he wrote for me being played up on the big screen was such a lovely surprise.
Sharm (friend and co-star) and I often joked about whether or not we would make the cut, or that maybe we’d just see our foot or leg etc. on screen. So, you could imagine our delight at being included so generously and in a such an inspiring wonderful way, not just us, but everyone.
What made you choose burlesque dancing?
I didn’t choose it, it chose me, and it was and is a wonderful fit!
Everyone has an inner sexy you, that needs to be expressed, in a safe, fun environment, and that is why it works. I love it! Live life to the full and have fun doing it.
A must-see film for all women and men alike, UNLEASH ends its exclusive, two-week screening at Wallis Cinemas on 7 December, 2022.