Abbey Murphy

2018 BBM Ballet Scholar


Trip #1: 2019 London and Amsterdam

My trip began on the 6th of February 2019. I first flew to Manchester and stayed in Crosby Liverpool with relatives that I had never met. My flight departed from Melbourne, Tullamarine at 6am. With a quick stop over in Dubai, I was on my next flight to Manchester where my relatives picked me up from the airport. As soon as I arrived I bought a local sim card at the airport and once I had settled in I booked a train to leave from Liverpool to Euston (London) which left on Friday the  8th of February in the morning.

I then attended an open classical class at Danceworks to find my center again before my first audition in London, which cost 10 pounds ($19). The class was amazing! I wish it went for longer. I also ran into a friend from my graduating year at ABS which was nice to see a friendly face. The next day was my first audition for The English National Ballet, Cinderella ‘In The Round’. Unfortunately, I was cut after class before the repertoire class which they kindly explained to me was due to my height. This was a bit of a letdown for me as it was obviously something that I could not help. However, the actual audition experience was great!

Next was Amsterdam!


I traveled to Amsterdam on the Eurostar on the 10th of February. It cost 35 pounds ($68) but the average price is usually apparently 100-200 pounds. Got lucky! I explored Amsterdam a little bit when I arrived and soaked in the culture. The city looks so beautiful at night with all of the lights reflecting and glistening on the canals weaving throughout the city. It was a site for sore eyes. The next day on the 11th of February was my second audition for the Dutch National Ballet. This audition was a private class audition for two days which I received with many thanks to Ms Pavane, The Director of The Australian Ballet School.

This audition was quite nerve racking. I found it quite difficult to find where I was required to be, but when I did arrive in the correct location the Lady that came to guide me was very welcoming and spoke English! Some of the signs inside were hard to follow due to most of them being in Dutch but I ended up in the right studio which was all that mattered. Class began quite daunting at first. The teacher walked in and just said “begin”, I was looking around so confused so I just followed along and picked up the exercises. Dancing amongst some of the highest dancers of the company was just a whole other experience in itself. They all danced so beautifully. On the second day I was lucky enough to watch two principle dancers run through a quick pas de deux for their performance season at the time. Afterwards I had my interview with Ted Brandsen, the Director of The Dutch National Ballet. Unfortunately, it was bad news again. I was too tall for the couple of dancers he needed to replace short term due to sudden injury. To hear this again was quite disheartening as I only had the two auditions for this trip due to me recovering from an ankle injury myself. On a positive note, it was great hearing personal feedback from Ted Brandsen. I spent a couple more nights in Amsterdam which I loved very much. I did a lot of walking around and mainly just soaked up the different culture. After Amsterdam I went back to stay with relatives up until I left for home. This trip was short and sweet but none the less, one to remember.

Reflection #1:

This trip helped me gain so much confidence in myself just with everyday life as well as a dancer. I may have been rejected but that hasn’t made me feel any less confident. I feel as though I have gained so much experience and knowledge even in a short period. Returning home made me feel so appreciative of my family and loved ones, especially my mum. I was already so grateful to have such a strong women in my life to help guide me. However, being on the other side of the world in such foreign places doing what I love, made me just stop and think that I wouldn’t be here at all if it wasn’t for her and if only she could see what I could see.

My next steps for the future is to break my award into two trips. This is due to me recovering from my injury as well as audition times etc. My goal is to not give up . I have gained so much strength and knowledge from the amazing opportunities BBM have so generously provided me. My trip has just made me love what I do even more.

Fortunately, BBM allowed me to postpone my second trip to a year later due to injury, sickness and being able to attend the main audition tour period overseas. I am very grateful for this.


Trip #2: 2020 Amsterdam and St Polten, Austria

For my second trip I flew straight to Amsterdam on the 15th of January 2020 in hope that I would receive a last minute reply from The Dutch National to attend the open audition on the 18th of January, unfortunately I did not here back from them until I was already on my way home. However, I took classes for a couple of days at Chase Dance Studio in Amsterdam for the three days that I was there. These classes were amazing. They were almost a mix of classical and contemporary style which I loved. I gained so much knowledge in only a couple of classes. The class was quite different to what I am used to but it felt so free and exhilarating.


St Polten, Austria

My next destination was St Polten for an audition on the 20th of January. I flew from Amsterdam to Vienna, then caught a train from Vienna to St Polten. The audition consisted of two rounds. A classical class and then variations for those selected. Selected applicants were asked to perform either a classical or contemporary variation or both for the second round. I was selected and requested to perform my contemporary variation which went well. I then caught a train back to Vienna while again waiting to hear back from several companies, around Germany mostly.

Vienna, Austria

I heard back from Zurich and English National Ballet saying that unfortunately I was too tall which was the same with several of my other applications. It seems that a lot of audition applications around Europe had height restrictions during this time in which I couldn’t apply for. This felt very frustrating and still does. I guess its just the matter of finding the right place and company for me.

I stayed in Vienna for just under a week and explored their beautiful city, learning about their culture. Once my accommodation was up in Vienna, I travelled back to Amsterdam to continue taking classes at Chase Dance Studios for another week. These classes cost 10 euros a class. Again, I loved this classes and learnt so much.

After my week of classes in Amsterdam I travelled to Barcelona in time for The Grand Audition on the 4th of February. This audition took place on a raked stage performing for 7-8 different directors for different companies. Some things went quite well in this audition, while some things didn’t, but that’s life. Not everything works out the way you want it but you just have to keep going and show confidence and persistence. Unfortunately, I did not get through to the second round to perform my variation. This felt extremely disheartening as this was my last audition for my trip which I had put all of my hope in after not receiving anything prior. I stayed in Barcelona for the remainder of my trip and then flew to London Heathrow which is where my flight home was to be departing from.


Reflection #2:

I am so grateful to have received this scholarship and for all of the people who helped me achieve these. Special thanks to Lisa Pavane, the Director of The Australian Ballet School, Sandra Ball, the General Manager of The Australian Ballet School, my amazing teachers from The Australian Ballet School and Samantha Andrews, the Scholarships Administrator for BBM who helped guide me through completing my scholarship.

With this scholarship I was given the most amazing opportunity to travel and develop my skills in my chosen profession as well as gain confidence in myself and my dancing. Not many people would have the privilege or opportunity of receiving such an amazing opportunity like this and I am forever grateful. I was guided so well through this scholarship with help of just an email or phone call away. This scholarship really developed me as a person, I have gained so much confidence and resilience which I believe I was lacking. I couldn’t thank BBM and The Australian Ballet School enough.


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