Anastasia McDonald-Spicer finds success dancing in Germany
Anastasia McDonald-Spicer (2016-17 Ballet Awardee) spent an exciting few months in Europe travelling, soaking in the the culture and auditioning for European dance companies. The opportunity to showcase her talent led to her being offered a position as a full company member for the The Sorbisches National Ensemble in Bautzen, Germany – a dream come true! Read her full story here or browse some snippets below.
“As I graduated in Australia in early December, and had done very little dancing since then, I had to get back into ‘dance mode’ before auditioning. After New Year in Paris, I went to London to do some classes at Pineapple Studios. I was lucky enough to work with Emma Northmore, Roland Price and Ian Knowles for classical ballet and Tory Trotter for contemporary ballet. Each one of these teachers had such a wealth of knowledge that they were able to share. Thanks to the Youth Support Award I was able to book a private lesson with Emma. She was tremendous, helping me refine my audition package and pointing out some of the differences in ballet styles. My time with her really gave my confidence a boost.
Over the next 3 months there was no real itinerary – I was applying for auditions all over Europe and the UK, and going where these took me. This meant I was able to keep coming back to the UK for auditions, company classes and classes at Pineapple Studios.
I was excited to be able to spend two days with the Scottish Ballet in Glasgow. The company was high on my list of dream companies, so to audition for them, spend time in their studios and work with the dancers was an amazing experience. I got to learn some of their repertoire, including classical and some of Emergence by Crystal Pite. Ms Pite is one of the world’s leading female choreographers, so it was a privilege to learn even a small part of her work. After class I was able watch rehearsals of their upcoming works. The facilities at the Tramway, the home of the Scottish Ballet, were incredible.
Thanks to the award I was able to move beyond the UK and travel throughout Europe. I auditioned in several countries including Germany (Berlin, Leipzig, Nuremberg and Bautzen), the Czech Republic (Ceske Budejovice and Pilsen), Spain (at the Grand Audition in Barcelona) and Switzerland (Neuhausen am Rheinfall).
After listening to previous award recipients at the presentation, one of the things I learnt was the importance of broadening horizons and seizing opportunities. I took that to heart and knew I had to experience more than just the auditions.
I went to the Royal Ballet’s production of Balanchine’s Jewels in London. Marianela Nunez was one of the Principal’s that night and she was amazing. I love her dancing, especially after I saw her rehearsing and performing Swan Lake in Australia. Watching her on stage at the Royal Opera House was wonderful.
Thanks to the BBM Youth Support Award for Ballet I was able to plan 3 months in the UK and Europe. The experiences I had due to the award enabled me to develop both as a dancer and personally. I learnt a lot about auditioning and my art during the time overseas. I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with other young Australian dancers who will soon be in my position.”