Performing Arts - Ballet
In 2017, for the last few months leading up to my graduation from The Australian Ballet School, I began the process of planning my overseas audition tour.
While the prospect of travelling to Europe, the UK, Canada and a brief visit to the US was extremely exciting, especially to someone who has not been much further than Australia before, the task of planning such a big trip was a little daunting.
Thanks to the generosity of the BBM Youth Support Award, much of that pressure was eased and without the help of this organisation I would not have been able to achieve as much as I did. Thankfully I also had my extremely supportive family to help me with planning and travel logistics, and I am so grateful, especially to my mum who came with me on this trip.
After sending many emails to companies around the world and receiving around 16 acceptances, I was able to plan two months of auditions, taking class and visiting eight different countries.
While beginning the journey in London, I took class at Pineapple Studios before my first audition at the English National Ballet. This was an unforgettable experience, my first private audition, taking class for three days in the company’s beautiful main studio, dancing alongside director, Tamara Rojo.
Toronto and New York
From there, I flew to Canada where I met many new friends and caught up with some old ones too. I spent a week taking in the beautiful city and the snow before flying to New York for three days. While in the hustle and bustle of New York, I was able to take class in the morning at Steps before an audition in the afternoon. As well as an audition the following day, I managed a quick visit to Times Square, the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Centre.
Edinburgh and Glasgow
I then flew to Scotland and auditioned for the Scottish Ballet where I watched company rehearsals and spent a day trip wandering Edinburgh Castle. From Glasgow we travelled to Wales where, after a big day of auditions, I came down with a bad virus.
Back to London
We then had a bus trip back to London followed by walking our suitcases through a snow storm to the hotel while I was unwell. I had booked a ticket to see ‘A Winter’s Tale’ performed by The Royal Ballet, the leads being Lauren Cuthbertson and Sarah Lamb. Although I had not been out of bed for two days I was determined not to miss it and I am so glad I didn’t, it was an incredible performance.
Antwerp and Amsterdam
Once recovered, we took the train to Antwerp, Belgium where I got to see another one of my ‘idols’, Biscuit Ballerina as she is commonly known, or Shelby Williams. After Antwerp, we flew to Amsterdam where I spent a week with the Dutch National Ballet Academy Trainee Program, and I was able to train alongside some of my friends. I learnt a lot from my time there under the guidance of the teachers and the other students. Amsterdam was one of the highlights of my trip, we really got the feeling of what it is like to live there and having friends who knew the area was a great help. Staying in an Airbnb also gives the sense of being a local, unlike staying in a hotel. I also saw the Rijksmuseum, where I got to see incredible artworks by many famous artists, it was an experience I had been looking forward to and one that did not disappoint.
Bratislava, Munich, Vienna and Salzburg
From Amsterdam I left for the UK however, I was checked in as the wrong person so my bag ended up leaving without me, and I had a long day trying to get on another flight. From there I travelled to Slovakia where I auditioned and saw a production of Giselle. I then flew to Munich, followed by a quick trip to Vienna before returning to Munich in order to fit in the auditions. Then I headed back to Vienna again which is one of the most beautiful cities I visited, so rich in history, especially with the beautiful Easter Markets on at that time of year. I would love to go back and work there one day. While in Vienna, we also saw a music concert/opera in a 300 year old theatre that Mozart performed in when he was young. The last part of the trip concluded in Salzburg where we travelled through some beautiful Austrian landscapes before heading back to London, then flying home to Australia.
While travelling presented its challenges such as living out of a suitcase, some extremely cold weather, doing ballet exercises in hotel hallways, sickness and mishaps with travel plans, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Travelling has opened my eyes to so many possibilities and insights to the world of dance, beyond what I had known in Australia.
Through so many incredible experiences and challenges I have grown, and feel more confident to be able to travel in the future. I have gained perspective on how to travel effectively and it’s safe to say we made the most out of our trip covering 14 auditions in total across eight countries.
I am so incredibly grateful to the BBM Youth Award, without the support my trip would not have been possible and I am looking forward to passing on the knowledge and travel tips I have learned. If there is something I have walked away with from the experience, it is perseverance, more passion and appreciation for this art form.
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