Maidie Widmer

Performing Arts Scholar

Classical Ballet

2021

 

The arts are an expression of who we are as a community and its essential that our stories are told, the arts being the makers, creators and keepers of our stories. The arts, and dance, hasn’t been developed on the notion of financial gain or the accumulation of material wealth. In essence, it is a way of giving back to a community, presenting it with a picture of itself, returning the communities culture to itself.

Classical Ballet has been regarded as a ‘Heritage art form’, but I believe I’ve witnessed aspects of ballet that excite me for the future in terms of its ability to innovate as an art form, and that excites me as a potential future to be a part of. Many choreographers are looking to expand their repertoire to incorporate their own contemporary movement into ballet, elevating the form into something exciting and new. Choreographers are challenging stereotypes by having men dance on pointe, like the character of ‘Bottom’ in A Midsummer Nights Dream, and by using computer technology to further enhance the audiences experience as shown throughout Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I believe this is only the beginning for what the future of dance holds, and that with the experience and opportunity that this scholarship provides I could begin to take the next step of taking dance into the future and sustaining this beautiful, ever growing art form.

Covid-19 has many industries in an unstable position. In order to sustain the art form of dance and to push it into the future, there will need to be patience as it is going to take more time, effort and determination to proceed. All elements that I am willing to give! Given the current situation, the future in dance could be very different but this prospect excites me very much.

This scholarship presents me with the opportunity to broaden my mind and the landscape of my future. It means the chance to gain the dance experience that I need to sustain a professional ballet career and the life experience that gives that career the breadth and depth an artist requires. I have always had an appetite for learning new things and to experience new and innovative ways of looking at my art-form and life itself.

Great minds have shaped the form of dance in different ways and their innovation has lead to the art-form that we know and love: the dancer’s tools, the stories we portray, the expression and form of movement, these are all elements of ballet that have been developed over time. They are born from the varying techniques and the merging of the best parts of ballet in order to sustain it as a strong art-form and aid in its growth. I would hope that by taking my training overseas, I will get a strong sense of how that innovation works in a professional setting. Experiencing differing cultures, behaviours and various ways of living that differ from Australia will be interesting and stimulating. Experiencing the differing techniques, carriage, training, style and artistic form of key companies in relation to dance, would enable me to bring the most beneficial elements of all of these things into my dancing and myself, and share this growth with those around me.

I believe I have a realistic ambition and grand goal: I aspire to dance in a company that is perceived as the best in the world, among the best in the world. As much as this dream is one I’ve held onto since I was a little girl, realistically the pathway there isn’t going to be easy. In beginning my journey as I step out into the real world of employment, once graduated, my goal is to begin the climb to that end and ultimate dream. This pathway will be fraught with experiences, learning curves and eureka moments and I plan to get as much out of it as I can. All of those moments and experiences will only make me grow, and allow my dancing to grow, and give me the opportunity to open my eyes to the potential of classical ballet’s future.

My ambition is also to gain life experience while still being able to train as I need and continue dancing, and being able to travel and learn and grow to assist my dancing.

I hope to undertake a European ballet audition tour, with particular focus on the UK. A dancer in my position requires the opportunity to be seen by as many directors and companies as possible to get their name and face seen as “one to watch”. This is why the “audition tour” is such a crucial turning point in a dancers career. In terms of time, energy and finance, having a strong base to work from such as England is critical in maximum exposure. My hope would be to have audition access to an internship with companies such as Birmingham Royal Ballet and with directors such as Carlos Acosta. Having that strong base in England means that travel is easier and cheaper so more ground can be covered, more companies auditioned for and more overall experience gained.

My ideal travel destination is England as it holds the tradition and purity of ballet which is a large aspect of what I love about the art form. England also allows for the further investigation into Europe in general, for me destinations like Germany and the Netherlands spark the similar interest as England.

This is something unfortunately Australia can’t offer. This exposure and easy, close access to other countries, which in turn amounts to exposure and access to a multitude of Dance companies; and the chance to work with and learn from as many different dance people and dance styles that other countries may have to offer.

Companies that I have found to be an inspiration are The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Dutch National and Birmingham Royal Ballet. Each of these companies have something unique, a technical prowess and artistic quality that I greatly appreciate and I believe holds the essence of ballet. Something positive I have found during the current world situation of Covid-19 is that these companies have put their work, productions and classes online, this has given me the chance to watch and learn about how they work, which has greatly enhanced my knowledge of and desire to be involved with them in person.

Ballet can build strengths. Over the years I have been able to rely on my own particular strengths of self motivation and direction. Dance, and more specifically ballet, has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. I began ballet classes at 4 years of age and I knew it was going to be a part of my everyday life from then on. From that young age I motivated myself to get the most out of each and every class, asking if there was more I could do, more classes to participate in or any additional things that could take me further. After years of this, taking classes every night and travelling around Victoria, interstate and overseas on my holidays to train and compete in dance, I knew I needed more.

In January 2017, I successfully auditioned for The Australian Ballet School and began my training there. This institution has allowed me to take my first real step towards professionalism, and into my dream of making a career out of something I love so deeply. In this environment I continued to push myself, to commit myself fully to all opportunities that arose and develop the technical proficiency that I need. And now, in my graduate year at the school, I find myself far closer to my ambition of professional employment. The process of getting there – creating CVs, audition videos and making myself as employable as possible has begun, and my commitment and motivation is as strong as ever.

With my basic training almost complete, the technical proficiency has been developed, but the next step into this profession is to hone that technical proficiency and develop the expressive quality that an artist in dance requires. This depth and genuine emotion is something that can only develop with growth, time and experience. Something that I believe this scholarship can lead me to.

Growing up, I always looked towards dancers who had accomplished great things as an inspiration. When I was younger, the dancers at The Australian Ballet School were a role model for me. Now being in that position myself, I look towards dancers overseas and in Australia who are accomplishing new and exciting things.

With the aid of this scholarship this is what I hope to become for the next generation of dancers.

I have been very lucky in having some wonderful mentors to help me along that pathway and I look forward to the future prospect of being able to mentor that next generation, which some of my teaching and volunteer work has allowed me to do already. Community, to me, is about teaching and preparing the next generation to be accepting of that communal, giving culture.

“Maidie is intelligent, succinct and will be a great role model.  I feel that she embodies all that the BBM Scholarship is about and has the ability and passion to ‘pay it forward.’  Plus she’s a beautiful dancer as well, the full package.” – BBM Industry Panel

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