Meeting Steven McRae and Mark Annear at the Royal Ballet in London

A personalised backstage tour of the Royal Ballet and a look at the practice rooms with Steven McRae prior to a coffee and catch up in the Royal Ballet canteen was a great experience for me on a recent trip to London. Steven has reached the pinnacle of the ballet world as a principal dancer at the Royal Ballet and has a fascinating story to tell about the trials and tribulations of professional dancers.

Steven’s story is one of persistence in following his dream. It would have been easy for a homesick teenager to come back to Australia ten years ago or give up when a damaged achilles tendon required a year of rehabilitiation. But he kept going and is now living his dream on the world’s biggest stage. Like most performers Steven is his own harshest critic and is constantly striving for improvement. Something he knows is imperative given the queue of young dancers wanting his job!

Mark Annear’s ballet career has taken a different path since retiring from dancing. He is now Head of Outreach and Teacher Training at the Royal Ballet School. Mark is helping discover and mentor the dancers of the future, a job he finds immensley rewarding. The battle for places in the Royal Ballet School is very competitive but those tallented and lucky enough to make it have access to some of the world’s best facilities, teachers.and mentors like Mark.

In keeping with our objective of developing role models and mentors, Steven and Mark have generously offered to assist current and future BBM Youth Support Ballet awardees who go to London.

PS. After reading so many reports from ballet awardees I just had to find the legendary Pineapple Studios!

14th October, 2013

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