Making it Across the Ditch
By Rain Francis
A number of our bright young dancers make the trip across the Tasman for the opportunities Australia brings. Sometimes they return but many become absorbed into the Australian dance world, and we often know little of their careers. In her second article Rain Francis, a Kiwi dancer/choreographer and NZSD graduate, talks to five such dancers working in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
Alana Sargent - Dancer with Sydney Dance Company
During her final year at NZSD, Gisborne-born Alana was seconded to Sydney Dance Company (SDC). This led to an invitation to audition and she was consequently offered a contract, sponsored by Foxtel. Alana recognises how fortunate she was to transition from school into one of Australasia's leading companies. In 2011 she travelled around Australia, undertaking secondments to gain insight and experience. “I realised the competitive nature of my chosen career, as I was always surrounded by such talented dancers who were all in the same position as I was,” she explains.
Megan Sayer-Roberts - Dance Habit owner
With a Bachelor of Performing Arts and a wealth of teaching experience behind her, Megan moved with her partner to Melbourne with dreams of working in the dance world. She soon realised it was not so easy and made the difficult decision to take up a full-time government job. Megan undertook more study and eventually secured work in a local dance school. After only a year she realised she wanted more: “It wasn’t enough to curb my hunger for dance. I wanted a life immersed in dance and on my own terms!”
Laura Tong - Soloist with The Australian Ballet
After eight years with The Australian Ballet, Laura has had many highlights. She has toured to London, Paris, New York and Tokyo and performed a “challenging and satisfying repertoire,
including Cigarette in Suite en Blanc, Mistress in Manon, and Suzuki in Madame Butterfly”.
Ty King-Wall - Senior Artist with The Australian Ballet
Ty considers himself “one of the lucky ones”. After graduating from The Australian Ballet School in 2005, he was offered a contract with the company for the following year. “Once you leave the school, you're out on your own,” he says, “and I'm very aware of how fortunate I was not to have to go through the audition process. It's certainly something I don't take for granted.”
Blair Wood - Company Dancer with Queensland Ballet
In 2007, Blair was considering giving up dancing altogether. He had started training at the Alison Pond Dance Academy in Wellington and then with Elayne Cherry, before moving to Sydney at 17 to study at the Ecole Ballet Studios. Although he had always loved ballet, he was unsure about pursuing it as a career. Then, while working full-time in hospitality, he was convinced by a friend to audition for Queensland Ballet's Professional Year programme. The rest, as they say, is history
Read the full article (Iss. 30) Making it across the ditch