Alexander Campbell, a former student of Academy Ballet in Sydney, was recently promoted to principal dancer of the Royal Ballet in London. This represents the greatest of Campbell’s achievements since he began performing on world stages 14 years ago. Campbell joined the Royal Ballet School (RBS) after competing at the 2003 Prix de Lausanne. Recalling his move overseas, he reflects, “It’s difficult to leave your family and what you know, but I remember being quite excited about it. There was no question in my mind that it was what I had to do to become a professional dancer.”
Writing about dancers using Instagram is having its fashionable moment. The New York Times dance writer, Gia Kourlas, suggests dancers’ self promotion online humanises them, as opposed to placing them on an impersonal ‘high culture’ pedestal. Dance Magazine’s Kristin Schwab goes so far as portraying The New York Times’ coverage of dancers using social media as a step towards a revival of dance journalism, categorising it as middle ground between specialised and tabloid press. In exploring this, she expands on Kourlas’s article and argues that dancers first have to be “demystified” in order to generate interest in expert opinions on dance. Continue reading Dancers and Instragram
Connor Barlow is one of the youngest members of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne’s ensemble and is now in his second season after having graduated from English National Ballet School (ENBS) in 2014. Prior to his training in London, Connor was a student at The McDonald College in Sydney from 2007 to 2011. When we met in Cologne, Germany, following one of thirteen shows there as part of the city’s summer festival, he was tired not only from the gruelling conditions of a touring company, also from the 12 month long season that was soon to come to a welcome end. Continue reading Connor Barlow
Elisa Badenes was recently named principal dancer at the Stuttgart Ballet, in Germany, at the age of 22. Following her debut as Nikiya in Stanton Welch’s La Bayadere, performing as a guest artist with the Australian Ballet in Melbourne, Luke Forbes was waiting to hear how it went.
Elisa’s dance career had humble but sound foundations, starting out as a student at the dance conservatoire in her home town, Valencia, in Spain. At the age of 15 she submitted an audition video to the Prix de Lausanne and was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to compete. Although her first competition experience was disappointingly short lived, upon being eliminated in the first round the Royal Ballet School promptly offered her a scholarship anyway. Continue reading Elisa Badenes
Michael Carter is an Australian dancer based in Europe who began his dance career at the Australian Ballet after graduating from the Australian Ballet School. Following stints with Leigh Warren & Dancers and the Sue Healey Company, Carter left Australia to join the Ballet Victor Ullate in Madrid, Spain, and in 2007, the Compañía Nacional de Danza under the direction of Nacho Duato. For the lucky few who experience such success both at home and abroad, this would typically mark the final stop of a laudable and diverse career. However, Carter found himself disillusioned with being, in his own words, “just a dancer, and not an artist.” Carter associates artistry with having the scope for interpretation and independent decision-making in the creative process, elements more familiar to choreographers and contemporary dancers than dancers in classical and neoclassical companies. Continue reading Michael Carter
When I met Martin Hansen after a performance in Germany, he was thrilled to catch up with a fellow Australian. Hansen had just performed his critically acclaimed solo work, Monumental, at the PACT Zollverein in Essen.
Hansen trained at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and after that, he describes how “I did the first year of the BA at the VCA too. I dropped out with the intention of returning, but never did.” Hansen visited Berlin for the first time in 2006, eventually moving there for good. “I possessed the typical desire for travel and adventure and I was very interested in dance practices that were taking place in Europe,” he recalls. Continue reading Martin Hansen
Looking for a job overseas is a daunting prospect. Where do you start? Where do you go? How do you arrange an audition? Australian dancer Luke Aaron Forbes has been through the process and shares his thoughts with Dance Australia readers.
Annually from December to March sleepy dancers on German long distance trains are a common sight. These well-travelled creatures are easy to spot on their way to auditions, stretching in their cushioned seats, comparing outfits and brushing their hair often before the sun has risen. This is not a uniquely German phenomenon; it can be seen in many western European countries. Germany, however, with over 60 dance companies in municipal and state theatres, and opera houses, as well as hundreds of freelance groups, is the most active “dance landscape” in the world, with auditions to be found even in the remotest of towns. Continue reading Auditioning in Germany
Anna Süheyla Harms, an Australian dancer based in Stuttgart, Germany, has become dance critics’ sweetheart over the past year. With her deep red mane of hair, long limbs, Turkish middle name and fluent German, not only is the German press mystified, it’s besotted. In a regional newspaper Anna has also been compared to a win in the lottery by her director, Eric Gauthier, and apparently, audiences feel the same. Continue reading Anna Süheyla Harms