Sixteen-year-old Talia Fidra has a lot to be proud of at such a young age. The young dancer, who is in the Senior Program of Queensland Ballet Academy, is a Capezio Athlete, has a popular YouTube channel (with many videos reaching over 100,000 views) and was the 2016 Genée International Ballet Competition silver medalist. And now she’s got yet another achievement to add to her list. The young talent recently performed with Queensland Ballet in the company’s professional production of Ben Stevenson’s Swan Lake this past May.
Here, Fidra shares with Dance Informa all about her experience and what it was like dancing alongside some of her idols.
How did it feel to perform with the company at such a young age?
“It was so unforgettable. Queensland Ballet is such an amazing company, and the dancers were so welcoming to me. I really enjoyed seeing firsthand how the production begins to take shape, and then the final accomplishment of it all coming together is quite amazing. I feel very honoured to have been a part of this production.”
What were you able to learn about yourself or a professional career in ballet from this experience?
“I couldn’t believe how much strength and endurance it takes to be a swan. Something so simple as standing on stage takes so much out of you, physically and emotionally. You really have to be in the moment and not lose concentration. The swans have to appear entirely seamless and unified. It was so inspiring to work with such an amazing group of girls, as I also learned that it is so important to dance as one when you are in the corps de ballet. The swans really make or break the performance.”
What was the hardest part about performing with the company? And what was the most rewarding aspect?
“The hardest part was definitely building up the endurance to get through the long standing poses on stage required by the swans. In the first couple of shows, my calves would cramp up, and I would have to breathe through it. It is very physically challenging to then step straight into the choreography from standing so still for a while. Luckily, after a few shows, I seemed to strengthen up and it wasn’t as bad. But after going through the pain of standing, it was so rewarding when I was finally dancing. It always felt so amazing! I definitely think that is what pushes me through — the feeling of being free, dancing on stage and acting the part of the swan.”
Do you have any role models in the company? What was it like to work so closely with them?
“Yes, many. I really look up to the company dancers. Mia Heathcote was so kind and welcoming to me, and she was also the perfect part for Odette. I also really admire Principal Artist Yanela Pinera for her amazing technique and control. One of the highlights for me was dancing on stage with the incredible Russian prima ballerina Evgenia Obraztsova. I watched her perform at the YAGP finals gala in New York only two years ago when I was a junior competitor and have idolised her since. I can’t believe that thanks to Queensland Ballet, I have now danced alongside her. Such an incredible experience I will always cherish.”
Will you be performing with Queensland Ballet again sometime soon? If so, in what?
“After training in the Academy’s Senior Program, I hope to be accepted into the Pre-Professional Program, where performing in two company productions is part of the industry-based training provided during the year.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m currently really enjoying my time as a student of the Queensland Ballet Academy and looking forward to continuing working on my strength, technique and artistry skills. I was recently offered a position in pre-professional level for 2018. I’m so fortunate to have such a talented faculty to guide me, especially my ballet and repertoire teacher, Zenia Tátcheva. I’m very excited about performing in the annual Senior Program performance in October at The Conservatorium Theatre, and I’m sure there are going to be many more exciting opportunities in the future.”
What advice would you give to other young dancers who are first starting out in a company or dancing with more seasoned artists?
“If you have put the work in and been chosen for a role, then everyone around you believes in you, so don’t doubt yourself. Go into it with passion and commitment, and try to learn as much as you can whilst always being respectful and hardworking. But most of all, do it for yourself because you love it.”
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.