Dancers across Australia and New Zealand were in for a treat when they attended the Winter Series of International Ballet Workshops (IBW). IBW is known for bringing elite classical ballet teachers down under for tours in the January and July school holidays, and this season the bar was raised even higher, with the addition of Boston Ballet Principal Ballerina Dusty Button to the teaching line-up.
Around 350 dance students attended the three-day workshops, held in Brisbane, Sydney, Perth, Auckland, Melbourne and Hobart throughout June and July. They took daily classes in ballet, pointe/pre-pointe, body conditioning and repertoire, which consisted both of Paquita variations and Button’s own choreography.
“This will be an experience I will remember forever and a once in a lifetime opportunity,” expresses one student, Sophie, from Perth. “I have enjoyed myself so much over the past three days and learnt so much that I can carry with me throughout the rest of my dance journey. Thank you, IBW.”
Although the focus of the workshops was not on winning prizes, there were some special awards given. In each city, one dancer from each level (Junior, Intermediate, Senior) was chosen as the Bloch Most Outstanding Young Artist. Those dancers were:
Hobart: Annabel Pestrucci from Hobart Dance Academy, Ava Cleay from House of Dance, and Georgia Taylor from Dance Academy 34. Melbourne: Eliza Lunardelli from Dancemax Studios, Jessica Poberezovska from The Jane Moore Academy of Ballet, and Emma Dowling from The Jane Moore Academy of Ballet. Auckland: Belle Sergeev from Northern Performing Arts, Phoebe Kiyoto-Ward from Mount Eden Ballet Academy, and Alice McArthur from North Shore Ballet Academy. Perth: Ella Lech from The Perth School of Ballet, Isabella Smith from The West Australian School of Dance, and Charlotte Spraggs from Charlesworth Ballet Institute. Sydney: Abbey Rowland-Jones from Dream Dance Academy, Madeline Flood from Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy, and Tori Martin from Lisa Clark Dance Centre. Brisbane: Harry Baker-Johnston from Sunshine Coast Conservatory of Dance, Laura Hockenhull from En Pointe Dance Centre, and Mila Nathan from Amanda Bollinger Dance Academy.
The focus of IBW is bringing not just world-class teachers but also international connections and opportunities to Australasian dancers. Each Guest Teacher is required to bring specific offers, and in the case of the Winter Series, Button brought scholarships to the BellaMoxi Dance Convention in the USA. Although originally only planning to choose two dancers from each city for a scholarship (a total of 12), Button ended up choosing 24 over the entire tour! At the end of the tour, one of the dancers was also awarded an additional scholarship to cover their flights, accommodation and food. The 24 dancers chosen were:
Amelia Kratz (The Dance Company), Ruby Gibbons (Australian Dance Performance Institute), Lucy Christodoulou (Annette Roselli Dance Academy), Amelia Russell (The McDonald College), Kenzie Andrews (The Beverley Prange Dance Centre), Tianna Koolloos (Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy), Ella Willans (Katharine Mantle Performing Arts Academy), Lucinda Schoeman (Charlesworth Ballet Institute), Ava Eie (Mount Eden Ballet Academy), Tabitha Dombroski (New Zealand School of Dance), Honor Christian-Slane (New Zealand School of Dance), Daisy Boo Allen (Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance), Francesca Poi (The Jane Moore Academy of Ballet), Sabrina Bignold (En Pointe School of Ballet), Ami Cowburn (Glen Iris School of Dance), Sarah Rose (The Jane Moore Academy of Ballet), Riley-Jane Dickie (New Zealand School Of Dance), Billie Watson (Melbourne City Ballet), Philippa Crawley (Ballarat Dance Centre), Missy Krilic (The Jane Moore Academy Of Ballet), Sasha Concollato (Melbourne City Ballet), Madison Heidenreich (Hobart Dance Academy), Eva Baonza (Dance Academy 34), Mia Schuemaker (Tasmanian Academy of Dance).
The student chosen for the all-expenses paid trip to the USA was Queensland dancer Lucy Christodoulou.
The details of the next Series of International Ballet Workshops is due to be announced very soon; however, a Save-the-Date notice has been released:
Perth: January 5-8
Melbourne: January 11-13
Auckland: January 15-17
Gold Coast: January 19-21
Sydney: January 26-28
Dance Informa was a proud sponsor of International Ballet Workshops.