The Elite Masterclass Series will return to The McDonald College in April 2018. The program aims to give intermediate to advanced ballet and dance students exposure to exclusive training from industry professionals from around the world. In 2018, faculty will include Olivier Vercoutère, professor of ballet at University of Music and Theatre in Munich; Gina Brescianini, former of Sydney Dance Company; Olivia Ansell, choreographer and performer; and Vicki Attard, former principal artist of The Australian Ballet.
Classes will be held at The McDonald College, and students from the Elite Masterclass Series have the possibility of being a recipient of a two-week, short-term stay at the discretion of Houston Ballet Academy and Attard for later in 2018.
Currently the Interim Director of Houston Ballet Academy, Attard will teach open class and pointe class during the Elite Masterclass Series. She also plans to teach her own pointe program, My Pointe, geared toward young teenage students who aspire to be professional dancers. Attard was a principal dancer with The Australian Ballet for over 15 years and has performed all across the globe. She has also assisted Houston Ballet Artistic Director Stanton Welch AM in re-staging Madame Butterfly with The National Ballet of Canada, Atlanta Ballet, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and The Australian Ballet.
Of her hopes for the Series, Attard says, “I would like the students to come away with the realisation that pure foundational classical technique is paramount, classical ballet is not about extreme extensions or tricks, quality should always rule over quantity, and artistry is of utmost importance.”
The Elite Masterclass Series, held over the school holiday of 25 – 27 April, with classes from 9am-4:15pm daily, is an invaluable opportunity for dance students to immerse themselves in serious dance studies and learn from an esteemed faculty. Two age groups will be offered – Junior for students ages 12-14 and Senior for students who are 15-19 years old. Classes will include classical ballet, pointe and coaching, variations, contemporary and yoga.
“Meetings where like-minded students gather from all different studios to learn from instructors other than their own creates a perfect environment for extension and growth,” Attard adds. “I anticipate seeing well trained students whom I don’t know and having the opportunity to broaden their knowledge with another perspective that they may not have experienced yet.”
This day and age, a lot is required and expected of professional dancers, but programs like the Elite Masterclass Series give students a head start. “There are many elements that are imperative to making it as a professional dancer, but commitment, drive and persistence should never be underrated,” Attard says. “Being a model student who consistently represents his/her school or academy well can provide the edge that is sometimes required and can be utilised to the student’s advantage.”
Admission to the 2018 Elite Masterclass Series is $350 for the three-day event, and tickets are on sale now. For more information and to book a spot, visit www.mcdonald.nsw.edu.au/programs/elite-masterclass-series/.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.