Ballet dancer

Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown leads Australian ballet dancer to coach students at Allegro Ballet School in Wagga | The Daily Advertiser

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This year, the ballet has been freed from the ballroom to find its place in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and living room. Rather than cancel classes when lockdown hit in March, Allegro Ballet owner Anne Reardon opted to teach her students via video link. “The challenge was space. Doing ballet in bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms is not easy,” Ms Reardon said. “But, at the very least, we took the ballet to people.” But, of course, young Wagga dancers weren’t the only ones forced to take their lessons remotely. The Australian Ballet’s elite dancers – who mostly live near Melbourne – were also turning their living rooms into dance studios to continue their training while their performances took an enforced break. To ward off the boredom of both groups, the schools joined forces. “Australian Ballet contacted me and asked if we would like our students to be coached by them via Zoom,” Ms Reardon said. “There are certainly pros and cons to online learning, and that access to Australian Ballet, that was definitely one of the positives.” Only six of Ms. Reardon’s students were chosen to participate in the coaching. Aspenne McMahon and Matilda Buchanan, both 14, were among the six chosen. “We had two half-hour sessions with our own trainer and worked on the same routine, then at the end we took a video and sent it to Australia Ballet,” Aspenne explained. . “It was exciting to be able to work with a professional dancer and hear their feedback on your dancing,” Matilda said. In line with the Ballet School’s ‘around the world’ online experience, as of last week, 55 students have completed their Royal Academy of Dance exams. A London-based program, typically examiners would be sent to Wagga from around the world. This year, however, the referees only came from NSW. “Now that the exams are complete, the results will be sent to London and the certificates will be sent back to us,” Ms Reardon said. “The dancers were so happy to be able to start again this year and not miss the exams.” It was the first time that many students participated in this particular exam form. But, mid-level dancer Olivia Lewis, 14, said it was no different from other exams they have taken over the past eight years. “Once you’re there and get used to it, it’s not that bad and you don’t really notice the reviewers,” Olivia said. His counterpart, Aspenne, agreed. “We’ve been preparing for this for six months, so it’s not too daunting,” Aspenne said. “You end up looking mostly at yourself, not the reviewers.” Students will now have to wait two months before their results are returned to them.