Sydney Eisteddford’s ballet scholarship finalists, 2014
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This yearâ€™s eight finalists in the Sydney Eisteddfodâ€™s McDonaldâ€™s Ballet Scholarship will compete for the two top prizes tomorrow, 3 August, at the Sydney Opera House.
The finalists are from three states, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
I know that the scholarship seems, at the time, to mark a pivotal moment in the life of the talented young dancers. Iâ€™ve seen the highs and lows over 21 years, first as an interested observer and journalist and in later years as a mother.
If youâ€™re close to one of the candidates, as a teacher or parent, of course itâ€™s hard accept the results impartially. Usually the happiness and the bitter disappointments are kept private, or only for an inner circle.
But this year, for the first time in my memory, a Sydney ballet teacher has expressed his frustration and distress publicly on Facebook, suggesting that the failure of any one of his three male students to make it into the finals was due to either â€śpoliticsâ€ť or because the judges needed glasses.
In the long term, the decisions of judges do not determine the dancersâ€™ future career.
Teachers usually tell their students, whether successful in competition or not, that the most important attribute they need is resilience and that a win at one competition does not guarantee success at the next and will never guarantee a career.
Ballet is a beautiful art form but often a heartbreaking world to live and work within. So often itâ€™s potluck, and â€śpoliticsâ€ť is not often the culprit unless of course youâ€™re thinking of the Bolshoi Ballet.
Tomorrow, this yearâ€™s judges of the scholarship, Rani Luther and Colin Peasley, will be joined by the Australian Balletâ€™s artistic director, David McAllister, to choose the two finalists.
Matthew Bradwell (Mount Waverley,VIC)
Bethany Cockburn (Highland Park, QLD) Prue
Noah Dunlop (Southbank, VIC)
Chiara Gonzalez (Benowa, QLD)
Sasha Leong (Mosman) Sydney Ballet school
Daniel Russell (Umina Beach)
Sera Schuller (Aroona, QLD)
Kayla-Maree Tarantolo (Bella Vista)