NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Posted on 25 August 2020 By Rose Mulready

Each year, we welcome a group of new dancers to the company, most of whom are entering professional life for the first time. In 2020 we have a bumper crop of nine fresh faces, all of them graduates of The Australian Ballet School. Several have had the opportunity to work with the company while they were still students, appearing as extras (hedges, caterpillar legs!) during the 2019 season of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland©.

Larissa, Belle, Lilly, Ben, Thomas, and Alain started with the company at the end of 2019 – the same week they graduated from The Australian Ballet School – and performed in the 2019/2020 tour of Storytime Ballet: The Nutcracker. Karina, Adam and Jett started at the beginning of 2020 and debuted shortly after in the Brisbane season of The Happy Prince.

They may only have had a couple of months to settle into their new positions before the company started ‘dancing from home’, but the nine new kids on the block are brimming with personality, passion and promise. Lets get to know the new intake a little more before we have the pleasure of seeing them perform live again in the not-too-distant future.

This article was originally published in Talking Pointe, The Australian Ballet’s philanthropic community newsletter. Click here to learn more about how you can make a difference.

KARINA ARIMURA

Age: 19

Place of birth: Kagoshima, Japan

My first memory of dance: I started dancing in my mother’s ballet studio at the age of three.

My role model: I have so many, but Dorothée Gilbert and Julie Kent are my forever idols.

My dream role or repertoire: Giselle, Juliet, Titania in Frederick Ashton’s The Dream, Kitri in Don Quixote … and so many more!

My big ambition: Two of the many dreams that I want to come true is to tour to my home country, Japan, and to perform a principal role one day.

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … Watching musicals! My top favourites are Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables. I also love watching Disney and Ghibli movies.

Photography Sergei Konstantinov

Adam Elmes

Age: 20

Place of birth: Brisbane, Australia

My first memory of dance: My mum used to put on some musical theatre songs and we would sing and dance in the living room when I was quite little; ‘I Know Him So Well’ from Chess always reminds me of my mum. 

My role model: I would say my role model is someone immediate in my family like my brother, just in his views and character.

My dream role or repertoire: I would love someday to perform James in La Sylphide or dance in an Alexander Ekman piece.

My big ambition: To make the audience cry through the strength of my performance. 

When I’m not dancing, you’ll find me … Either being a goofball with friends or dancing some more!

Photography Daniel Boud

LARISSA KIYOTO-WARD

Age: 18 

Place of birth: Auckland, New Zealand 

My first memory of dance: Dancing to a DVD of Barbie in The Nutcracker before I started doing ballet classes.

My role model: I have so many I can’t choose … but my mum is definitely one of them! 

My dream role or repertoire: My dream role would be Kitri from Don Quixote, but I would also love to dance in Roland Petit’s Carmen

My big ambition: To be the best possible dancer I can be and find my own unique style. 

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … At home taking a nap or trying to start a new book. 

Photography Daniel Boud

Jett Ramsay

Age: 19

Place of birth: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

My first memory of dance: Before I started classical training, I used to get down and frolic to the music program Rage every morning from 5am before school.

My role model: My father, who I can trust and learn from with his witty sense of humour and influential desire for the art form.

My dream role or repertoire: I adore Romeo and Juliet and would relish the opportunity to perform the intensely passionate and overpowering force of love in this ballet someday.

My big ambition: To dance for my family and with my family as much as I can.

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … playing basketball, catching up with friends over a coffee and keeping in touch with my family.

Photography Daniel Boud

Lilly Maskery

Age: 19

Place of birth: Auckland, New Zealand

My first memory of dance: Watching a family friend do Irish dancing competitions and wanting to be just like her.

My role model: Marianela Núñez or Michael Jordan.

My dream role or repertoire: Juliet or Giselle.

My big ambition: To transport an audience emotionally to a place they’ve never been before and to find something different in myself every time I dance.

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … hanging out with friends or swimming.

Thomas Gannon

Age: 19

Place of birth: Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

My first memory of dance: I was with my best friend, his sister and my sister. My friend and his sister told us that we were the better dancers and able to concentrate better, even though we were only five years old.

My role model: My dance role models are Lucinda Dunn and David Hallberg, but my role model in life is Mariah Carey.

My dream role or repertoire: The repertoire I would most love to perform would be George Balanchine’s Jewels, and my dream role is James in La Sylphide.

My big ambition: To become a principal artist one day and to bring joy to my audiences and fans.

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … at a café drinking coffee, or inside watching female singers, or playing board games with friends.

Photography Daniel Boud

Belle Urwin

Age: 19

Place of birth: Sydney, Australia

My first memory of dance: I was four years old and it was my very first ballet concert. I was dressed in a full clown costume as I was part of the circus. The moment I stepped on stage I forgot all the choreography! Luckily, I had my twin sister right next to me who did a great job of leading the way. I like to believe I was embracing my character’s role as a clown a little better! 

My role model: I have two: my parents. My father instilled four core values into all us children from a young age: respect, initiative, responsibility and organisation. Although I may not have understood these words when I was younger, they have helped prepare me for the demanding career path I have chosen to pursue. In addition, my mother is a nurse who demonstrates the importance of kindness and compassion towards others. I am grateful for the opportunities my parents have given me and the lifelong lessons I have learnt. 

My dream role or repertoire: I have always loved the role of Nikiya in Marius Petipa's La Bayadère as well as Kitri from Don Quixote. To be able to perform these challenging yet rewarding roles would be a dream come true. 

My big ambition: In life I want to go as far as possible within The Australian Ballet and to travel around the world with the company. In addition, I will continue to develop and challenge myself to reach my full potential.  

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … playing competitive euchre or five hundred with my family, watching movies, listening to music or cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

Photography Daniel Boud

Benjamin Garrett

Age: 19

Place of birth: Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia. But my earliest memories are of growing up in the Hunter Valley

My first memory of dance: Dancing alone in my garage to Michael Jackson's ‘Thriller’, wearing a fedora and using a cardboard box as a coffin.

My role model: One of my role models is the choreographer Alexander Ekman. I find him inspiring because he always approaches dance and his choreography with a sense of humour, play and discovery. That is a very important thing for me personally because I find that when I approach my dancing too seriously and critically, I forget why I love doing it so much in the first place.

My dream role or repertoire: I would love to dance in Wayne McGregor's Infra, and any work by Crystal Pite.

My big ambition: To dance and experience as many different styles and choreographers as I can squeeze into my lifetime.

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … having a boogie anyway.
 

Photography Daniel Boud

Alain Juelg

Age: 19

Place of birth: Cairns, Queensland, Australia

My first memory of dance: Watching my mum put on a concert for her ballet school. My brother wanted me to play outside while it was going on but I wanted to be backstage and watching.

My role model: People such as Daniel Gaudiello, Carlos Acosta, Rudolf Nureyev are all huge inspirations to me in terms of technique and their artistic expression.

My dream role or repertoire: Solor from La Bayadére, Basilio from Don Quixote and Albrecht from Giselle are probably my three favourite roles and ones I would love the chance to perform someday.

My big ambition: To be the best dancer that I can possibly be. I want to be able to perform my movements as a strong virtuosic male dancer while still maintaining the tenderness in my acting that many Romantic ballets require.

When I’m not dancing you’ll find me … playing guitar. It is something I have been doing for a number of years, however I’ve only recently become very passionate about it.

Photography Alain Juelg