The Australian Ballet

Coast to Coast: On Tour with Samara Merrick

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Samara Merrick and Cameron Holmes
Photo Brodie James

Corps de Ballet artist Samara Merrick talks to Behind Ballet about growing up in regional New South Wales, moving to Melbourne and taking the ballet on tour across Victoria and New South Wales.

Taree Beach Photo Colour Of Sunshine

A beach east of Taree
Photo Colour by Sunshine

You’re originally from regional New South Wales, is there a strong dance or arts community there?

I grew up around Taree, Forster and Port Macquarie, and there is definitely a strong dance community in the area, mainly through dance competitions. I still have past dance teachers and schools from where I grew up travel to Sydney to see me perform. The continued support is amazing.

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Samara Merrick
Photo Kate Longley

You joined The Australian Ballet School full time in 2017, what was it like making the move to Melbourne?

I did five years of training in Intra/Interstate & International Training Program (ITP) before I joined The Australian Ballet School. Making the move to Melbourne at age 15, moving into a huge boarding house filled with aspiring ballerinas was the most exciting thing I could’ve ever imagined. I was already quite an independent person, and while it was hard being away from family at times, I am so glad my teachers and mum pushed me to do it. I have made lifelong friends and created a future for myself through this experience.

Brimbin Nature Reserve

Brimbin Nature Reserve

What are some of the best features of your hometown?

Definitely the beautiful beaches and countryside.

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Samara Merrick and David Hallberg
Photo Brodie James

What do you miss the most about where you grew up?

What I miss most about Taree and Port Macquarie is definitely my family, but mostly my little sister. I miss being surrounded by all the beautiful nature and beaches in these towns.

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Samara Merrick
Photo Chris Rodgers-Wilson

You’re about to go on tour throughout Victoria and New South Wales, what do you like about touring?

This is my first tour, so I'm not really sure what I'll like yet! I don't know quite what to expect, but I am very excited for a bit of change and to represent the company.

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Samara Merrick
Photo Edita Knowler

What are some of the challenges when on the road?

I would assume that recovery would be extremely challenging. I will definitely miss the ice bath! I also don’t do too well in cars or busses for long periods of time so that will be an interesting challenge.

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Samara Merrick in Don Quixote, 2023
Photo Chris Rodgers Wilson

How important is it to present ballet to new audiences outside of big cities?

It’s an honour to have been chosen to represent the company. It’s extremely important to me, and I hope that I leave future dancers and the audience feeling inspired the way I used to when I was 11 years of age watching professional dancers perform.

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The Australian Ballet On Tour Cast: featuring artists of The Australian Ballet and artists of The Australian Ballet School
Photo Sergey Konstantinov

What are you most looking forward to about the tour?

Honestly everything! Exploring my capabilities in ballet, creating new friendships with the graduating year, discovering the beautiful towns, and to top it off being back in Port Macquarie performing for my family, friends and former coaches.

Learn more about The Australian Ballet On Tour

The Australian Ballet On Tour