Promising Coast ballerina Natalya Alexiou.
Promising Coast ballerina Natalya Alexiou. Contributed

Coolum teen ballerina to train under Mao's last dancer

WHILE many Sunshine Coast teenagers spend their holidays at the beach or shopping centres, Natalya Alexiou will return to the classroom.

The talented Coolum teenager is going back to school of a different kind, packing her ballet shoes and leotard in preparation for Queensland Ballet Summer School.

From January 16-21, the 14-year-old will join 200 other young dancers from across the state to experience the daily routine of a ballerina and understand what it means to be part of a ballet company.

Queensland Ballet artistic director Li Cunxin and director of training Christian Tatchev head an elite team of teachers ready to mentor the aspiring ballerinas and ballerinos.

Retired dancer Li, famous for his international best-selling autobiography "Mao's Last Dancer”, will share his passion for the many aspects of dance.

Natalya, a St Teresa's Middle School College vice-captain, was motivated to apply for the prestigious dance program because she thought it would be a great opportunity to further her dance education, meet new people and gain important connections in the dance world.

She has studied dance since the age of three and is accomplished in classical ballet, contemporary, lyrical, character, jazz and tap but said classical ballet was her favourite.

"Classical ballet is such a beautiful art form, it allows me to express myself without words,” Natalya said.

She and her summer classmates will have the opportunity to extend themselves by taking classes in classical ballet technique, pointe work, repertoire, character dance, contemporary dance, male technique and pas de deux (pair work).

Along the way they'll learn from company dancers and get advice from physiotherapy and nutrition experts.

A presentation for family and friends at the end of the week will demonstrate what they've learnt.

For the past nine years, Natalya has been studying at Dance Fusion Studios.

She is also a member of the Dance Fusion Studios performance team and the studio's entertainment team.

She cites Mika Fogarty as her inspiration "because she is so young and is already making such a big impact on the ballet world”.

Dance Fusion Studios principal Leanne Porritt said Natalya had shown talent, passion and creativity from a young age.

"Natalya has been fortunate to watch many older role model students go on to dance at Queensland Dance School of Excellence, The National Ballet Theatre, Harvest Rain, Queensland Contemporary Youth Ballet and Queensland Ballet JEP programs and senior programs,” Ms Porritt said.

"Most of all Natalya is passionate about the technique that ballet offers and refining her artist quality and story telling to her audience.

"I look forward to watching her develop.”

While Natalya must resume her high school studies at the end of January, she said her dream was to one day be a ballet dancer in a reputable company.

PHOTO CREDIT: Chris Reynolds Photography