Annabelle Watt on stage in the 2016 Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Annabelle Watt, finalist in the 2016 Robert & Elizabeth Albert Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship and winner of the Australian Ballet School Scholarship, recently spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about how this Scholarship has helped her achieve her dreams and provided her the opportunity to study at Australia’s leading school for elite vocational classical dance.
What inspired your passion for ballet?
I was inspired like many, by the older girls at my dance studio. Watching them as a little girl execute ballet moves was mesmerising, and I wanted to be able to do the same. Performing with the Brisbane City Youth Ballet and Ballet Theatre QLD further reinforced my desire to be on the stage.
What was it like to be awarded a Scholarship to the Australian Ballet School in the 2016 Robert & Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship?
I was in shock at first! Receiving a scholarship to a company school as prestigious as The Australian Ballet School was very exciting, as it had been a goal I was working towards for many years. I was so grateful to my teachers at Classical Coaching Australia for helping me achieve this dream, as I had trained so hard with them specifically for this competition.
How has this Scholarship helped you get closer to achieving your dreams?
Participating in the Robert & Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship has given me the opportunity to study at Australia’s national school for ballet, Australian Ballet School, which a few years ago would have been beyond my wildest dreams. Training at the ABS has taken me one step closer to reaching my dream of dancing professionally with a ballet company.
You are currently in Level 5 at the Australian ballet school and have moved from Brisbane to Melbourne, what has this experience been like so far?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Australian Ballet School so far this year, and I love living in the busy city of Melbourne! I am at the ABS Marilyn Rowe Boarding House, which is my home away from home and I have made so many wonderful friendships with students from all over Australia and overseas. The training we receive is fantastic and the school is a beautiful, nurturing community which I am very fortunate to be a part of.
What is the best piece of performance advice you have ever heard?
My mum knows very little about ballet technique, so she always says to me whenever I perform to “Smile and don’t fall over!” Of course, I try to do both of those things when I am on the stage.
What advice would you give to someone that was thinking about entering Sydney Eisteddfod?
I would tell them to absolutely go for it! I also competed in 2015 and was so thrilled to make the semi-finals of the Robert & Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship. I was then very excited to make it to the Finals in 2016 as I wanted to go one step further, after working hard on my technique for 12 months. Winning the scholarship to the Australian Ballet School was a wonderful reward for my perseverance. So, whatever level you are at with your ballet, Sydney Eisteddfod can be the start of your journey. You never know - something wonderful (and life-changing!) may come out of the experience, like it did for me!