Emma Dowling2

Emma Dowling, finalist in the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship. Photo: WinkiPoP Media

An interview with Emma Dowling


Emma Dowling talks about her passion for dance, what she has learned from her experience performing in Sydney Eisteddfod and the solos she chose to perform in The Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship Final. 

What inspired your passion for ballet?

My passion for ballet grew over several years and as each year passed I started to love it more and more. Once I turned 12 I was invited to do the part time coaching program and this was when I realized that I wanted to become a ballerina. Never once have I doubted my decision to pursue ballet in a full time capacity.

what inspired you to start dancing?

I was first introduced to ballet when I was 8 years old and went to see my sister perform at her end of year concert at the Jane Moore Academy of Ballet. I was totally mesmerized by ballet and knew from that moment on that this was what I wanted to pursue. Before I started ballet, I had already done several years of calisthenics and gymnastics which prepared me well for the discipline of ballet. 


Aurora Act 3 is a variation from the ballet Sleeping Beauty, which is my personal favorite.  Aurora is dancing for all the guests at her wedding in this solo. I chose this variation because I think it is one of the most traditional classical ballet variations and I feel like a true ballerina when I perform this solo.

Tell us a little bit about the free variation you also performed.   

My contemporary piece titled “Broken” solo starts with the dancer portraying their vulnerability and almost shame to a degree. Many people  experience these feelings but it is especially evident in adolescent and young adult females. The solo pushes the dancer to break out from this mentality and find  strength and reflection to reconcile with these negative feelings and find self acceptance.

Which other performers do you most like to watch, and why? 

I would say Marianela Nunez is definitely one of my favorite ballet dancers to watch. She is such a beautiful performer with amazing skills and technique. One of my favorite qualities about her is the way she gives the perfect personality to each character she dances, it really takes you into the story of the ballet.  

What is the best piece of performance advice you've ever heard?

One of the teachers from my ballet school, Miss Claire, always tells us to remember that dancing is about giving out. You still need to dance for yourself of course, but you need to share the story, your feelings and energy with the audience.  She always tells us that the best performers are the ones that are generous with their dancing and really connect with the audience.

What have you learnt from your Sydney Eisteddfod experience? 

The most important thing I’ve learnt from my experience at the Sydney Eisteddfod is to not doubt myself. The older I get and the more I perform, the more confidence I build for my performances. One of my struggles is probably how I doubt my ability, and I feel that this competition was the first time I just gave my all and totally went for it! I left my fears and doubts behind me and that really helped me to get as far as I did.