Makensie Henson on stage at Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Makensie Henson, 2016 Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship finalist, spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about her biggest inspirations, her favourite performers to watch and what she hopes to achieve in the future. She also revealed the inspiration behind her Classical Variation and Free Variation choices.
What inspired your passion for ballet?
My passion for classical ballet has been inspired through my love of music and movement, and the way a story can be told through this. The experience of sitting in a beautiful theatre and watching Ballets being performed by accomplished artists encourages me to continue to follow my dreams.
what inspired you to start dancing?
I have always loved the feeling of joy and the freedom I feel when I dance. I think it first dawned on me that this was my dream after reading about Darcey Bussell and her journey to becoming a ballerina. My ballet teacher Nicole Marshman planted the seed that made me dare to hope that one day I could be like Darcey if I work hard. Miss Bowen and Miss Heidi have given me the confidence to make it a reality and helped me get a step closer to my dream.
Who inspires you and why?
The ballerina that most inspires me is Royal Ballet Artist, Marianela Nunez. To me she is the ‘perfect’ ballerina. Marianela has so many beautiful qualities, from her artistry and the ease of movement when she dances, to her perfect control and placement of her entire body. Every time I watch her I am mesmerized and taken to a place that gives me joy, happiness and the belief that one day, I too can be just like her.
Tell us a little bit about the classical variation and free variation that you performed and why you chose to perform them at the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship final?
Giselle has always been my favourite ballet and I chose this Variation as I feel a special connection with this character. Although I live in a different era, I think there are many parallels between Giselle’s life and mine, such as ‘innocence’ and ‘love of dance’. I can’t pretend to be having the same experiences as her but I think my personality gives me a good place to start trying to understand her in Act 1.
My Contemporary Solo Dreamtime Serpent, was a commissioned contemporary piece for the Jacqueline Morland Awards in Queensland in 2015. The choreography was so unusual and I loved the movement quality, I felt a real connection to this solo. We approached the choreographer Mr Paul Boyd about using it for the Genée International Ballet Competition and I have really enjoyed the challenge of trying to achieve Mr Boyd’s vision and to move my body in such a sinuous, animalistic and fluid way.
What other performers do you most like to watch and why?
I like performers who are passionate about what they do. When I listen to Adele sing, I know that she is putting her heart and soul into the music. When I watch Diana Vishneva dance contemporary pieces, I feel so moved. That’s what I want my audience to feel, so that’s what inspires me.
What is the best piece of performance advice you’ve ever heard?
Take time for yourself to get in the ‘zone’ before you perform. It is essential that you take your time to gather your emotions and energy because once you get out on stage you’ll be giving a part of yourself to the audience and you need to have something built up to give.
What are you hoping to achieve next?
I hope to continue to mature not only as a dancer but as a person as well. Experiencing different cultures, seeing new things, being exposed to accomplished choreographers, artists and teachers from all around the world, will not only enrich my dancing and give it more depth, but allow me to grow personally and professionally and be more understanding of the world around me.