16 July 2014
If Daniel Russell is feeling pleased with himself at the moment, it is not without reason. Last week, the 18-year-old dancer from Umina Beach qualified for final round of the prestigious Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Ballet Scholarships, and on 3 August, he will compete against the cream of Australasia’s dancing talent in the Concert Hall at Sydney Opera House.
Carrying of prize purse of $36,000, these scholarships are the most valuable awards available to Australasian ballet students in the southern hemisphere. They unfailingly attract the best and this year drew a record total of 180 entries from all over Australia and New Zealand. Following a series of elimination heats and a semi final master class before adjudicators Rani Luther and Colin Peasley, the field whittled to the final eight and having survived every test, Daniel is proud to be among them.
With former ballerina Bronwyn Carey for a mother, Daniel has dancing in his blood, and despite his youth, he already has a wealth of professional stage experience to his credit. At the aged of 12, he played the title role in Billy Elliot, the musical at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne. When the show closed, he accepted an invitation to train in New York City, and in 2010 and 2011, he had the time of his life playing Billy on an extensive tour of North America.
On returning to Australia, Daniel completed his Higher School Certificate. Earlier this year, he successfully auditioned for a place in the Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Training Program and is now studying under direction of Linda Ridgway-Gamblin.
Daniel hopes to make his career with a professional dance company, preferably in America.
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