Emily Seymour on stage at Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Over the years, Sydney Eisteddfod has played an integral part in the journey and education of some of the best ballet dancers Australia has ever produced. Emily Seymour, Caleb Durbin and Rhys Kosakowski, Sydney Eisteddfod veterans and now residents in the Houston Ballet, stand testament to this.
Across the months of June and July 2016, they will return to Australia in Houston Ballet's touring production of Stanton Welch’s Romeo and Juliet. The production will be performed at the State Theatre in Melbourne and is a great opportunity for them to return home and perform for Australian audiences once again. Houston Ballet is regarded as one of the top companies in the United States, and Sydney Eisteddfod is very proud to have three alumni go on to such respected residencies.
According to Emily Seymour, this upcoming trip home has given her an opportunity to reflect on her time with the Houston Ballet and how she has grown not only as a dancer but as an individual.
“Working with the amazing teachers and artists here in Houston, has been the most incredible experience. I have learnt so much over the past 3 years and I will always cherish every moment. Growing up I always dreamt of becoming a ballerina, however it was through competing in competitions such as Sydney Eisteddfod that really prepared and encouraged me to pursue it as a career.
"I was in Houston Ballet's second company (HBII) from July 2013 to June 2015 and then joined Houston Ballet as an Apprentice from August 2015 to present. While I was in HBII, I had the privilege of performing in numerous ballets such as Stanton Welch's Swan Lake, Blue, A Time to Dance, Fingerprints, A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, Brigade and La Bayadere; John Neumeier's A Midsummer Night's Dream; as well as many others choreographed by the likes of David Bentley, George Balanchine, Harald Lander and David Lichine.
"Shortly after joining the company, I got the opportunity to perform my first soloist role as Clara in Ben Stevenson's Nutcracker. This definitely has been my favourite experience as a company member and getting to perform this role was such an honour especially as it was Houston Ballet's last year dancing this version after 29 years!
"Over the past few months, I have been busy rehearsing with Rhys Kosakowski and Caleb Durbin, my fellow Australians for our upcoming tour to Melbourne with Stanton Welch's Romeo and Juliet. I am super excited to introduce the amazing city of Melbourne to all our colleagues but most excited to perform with them all in my home country.”
All three competed and performed on Sydney Eisteddfod stages for many years, often to great success. In 2012, her final year before being selected by the Houston Ballet, Emily Seymour took out top prize in both the Jazz Dance (15 yrs) event and the Contemporary (15 yrs) event. She also was runner up in the Wenkart Foundation Ballet Championship and awarded highly commended for her efforts in both the Robert & Elizabeth Albert Dance Championship and the Robert & Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship.
In that same year, Caleb Durbin, competed in the semi finals for the Robert & Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship as well as the finals for the Classical Ballet (15 yrs) event. In addition to this, he received a Highly Commended in the Contemporary Dance (15 yrs) event. However, 2013 was Caleb's year as he was announced winner of the Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald's Ballet Scholarship.
It has been some time since, Rhys Kosakowski, has graced our stages, however he in his final year he was awarded a place as a finalist in the 2010 McDonald’s Ballet Scholarships (16-19 yrs).