Larissa Kiyoto-Ward, First-place Winner of the 2016 Sydney Eisteddfod Robert and Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship, has just begun her career as an artist of The Australian Ballet.
At the young age of 17, she has been accepted as a dancer of the Corps de Ballet with the prestigious ballet company.
Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, she began dance classes at the very young age of four. Larissa has trained at the Mount Eden Ballet Academy and The Australian Ballet School.
We caught up with Larissa to hear all about her dance journey with the prestigious company so far.
"It has been a very exciting journey! For the short amount of time we were in the studio (before lockdown), it was so inspiring to see all the other dancers in class and feeling like a professional", Larissa tells Sydney Eisteddfod.
She is hoping that next year she will get the full company experience in the studio as everyone hopes for a much simpler year in 2021!
"I hope to learn many things! I think that there is still so much that I don’t know and need to learn about, I’m excited to see what comes my way".
In 2016, Larissa received First-place in our Robert and Elizabeth Albert Junior Classical Ballet Scholarship and is very grateful for the whole experience.
She told Sydney Eisteddfod that the Scholarship experience was instrumental in building her confidence, helped her immensely in her journey to become a professional Ballet Dancer.
"The whole process of the competition was so nerve wracking but exciting because I had never really done anything like it before.
Dancing in the Sydney Eisteddfod really helped me build my confidence, and it was also really inspiring to see so many talented dancers! I’m very grateful for the competition because it helped me on my journey to becoming a professional ballet dancer".
Larissa recommends all aspiring dancers who dream of becoming an artists with The Australian Ballet to enter competitions like Sydney Eisteddfod and to always have fun on stage!
"When you dance competitively it’s so easy to get swept up in what the judges are thinking that you forget that you need to dance for yourself.
If you are having a bad day or didn’t dance so well on a certain day, learn from it and keep trying. Dancing’s only enjoyable when you’re having fun!"
To those performing in Sydney Eisteddfod, Larissa advises dancers to not constantly compare yourself to others.
Use the opportunity to learn from others and enhance your own technique, rather than get too caught up in competitiveness.
"It’s especially hard in ballet and when you’re competing to remember that everyone is different, and everyone is at different stages of their career.
Taking inspiration from others is a good thing but trying to become someone else is not.
There is only one you in this world so be the best ‘you’, you can be!"