2020 HyoGrace

This Time Last Year, Ballet Scholarship Anniversary


Published: 26/08/2020 10:00am

If it wasn’t for the world pandemic, last Sunday would have been the day of one of our most well-known principal events, the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship.

This is one of our most universally loved events, and we are counting down until 2021 when we can relive it once again with some fresh young talent!

On the anniversary of the Scholarship, we caught up with the wonderfully talented Winners from 2019, Hyo Shimizu and Grace Carroll.


17-year-old Hyo Shimizu was the First-place Winner of the Ballet Scholarship last year and we asked him to reflect on what his experience was like in 2019. 

“It was truly one of the most magical moments of my life. An event I had been working hard towards for months prior to it and then to be able to participate among extraordinary dancers my age around the country was an incredible experience.

I learnt to keep my nerves under control while under a lot of pressure... representing myself as a dancer in the presence of a large audience, I learnt to make the most of the moment and give it my absolute EVERYTHING.

The moment the results were announced, thinking about all the work my teachers, parents and I had put in up until then, it was the most mind blowing and rewarding moment and it will be forever a special memory I will treasure”.

Grace Carroll, also 17 years-old now, was the Second-place Winner of the scholarship, taking out the prize for best dancer of the opposite sex on the day.

"It was such an honour for me to perform in the Sydney Eisteddfod Ballet Scholarship finals at the Sydney Opera House.

I still remember watching my older sister performing on that same stage years ago in the Ballet Scholarship, so it was very special for me to follow in her footsteps as I looked up to her a lot in my early years”.

After winning the Scholarship last year, Hyo has used his winnings to fund his training overseas at the Akademie des Tanzes Mannheim in Germany.

We asked Hyo how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected his studies and how he has managed to adapt to the circumstances in order to continue his training.

“After COVID-19 had reached Mannheim... the Academy was forced to shut down and I returned back home to Sydney. A few weeks after that, our Academy commenced online classes as per normal where I would do classes in my living room every day until the school year finished in July.

We were limited in the things that we could do... in a way, it was good to reset everything and work on basics and I have actually been able to improve in ways I wouldn’t have been able to, were I still in Germany.

Luckily, I was able to occasionally use studios to work and use the space in, and now I am currently back training fulltime here in Sydney, before I go back to Mannheim in September".

Grace was studying at the Paris Opera Ballet School this year but had to fly home back in March due to the pandemic and train remotely.

“I spent the first couple of months training in my living room hallway which spans about 2 metres. So, as you can imagine it was quite a challenge. However, I did the best I could with a daily barre and pointe work plus additional pilates and gyrokinesis which I have recently discovered!

I have been able to spend a bit more extra time with my family and also been able to go back to the Tanya Pearson Academy to prepare for my upcoming year”.

Grace is returning to the Royal Ballet School this month in readiness for her graduation year in September and she is looking forward to the fresh start!

“I am most looking forward to learning more about the classic Royal Ballet technique along with some of their gorgeous repertoire. I have been so eager to see and learn the divine works of Frederick Ashton and Kenneth Macmillan in the flesh so to be heading to the place where those works came to life is such a dream come true".

Hyo offered up some great advice for all our dance entrants who have been affected by the world pandemic and were unable to perform in the Festival this year.

“Think in a different way and use this chance to make the most of this opportunity to work and improve yourself.

There will almost be no opportunity like this in the future where there are no Eisteddfods, no performances and nowhere to go, just you and your work and what you can do with this precious time.

The Ballet Scholarship is a fantastic goal to have and a wonderful opportunity to test your strengths...

Now is the time to take a moment and think for yourself, think about the future, what are your dreams and goals, and new things you can discover about life and yourself”.

Grace also had some great words of wisdom about how every artist, everywhere, has in some way been affected by the hardships which this pandemic has created.

“It’s quite comforting to know that we, as artists, are all more or less feeling the same losses.

The best thing to do is to try your best to make the most out of this time by perhaps learning or creating something new.

This will keep us inspired, which ultimately is what will get us through this testing period”.


It was great to catchup with our two Ballet Scholarship stars from last year and we hope you all find their advice useful and make the most of this time to improve yourself and your skills.

Sydney Eisteddfod encourages all ballet dancers to continue to work towards a goal in this time, such as our Ballet Scholarship of 2021, so that we can all come out of this stronger than ever!

 Another more immediate opportunity you can take part in, is Sydney Eisteddfod's Crowd Favourite Performances, an International Online Performing Arts Competition!

Check it out at the link below and send in your performances for your chance to Win!