Shepparton dancers gain lessons from Australian Ballet stars

By Morgan Dyer

Two lucky students from Goulburn Valley Academy of Dance had the opportunity to take part in a virtual dance mentoring lessons and the chance to meet their idols from The Australian Ballet.

In partnership with Telstra, young Shepparton locals Sarah Tolliday and Nikita Alexandrow took part in a virtual mentoring session which connected the students to two Australian Ballet dancers.

Telstra's partnership with The Australian Ballet saw the students connected to professional ballet studios and company dancers Edward Smith and Yuumi Yamada who took them through a guided mentoring lesson.

The budding dancers had the opportunity to work with professional dancers and get feedback from people in the dancing industry.

Mr Smith said he hoped the 45-minute session would help the Shepparton dancers with their future careers.

“We got to hand down some really good technical advice, including advice about when you’re on stage and performing, as well tips on how to get into the career and how to keep working and working your body the right way,” Mr Smith said.

The young dancers’ dreams came true on Saturday as they got to meet Mr Smith and Ms Yamada when they were in Shepparton to perform in Australian Ballet presentation of Coppelia at Riverlinks.

Goulburn Valley Academy of Dance student Sarah Tolliday said it was an incredible experience. 

“In Shepparton it’s very rare, if not non-existent, to get opportunities like this so I felt really lucky,” she said.

Telstra's Victorian community engagement specialist Marcus Swinburne said Telstra's innovative technology allowed the students to be connected to their mentors when they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to.

“Our technology is advancing, and it gives us a greater opportunity to close that gap between regional and rural communities and the opportunities that exist in capital cities,” Mr Swinburne said.

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