Like many little girls, Wingham’s Ava Gilbert dreams of becoming a professional ballerina and touring the world dancing.
Luckily, she is one step closer to realising her dreams.
The nine-year-old student of Kerrie Renee Dance Studio has been accepted into the Australian Ballet School International/Interstate Training Programme (ITP) for 2019.
Dancers from all over the country auditioned earlier in the year for a coveted place on the program.
Ava’s parents, Renee and Andrew Gilbert, took their tiny dancer all the way to Brisbane for the national auditions in July.
“It was an incredibly long wait for the results,” admitted Renee.
“We waited months for that envelope to arrive,” she laughs.
Fortunately the letter arrived during the September school holidays, bearing the Australian Ballet School logo, and Ava couldn’t wait to rip it open.
“We were both nervous and excited to see the results.”
Ava was overcome with emotion at being accepted, and to have achieved a goal she set herself many months before.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Ava to travel to Melbourne as much as we can afford to take her next year,” said Renee.
The family hopes to be able to take Ava each month so she can take advantage of the numerous elite level classes available to students of the Australian Ballet School.
She’ll be learning with some of Australia’s best ballet dancers.
The Australian Ballet School is Australia’s national centre for elite vocational classical dance and the school of The Australian Ballet.
The school aims to produce graduates of the highest calibre who can integrate easily into The Australian Ballet and top professional dance companies in Australia and around the world.
Ava fell in love with dancing from a young age and started at just four-years-old.
“Dancing is not in the family,” said Renee
“So we thought we’d just see how she likes it and she just loved it from the very first moment.”
Ava flourished under the guidance of Miss Kerrie Bates of Kerrie Renee Dance Studio and currently trains five days a week at the Wingham studio.
“She’s 100 per cent committed,” said Renee.
Ava has enjoyed plenty of opportunities locally to hone her skills and gain confidence on stage.
Last month she performed in the Kerrie Renee Dance Studio end of year concert at the Manning Entertainment Centre and this month joined her fellow dancers at the Taree Carols in the Park.
Ahead of the ITP program, Ava will start 2019 with an equally exciting experience.
She has also been accepted to perform with the Brisbane City Youth Ballet Junior Extension Company for the 2019 season of The Wizard of Oz.
Ava will travel to Brisbane in January for 16 days of rehearsals before performing for three days in five sold out shows at the Queensland Conservatorium.
An audience of around 3500 will see her dance.
Audition was via DVD submission and the opportunity will give Ava the “full ballet experience” by dancing with more than 90 dancers in a professional production complete with colourful costumes.
“She’s going to have a wonderful experience,” said Renee.
“My husband Andrew and I are so incredibly proud of her.”