As part of our 2020 Full-Time Studies Guide, we asked a number of graduates to describe their experience as full-time students. Read one account below and look out for more in our August/September issue… out now!
Duncan Lyle trained at Camberwell District Ballet School (Vic) before heading to the Royal Ballet School in London. He is now a member of the corps de ballet at American Ballet Theatre.
Where are you from?
Where did you undertake your full-time training?
For ten years (from ages 7 - 17) I trained at Camberwell District Ballet School before going to the Royal Ballet School in London for three years.
What level of education had you attained before beginning your full-time training?
I left Australia half way through Year 11 to join the Royal Ballet School. At RBS, I got some A-Level qualifications and a BTEC (British diploma) qualification.
How did you find the transition from full-time studies to the profession?
You’ve imagined how it’s going to be your whole life, but until you actually start working it’s all just speculation. Working in a ballet company is probably nothing like you imagined it was going to be. I was definitely apprehensive as I approached graduation from the Royal Ballet School. I was in my comfort zone in London. I was about to move to the US and I had no idea how I would fit in there or if I would actually like working. Ultimately it was, of course, fantastic. For me, performing is so much more fun than training, and I’m lucky that I’ve carved out an interesting and fulfilling niche for myself at American Ballet Theatre (ABT).
What were the most important benefits of your studies?
At Camberwell District Ballet I was fortunate in having strong Russian training that gave me a good sense of epaulement and port de bras - two things I think are incredibly important.
Tell us a little about your present job
I’m a corps de ballet dancer with ABT where I’m lucky enough to frequently perform featured roles. Some highlights have been dancing a Stomper in Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, Kaschei in Alexei Ratmansky’s Firebird and St John Rivers in Cathy Marston’s Jane Eyre; and creating a role in Wayne MacGregor’s AfteRite, creating Ladislav Slivovitz in Ratmansky’s Whipped Cream and Leandre in Ratmansky’s Harlequinade.
We tour around the US and the world for most of the year and then the season culminates in our epic eight week season at the Metropolitan Opera House.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were a student?
The more versatile you are as a dancer, the more opportunities will come your way.
Don't miss this year's Full-Time Studies Guide, the most comprehensive in Australia! The Full-Time Studies Guide is in the August/September edition of Dance Australia... out now! Subscribe to Dance Australia here or Dance Australia at your favourite retail outlet, or online here.