Graduate story: Nae Kojima

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Trained: Amanda Bollinger Dance Academy, Qld
Now: The Joffrey Ballet, USA.

Photo by Stephan Bollinger.
Photo by Stephan Bollinger.

What is your best memory of your full-time dance studies?

Practically being my second home growing up, I have nothing but fond memories of my time at Amanda Bollinger Dance Academy (ABDA). Although I struggled during the initial transition from being a regular highschooler to a full-time ballet student at the age of 16, my fellow classmates and teachers were incredibly encouraging and supportive. They were my daily inspiration and I treasured every moment in the studios with my peers. I loved dancing with them every day, watching them, learning from them and even travelling with them! Spending Easter weekend in Wellington with them for the Alana Haines Awards was definitely a highlight.

What was one of the main life-lessons you learnt through your full-time studies?

My full-time studies taught me a variety of life-lessons including how to be resilient, disciplined, how to look after myself both physically and mentally, and to have perseverance and never give up. However, the biggest life-lesson on top of all of this is recognising that it’s okay to not take ballet too seriously sometimes and that there is much more to life outside of the ballet world. I remember getting so caught up as a student with my training, academic exams, the way I looked, etc. that I never gave myself the time to breathe and enjoy much else other than ballet. Just in recent years, I am learning that the more experiences I gain as a “normal” person outside of the studios, the more I am able to dive deeper into my passion and identity as an artist on stage.


Nae is one of a number of featured graduates who tell their stories in the Full-Time Studies Guide in the current issue of Dance Australia (July/August/September). Print is for keeps! Buy your issue in your favourite newsagent or dance retailer or online here or here.

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