Graduate story: Zai Calliste

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Trained: Annette Roselli Dance Academy, Brisbane
Now: English National Ballet School, London.


Photo by George Liang
Photo by George Liang

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

A professional classical dancer requires a plethora of diverse dexterities and an innate talent to interpret and communicate stories and feelings through the aesthetic form of dance. Yet what appears artful and flawless onstage is the result of much more than natural talent. There are other characteristics necessitated in the pursuit of career in dance, such as physical and mental stamina, perseverance, memory retention, patience and ongoing working knowledge to provoke and connect audiences to the magic of performance. Countless hours are spent in the pursuit of technical prowess, so being afforded an incredible opportunity to train with Annette Roselli and her extensively talented team in the Elite Training Program taught me many valuable and long-lasting lessons.

The main life-lesson obtained from my time at the school is definitely patience. Patience is not our enemy; rather, it is a dancer’s best friend. Patience is needed for the days when things are not going your way, or your body isn’t playing the game – patience for yourself as you retrain and relearn each and every day. The journey is your own, and it’s the journey through patience that sees personal gains, no matter how big or small. 

 Did your original career aim change from when you started your studies to when you graduated?

Embarking on my dancing journey, age seven, I was immediately drawn to the precision and prowess of dance movement, diversity of dance styles, artistry and power of expression through the body that dance could afford me. Participating in the 2016 Junior Genee, in Sydney, age 12, became the springboard for the pursuit of my career in dance. Studying at Annette Roselli Dance Academy in a full-time capacity further solidified and fuelled my passion to pursue ballet as a professional career. It was the individualised coaching, a personalised approach and teacher professional experience that facilitated my entry into the English National Ballet School, where I am currently studying.

Zai 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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