Meet the graduate: Jarryd Madden

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Trained: National Theatre Ballet School in St.Kilda, Melbourne Victoria.
Now: Senior Artist with the Australian Ballet.

Jarryd Madden in 'Spartacus'. Photo: Tim Coleman
Jarryd Madden in 'Spartacus'. Photo: Tim Coleman

With fewer than usual auditions and performance opportunities at present, have you found other outlets for your talents or artistic expression? 

Yes, thankfully. I have been passionate about "entertainment" more so than ballet, my whole life. When I was 14 I saw the Australian Ballet perform Spartacus at the Sydney Opera House and was immediately mesmerized, not just by the ballet, but how emotional it was and the entertainment aspect of the evening. So my ballet career is simply a refinement of my passion of all things entertaining. When Melbourne was in the depths of lockdown, I satisfied my artistic outlets by creating movies on my computer, drawing in my sketchbook and, fairly recently, teaching myself the guitar.

It is a humbling experience to start from the beginning of another skill such as the guitar. I have been practising ballet since I was three and have been professional for 15 years now. But to start again from scratch with an instrument is terrifying because I know how long it takes to be proficient in a physical practice. A dream would be to play in a rock band as the lead guitarist! 

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

Although professional dancing is the immediate goal, the transferable skills you acquire throughout your training and career will set you up for life. I have never met a full time ballet student who wasn’t already professional and dedicated. To choose a career in ballet means there are sacrifices you make at an early age. Training full-time requires a lot of time and focus, but through this, you also unknowingly develop attributes like commitment, drive and passion. If dancers apply themselves to other studies or careers with the same amount of fervour, you will be super successful.

 Have you seen our Full-Time Studies Guide? It's in the July/Aug/Sep issue of Dance Australia - OUT NOW. Print is for keeps. Buy now from your favourite retail outlet or subscribe here. 

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