Australian dancer Liam Morris, a member of the Estonian National Ballet, reflects on his experiences as a full-time dance student. This interview is part of a series created for Dance Australia's 2020 Full-Time Studies Guide.
Melbourne-born Liam studied at the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet under Christine Walsh and Ricardo Ella and then later at the English National Ballet School. His training taught him the importance of hard work and of “pushing himself on a daily basis”. As a result, he found it easy making the transition into a professional career. “My training prepared me not only physically but mentally as to what is expected as a professional dancer and how to push myself.”
Liam applied to around 45 companies. “Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Romanian National Opera offered me the chance to audition. I was then fortunate enough to receive a contract with the Romanian National Opera”.
He is now in the Estonian National Ballet – and loves it. “We are a medium-sized company under the direction of Toomas Edur with good facilities and versatile and challenging repertoire. The working atmosphere here has the sense of being part of a team and allows the dancers the opportunity to grow in a nurturing and positive manner.”
In retrospect, he now realises that when he was a student he was in too much of a hurry to improve before getting his first job. “Once you’re in a company,” he says, “the process of improvement is much slower and gradual. If you go into a company with a ‘rushing’ mentality you could mentally burn out when you don’t see results or progress as quickly as before.
“I had to learn this the hard way and got very depressed in the process. Since then I have changed my way of thinking to a much calmer approach and it has helped me immensely. It’s important to work hard but also to be patient.”
This interview was part of our 2020 Full-Time Studies Guide, published in the August/September 2019 issue of Dance Australia. Subscribe to Dance Australia here or Dance Australia at your favourite retail outlet, or online here.
Pictured top: Liam Morris. Photo: HARRI ROSPU.