Sneak peek: Full-Time Guide graduate story Martelle Cho
The next issue of 'Dance Australia' features our annual pullout Full-Time Studies Guide - a comprehensive list of dance courses which includes inspiring personal accounts by graduates of their study experience. Look out for the Spring (September/October/November) issue - OUT SOON!
In the meantime, enjoy Martelle Cho's story below.
Graduate, Australian Conservatoire of Ballet in Richmond, Vic (now Melbourne Conservatoire of Ballet);
Graduate of John Cranko Schule in Stuttgart, Germany;
Recently joined Norwegian National Ballet II.
I started with Australian Conservatoire of Ballet (currently MBC) in 2016. After two-and-a-half years, I graduated with my Advanced Diploma of Dance. I embarked on a two-month audition tour in Europe and the UK. From September, 2018, I began another full-time training course at the John Cranko Ballett Schule.
I completed my academic education at Methodist Ladies’ College until Year 10, and then completed the rest of my schooling via Distance Education when I was accepted into ACB.
Did you make any unexpected discoveries while undertaking your full-time studies?
I learnt a lot about my body; as I began the full-time course at a young age (15), the anatomy of ballet was a big lesson for me, such as how to avoid injuries by strengthening muscles specifically dedicated to classical ballet. I discovered different styles of dance too, such as character dance, Flamenco, and grounded contemporary style and I ventured into improvisational skills in modern dance.
The strict, tough and regimented training at ACB gave me the incentive to work 110% everyday and I was determined to improve and grow as a ballet dancer.
What was one of the main life lessons you gained from full-time studies?
When I first arrived at ACB, the first point of difference was the extremely high standard, quality and dedication of the teachers, which I hadn’t encountered before. I found that ACB were very focused on achieving high-standard European/Russian style ballet aimed at finding success in Europe and UK. From this professionalism, I gained inspiration and motivation to fulfil my highest potential.“Work harder to make it easier,” Valmai (my 2nd year teacher at ACB) would say.
I learnt discipline, essential when I didn’t feel like dancing some days, determination, staying motivated when there are times you want to give up and persistence - having the drive to keep going.
What is your best memory of your studies?
My top three highlights are - performing in my favourite ballet, Swan Lake, as one of the four little swans (cygnets), along with a mesmerizing, magical live orchestra at the Melbourne Arts Centre (2017);
- Performing and dancing along side with some of the world’s greatest professional ballet dancers in the 2017 ACB International Ballet Gala;
- Performing Air by Uwe Scholz on the Stuttgart Opera House stage with John Cranko Schule in 2019.
How and when did you gain a professional position?
I began my company auditions in January, 2020, before my final graduation year even ended at John Cranko Schule. I was lucky enough to be offered a contract with Hungarian National Ballet and Norwegian National Ballet II. I will begin with Norwegian National Ballet II in August. I am so honoured and excited to be working with them.
What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you were a student?
Of course there were hard moments, especially the rejection emails from schools/companies, but all in all, it pushed me harder and I always learnt something from everything. As of now, I wouldn’t have it any other way, as I am content with the steps and decisions I had made thus far that have brought me to the dancer I am today.
Photo: BELINDA STRODDER