Melbourne teen Karli Dinardo boarded a plane this week, bound for New York and the next incredible chapter of her life: study at the famed American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). This academy is America’s premier college of performing arts, with past alumni including Jason Derulo, Gretchen Mol and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Karli (17) has landed a scholarship to study the two-year Integrated Conservatory Program at AMDA which is specifically designed for performers who want to become a triple threat: specialising in acting, musicianship and dance.  Prior to leaving she had been a student at Patrick Dance Studios for five years and was a member of its Elite Squad. 

She had also just completed her VCE, obtaining an enter score of 94 - which probably went a long way towards securing her the scholarship in the course, as prerequisites for consideration for the bursary are contingent not just on the student’s performance ability but also academic merit.

Applications to AMDA are accepted from all over the world but the initial process involves prospective students submitting essay style answers to three questions as well as having relevant performance experience. Auditions are then granted on the basis of these applications.

Successful applicants are then contacted and advised of audition times and locations (AMDA auditioned in 20 countries last year). This year Australian applicants were auditioned in Melbourne (30 or more attended there) as well as Sydney. For Dinardo’s audition she was asked to prepare a dance solo of her own choreography (in any style), as well as a two-minute monologue and a two-minute “song” performance.

The audition took place on Dec 18 – luckily her VCE exams were over by mid-November so she had “an intense few weeks solely focusing on all the applications and preparations . . . "but they (AMDA) can’t help you enough”, she says. She was notified she’d been awarded a place in the course and the scholarship in early January, and starts her first semester on the New York campus in mid-February.


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