When Perth ballet dancer Brianna Scotford (17) commenced dance classes at her local ballet school at the age of two, no-one could have predicted that her passion would become her career. Fast forward 15 years and the dream is becoming a reality, with Scotford recently commencing in Level One of a three year program at the English National Ballet School (ENBS).
Scotford says as she’s grown up, her dreams have grown too. “The thing I was really sure of from a young age was that I wanted to work as a ballet dancer,” she says. She explains that initially she didn’t think beyond dancing in Perth, where her family and friends live, but gradually her eyes opened up to the rest of the world and the endless possibilities.
When she was 11, Scotford made the leap into fulltime dance training at The Perth School of Ballet. She started training at the school from 8 till 4, and completed her schooling, with her three older siblings, from home. “I have completed a ballet exam every year since I was six, first in CSTD and then Cecchetti for Intermediate and Advanced 2”. In August, 2019, she was awarded 100 per cent on her Advanced 2 Cecchetti exam.
In April 2018 she was invited to participate in the Spring Intensive at the Royal Ballet School and she also sent off an audition video to a number of European schools. In April last year she and a teacher from The Perth School of Ballet visited Amsterdam and Hamburg before heading to London to audition in person at the ENBS. “When we landed in the UK, I turned to my teacher and said, ‘I really want this one’,” she says.
Scotford loves how the ENBS creates dancers that are artists and have their own unique beauty. “I’ve never wanted to be in a class where everyone looks the same and you don’t get taught to stand out.” She explains: “I’ve never been the dancer who wins all the competitions and I’ve been disheartened many times”, but the experiences have taught her resilience. What really matters is “not trophies!” she adds.
For now, Scotford is focused on learning to perform well under pressure and says that she is inspired by watching dancers such as Marianela Núñez and Jessica Xuan who have “exquisite technique and gorgeous artistry”. In addition to her training at the ENBS, she has recently become a “Gaynor Girl” working as an ambassador for Gaynor Minden, who supply all her pointe shoes.
Though her family at home miss her, “we are unbelievably proud of her,” her mother Charissa says. ”We not only how hard she works and the countless hours she has dedicated to this artform, but Brianna is also a beautiful soul who we know is going to handle this next step with grace and maturity. We can’t wait to see her on the world’s stage!”
- MICHELLE DURSUN