Best memory: NZSD graduate Jack Whiter

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Did your original career aim change from when you started your studies to when you graduated?

When I moved to New Zealand (from Canberra), I originally wanted to go to university and study chemistry or possibly teaching after graduating dance school. However, once I started at New Zealand School of Dance, I realised that career prospects in the dance industry were looking quite positive and I enjoyed dancing each day. Following graduation I earnt a Young Artist Scholarship at West Australian Ballet and am now in the Corps de Ballet.

I’ll look to reassess towards the end of my dance career, but I’m really enjoying my journey. I’ve been able to choreograph works for WAB’s Genesis seasons which has given me the motivation to look at options within the dance industry following my time as a dancer.

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

I originally thought that moving away from home would be the biggest challenge and lesson, but I found that the support of classmates and community around the school created a great atmosphere.

The biggest life-lesson I found was around comparing myself to others; as when I first arrived I of course felt quite out of my depth and critical of my own technique and strength. For me, not getting disheartened and instead using those around you to positively motivate your learning and looking at your progression long term was the best way to achieve your goals.

Full-time dance studies aren’t defined by one particular day, but are more an accumulation of the work that you put in over the years that you are there. In my early days I’d compare my lifts to others, and the lesson for that was simply persevering and slowly but surely building strength, and ultimately one day completing big lifts. The lesson is really that each dancer has their own journey and path of growth to embark on, you just have to stay committed.

Watch Jack talk about his favourite memory: performing the Grand Pas de deux from 'Don Quixote' at a school performance.

 The Full-Time Studies Guide is published in the July/August/September issue of Dance Australia. Buy from your favourite dance retail outlet or go here and never miss an issue!

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