Caroline Hamilton meets up with an audience favourite.
Dynamic dancer Tzu-Chao Chou was born in Taiwan where he began classes in traditional Chinese dance at the age of ten. "I was quite energetic as a little kid and mum thought it would be a good idea to get rid of my energy," he jokes. A few weeks after he joined the school, Russian Vaganova-trained teachers arrived to establish a ballet course. Tzu-Chao, as the only boy, recalls that they "snatched me into the ballet class". He soon fell in love with it, and after seeing a video of the Royal Ballet"s Swan Lake starring Anthony Dowell, he decided he really wanted to do this as his profession.
Tzu-Chao showed a real talent for ballet. His teachers wanted him to go to Russia, but his parents felt it was too far away. Instead they decided to send him to Melbourne where his brother was about to start studying. At 13 he began at the Victorian College of Arts Secondary College (VCASS). Having been trained in ballet so intensively, Tzu-Chao was unhappy with the variety of classes at VCASS. He went home after a year, only to return at fifteen. In Year 10 at VCASS he took joint academic classes with the Australian Ballet School (ABS). When asked by a teacher if he was ABS or VCASS he answered, "What's ABS? Is that the car shop? Car tyres? Er, no, I'm not from ABS." He finally realised what ABS actually was. "Oh my God, there is an Australian Ballet School -- just ballet!" Tzu-Chao auditioned and was accepted and a whole new world opened up to him...
This is an extract from an article by Caroline Hamilton in the current issue of Dance Australia! Read the full article! Buy Dance Australia from your favourite retail outlet, or use our free app to purchase and download your copy, or make sure you receive every issue by subscribing here!