Skip navigation

Andra Jackson

The Age
December 3, 2008
 

 

Brett_Chynoweth

FOR the past eight years, since he was 10, Brett Chynoweth has risen earlier than other boys his age to face a long, arduous day in pursuit of his dream. Each day has been filled with physical training and study.

What fuelled this son of a plasterer from Scoresby was the dream of one day dancing on the nation’s ballet stages. It carried him through eight years of demanding training with the Australian Ballet School to graduate this Sunday with an advanced diploma of dance.

He is the first person to complete the eight-year training course, introduced by Marilyn Rowe, OBE, after she became the school’s director in 1999. It adopts the Kirov Ballet’s Vaganova Academy approach of cultivating a strong classical technique, artistry and musicality.

There was no history of an interest in ballet in Brett’s family but he was introduced to the art through the “baby’s group” his mother joined. It organised activities for their little ones, including ballet classes that Brett’s older brother attended. “I used to watch him and I became captivated,” he explained.

His brother dropped ballet, while the eager Brett had his first ballet class at age five. Two years later, he showed such promise that he was taken on by the Australian Ballet School.

For four years, he attended its part-time junior school from 4.30pm to 7pm after Glendal Primary School in Glen Waverley from 9am to 3pm. He was the first and youngest child to go on an Australian Ballet School tour as the Nutcracker in its 2002 end-of-year production.

By age 14, he was standing at Glen Waverley railway station each morning to catch the 6.59 train to get him to school for a warm-up session, before 8.30am training. For the next four years, he was full-time at the ballet school, including Saturdays, in combination with study at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.

The rigours of training came at a personal cost, such as sitting down to meals alone because he arrived home too late for family meals. But he finds the sacrifices fade away under “the adrenaline rush” of performing before a live audience or with an orchestra.

And he finds a sense of “the surreal” in his involvement in the school’s production on Friday and Saturday nights of Nutcracker: The Gift of a Dream at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

He has been mentoring Brodie Linford, 10, to play the role of the Nutcracker — a role he performed 64 times.

And last month he realised his dream — with the offer of a contract from the Australian Ballet.

 

Copyright © 2008 Fairfax Digital

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: