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by Leah Davies
Cumberland Newspapers
Courier Newspapers
April 29, 2009


Callum Hendr-Hudson, 8, 2009

CALLUM Hendry-Hodsdon, 8, of Lisarow, is the youngest dancer to perform on Graeme Murphy’s set of the ballet spectacular Nutcracker – The Story of Clara.

But ballet was not always this Central Coast Adventist School boy’s forte. While his younger sister Paloma, 6, practised her fondu and frappe at Honeybrook School of Dance at Balmain, Callum was busy ‘bending it like Beckham’ on the soccer field.

Two years ago however, watching Paloma and her ballerina classmates, Callum was mesmerised by their talent and the teacher invited him to join in.  That was the beginning of Callum’s real-life ‘Billy Elliot’ journey. He joined the dance school, the same school where his mother Emma Hendry, an ex-professional dancer, acquired her grace and skill to captivate an international audience.

Now Callum’s stardom has been taken to another bar – dance barre that is. He is the youngest dance extra among 24 children chosen to perform on Murphy’s sold-out interpretation of Nutcracker, one of the best known and loved ballets of all time.

“Callum opens act one and has his debut at a few acting stints,” Mrs Hendry said. “In act two, he is involved in a very advanced classical ballet piece which is a magnificent sight to see,” she said.

On top of this honour, Callum was recently accepted into the Australian Ballet School’s interstate training program at level one.

“Callum takes all this success in his stride and has received full support from all his school mates,” Mrs Hendry said. “It proves that dancing is not just for girls because even Callum, a country boy who loves to ride his bike, kick a ball and sit on the tractor with his dad, loves it.”

Emma Hendry left to pursue her dancing career in London at 16. Within the first two days of arriving, she auditioned for a West End musical and a feature film featuring the Pet Shop Boys, and was successful.  At age 20, she was performing on set and tragically fell and damaged her knee. After five years of rehabilitation, she was never to dance again.

“This was absolutely shocking news because I had lost everything I had ever worked for,” Mrs Hendry said.

Now she is a publicity production assistant and has worked with the likes of Michael Jackson and Elton John. “Life has really come full circle,” she said. “The past two years have been an absolute whirlwind and it’s so surreal what’s happening. I never would have imagined it this way – my little country boy is now a dancing star and I don’t know how I’m going to get him back to reality and school.”



© 2009 News Community Media

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