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HEATHER SMITH
Wollongong & Northern Leader
October 15, 2009

 

WHILE their friends are splashing about in the surf or kicking a football around during school holidays, the Martignago brothers of Figtree will be busy leaping and pointing at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. Zachary, 11, and Harley, 9, have just been accepted into the prestigious junior interstate/international training program for 2010.

“We’ll have to work five times as hard,” said Zachary. “We’ll have more lessons for longer.”

The pair trains five days a week for two hours a day at the Joanne Grace School of Dance in Fairy Meadow.

Teacher Ms Grace said the program was very difficult to get into, “regardless of whether it’s boys or girls”. They take whoever they see talent in and who fits the mould,” she said.

Ms Grace said the announcement came as a surprise. “Zac wasn’t accepted when he applied two years ago but, two years on, his technique has come a long way.”

She said the training program was a stepping stone to the Australian Ballet. “What this means is many years of hard work but the boys both have a desire to achieve and work extremely hard. Their passion for dance really shows in how hard they work.”

Mother Joanne Martignago said she was in awe of their commitment and talent. “They both have a strong passion for dancing and spend many hours a week training and attend many eisteddfods,” she said. “The bond between the brothers is inspirational and they encourage each other all the time.

“They have a younger sister who also dances and would love to follow in their footsteps.”

Mrs Martignago said dance was a family commitment and they loved every minute. The boys train every morning before school and do their homework in the car on the way to practice.

As well as ballet, the brothers – who have been dancing since they were two – study modern dance, jazz, tap, singing and drama. They both play soccer and jog with their Dad.

Harley said their friends at St Brigid’s Catholic primary school at Gwynneville were all pleased for them. “They said ‘well done’ and ‘congratulations’,” he said.

 

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