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Cootamundra Herald
September 08, 2010


PERSISTENCE has paid off for former Cootamundra dancer Liam Berg. The talented 17-year-old has been accepted into the prestigious Stuttgart Ballet Company in Germany.

A former student of both the Chris Edwards School of Dance and Christine Wishart Dance Studio, Liam will fly out tomorrow to spend the next two years under the tutelage of some of the most highly regarded dance teachers in the world.

Having studied at the specialist ballet academy Alegria in Woolloomooloo, Liam who has always dreamed of one day being part of an international dance company, sent audition DVDs to 12 different overseas companies including those in Canada, Portugal, Switzerland, London and America.

The young dancer was told by his teacher not to worry about sending audition DVD’s to Stuttgart. “I ignored my teacher and sent an audition tape anyway,” Liam said.

Liam was accepted into a number of different categories, resulting in Liam seriously re-thinking his future. “As soon as I heard I had been accepted into Stuttgart I decided this was the one I wanted to be part of,” Liam said.

During Liam’s time at Alegria, where he was offered a half scholarship in 2008 at the age of 14, he studied classical and contemporary ballet.

It is understood Liam is one of few Australians to ever be accepted into Stuttgart Ballet, which was the first major German ballet company.

Stuttgart Ballet rose to fame in the 1960’s and is renowned for presentations of full-length narrative ballets including Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Onegin and The Taming of the Shrew. The company is believed to be one of the world’s best ballet theatres for its combination of classical, story and new modern ballets.

Liam, who was only three years of age when he began dancing, said he is looking forward to taking what he has learnt in Australia to Germany and comparing the different routines, music rhythms and teaching styles of the two countries.

For Liam one of the biggest challenges will be the language barrier as he spends the next two years in a predominately non-English speaking country. “The company I am going to speaks English, but I have also done some German language study of my own to make things easier for me,” Liam said

Liam’s passion is classical ballet, however musical theatre and choreography are also areas he thoroughly enjoys.

The past 12 months have been a whirlwind for Liam as he completed examinations, solo routines and performances. He recently completed five major examinations through the Royal Academy of Dance receiving high distinctions.

Liam is currently awaiting his results for the Solo Seal Award with these results to act as the key mark in his career portfolio and in the future will allow entry into many other international ballet companies.

Liam had the opportunity to perform before Steven McRae, a former student of Alegria and current principal dancer for the Royal Academy of Dance in London. Liam said he was chuffed when Steven told him he had a good future. This praise from someone as high profile as Steven McRae will remain with Liam for life.

In July of this year, Liam was a semi finalist for the City of Sydney Scholarship where he was named one of the top 16 ballet dancers out of 160 performers throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Liam said he appreciates dance more now than when he was younger, knowing how hard he has to work to succeed. “I am prepared to work hard for what’s ahead of me,” Liam said. “My biggest challenge is to just keep going no matter how hard things may seem. If I want it I have to earn it.”

Liam last week enjoyed a brief visit to Cootamundra catching up with family and friends before his departure. His family hosted a small bon voyage party at the Arts Centre over the weekend.

Liam would like to thank his family, friends and former Cootamundra teachers Chris Edwards and Christine Wishart for their support over the years.


Copyright © 2010. Fairfax Media.

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