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By Claire Low
The Canberra Times
Photograph by  Andrew Sheargold
January 12, 2012

Jordan Dwight is about to make his biggest leap yet – the grandest of jete that will propel him out of dance classes in Canberra and into a full-time spot at the Australian Ballet School.  The 14-year-old Queanbeyan lad is one of only four boys offered a place at the prestigious school’s 2012 full-time program.

For the talented teens, school starts in Melbourne in the last week of January. From there, studies can lead to a spot in the Australia Ballet company, or other careers in performing arts.

Jordan, schooled at Dance City in Hume, has been a dancer since the age of seven. ”I’ve always danced in my room,” he said. ”I relax, I de-stress when I dance. I feel more comfortable when I’m dancing.”

Harder than the dancing itself is balancing his 26 hours of dancing per week against the rest of the commitments in his life. ”Like, it’s so stressful when it comes to schoolwork and friends and dancing and having a social life,” he said.

Not everyone has been accepting of his dancing. He faced down insults hurled by bullies in primary school, [but] I haven’t had that since Year 1. By the time I was in Year 8 I learned to get over it. ”People underestimate my strength because of how small and skinny I am.”

He said he hoped the school would help further his ultimate goal, which is musical theatre. Jordan, who can also sing, act, tap dance and is a trained acrobat, said his ultimate role would be the phantom in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Phantom of the Opera.

His teacher, Amy Fitzpatrick, said she had mixed emotions about her prize pupil leaving town. ”But this is what we train them for if they’re good enough: to move them on to bigger and better things.”

She described Jordan as a prodigy and one of the strongest students the school has produced. He was a rarity anyway as the school had just five male dancers.

”He has always been the person to beat. His natural instincts for dancing have always stood out.

”You only have to say something once about a piece of choreography or a feeling you’re trying to achieve and his mind can put it straight to the muscle and reproduce what it is.”

Jordan’s full-time position at the school follows on from four years of taking part in the interstate junior program for gifted children at the invitation of the Australian Ballet School.

Fitzpatrick raved about his flexibility, his high leaps and his spinning. She said now was an exciting time to be a dance teacher because students could access footage of performances around the world and learn from them, making them able to perform feats unheard of when she was their age. ”They’re ambitious, they’re competitive, and they want it,” she said.

© Copyright  2012. Fairfax Media

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