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By Nikita Vaz
Latrobe Valley Express
January 23, 2012

Australia Day will mark the beginning of a journey to international shores for Latrobe Valley ballerino Calvin Richardson.

Legs perfectly crossed and [ballet] shoes at hand, Calvin spoke to The Express about being the only male performer to represent Australia at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland.

The weight of competing with 79 other young professional dancers, at what has been heralded as one of the world’s biggest ballet competitions, hasn’t affected the 17 year-old, yet. “I still can’t really believe it; it doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening,” Calvin said. “I don’t think it will really sink in until I get there, I suppose.”

Calvin’s talent for the performing arts comes as no surprise, as the Richardson family boasts a long line of dancers, artists and an aunty who’s “definitely the dramatic driving force in the family”.

“I’ve been dancing since I was five; my sisters danced and I was dragged along to their classes,” he said. “But I didn’t really like (ballet) until 2009 when I got into the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.  “I enjoyed tap dancing and jazz, that is what I was passionate about, but once I got into school, everything just opened up from there.”

Calvin will make his debut performance on the international stage along with young international dance aspirants across the globe.

The Prix de Lausanne will not only give the young ballerino his first taste at performing internationally, but could possibly open the door to scholarships or an apprenticeship. “The whole aim of the competition is to help young people who want to go into it as a career and give them opportunities,” Calvin said. “It’s an internationally acclaimed competition so there are major companies who come and offer scholarships.”

So does the added pressure of trying to catch the eye of some of the industry’s bigwigs add to the pressure? “When I’m backstage, the nerves do build up but when your own stage just doing what you love, it’s not a big deal at all,” he said.

“I’ll admit I’m never going to be perfect, but just getting the chance to perform after all the work you put in, is a pretty big achievement in itself.”

Copyright © 2012. Fairfax Media

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