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By Ingrid Piper
Photograph by Andy Drewitt
The Daily Telegraph
March 12, 2013

Boys at the Australian Ballet School 2013

There’s nothing “girly” about ballet when you have to get up at 6.30am to do homework, leaving after-school hours free to do a 1 1/2 hour dance class, followed by stretching and conditioning sessions.

Inspired by movies such as Billy Elliot and reality TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, 40 per cent of students at the Australian Ballet School are now boys.

Ethan Slocomb, 11, a student at the school, first started dancing as a three-year-old after attending his sister’s concert. Now he’s about to perform professionally in the Australian Ballet’s Don Quixote. “The kids at school think it’s pretty cool and the teachers like it as well,” he said.

Australian Ballet artistic director David McAllister said the higher number of male enrolments had led to higher standards. “I guess even when I was auditioning for a job, if you had two legs and could put one foot in front of the other, you were pretty much in, but these days it’s just as competitive for the men as it is for the women,” he said.

The Australian Ballet’s Boys Day program gives nine to 14-year-olds a chance to learn about the life of a professional dancer. The Sydney Opera House will host Boys Day on April 13 and November 16.

Copyright 2013 The Daily Telegraph

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