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By  Genevieve Kennedy
The Chronicle
June 4, 2013

Bolshoi Ballet principal dancers Katya Shipulina and Mikhail Loubukhin with some of the Queensland Ballet's young dancers (Photo by Natalie Bochenski) 2013

Austin Kelly has been performing with the Bolshoi Ballet 2013[Queensland, Australia] – To perform with one of the world’s greatest ballet companies is not something most dancers achieve in a lifetime – let alone at 13. But Toowoomba Grammar student Austin Kelly is doing just that, mid-way through a string of performances with Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet in Brisbane.

Austin, who is in the Queensland Ballet junior program, had to survive a number of rounds of cuts – and in the end, his height got him over the line.

“One of the Bolshoi representatives came and looked at us and chose a few people. We were then short listed, then a few weeks later met the director,” he said. “He cut it down to the final few people.  (It was) very nerve-wracking – he lined us all up and said ‘you two are out’…it was based on height.”

Austin performs in two acts of a three act ballet, first as a pirate’s son, then as a servant boy.

He said stepping out on stage when the ballet opened on Thursday was intimidating. “I was extremely nervous but excited.  I’ve learnt so much from them, watching their technical ability. “(Ballet) is so challenging, physically and mentally challenging.”

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