CANBERRA has an extraordinary record when it comes to producing elite dancers.
Elsewhere, I have written about the principal ballerina with the Australian Ballet, Lana Jones, and now news has arrived from 20-year-old, self-styled “Canberra native”, Emily Williams, about her successes in New York.
In 2012 “CityNews” reported that Williams, a student of Canberra Dance Development Centre director Jackie Hallahan since age three, had been accepted into New York’s Joffrey Ballet School. Before that, at age 11, she had joined CDDC’s full-time vocational course and was only 15 when she took flight for New York.
Williams has now been living in NYC for the past five years and tells us: “As one of the few dancers to move internationally from training in Canberra alone, moving to NYC was a huge step for me”.
But she reports she has no regrets, knowing it was the right move for her career and that it opened the doors to a wider range of opportunities.
Those opportunities have included attending a cultural festival in Shanghai and performing in the Dance in Italy festival.
While at Joffrey, she performed the principal role in the restaging of choreographer Bill T Jones’ “Power/Fu” and, combining musical and dance abilities, she also worked as a repetiteur there and helped stage Robert Ray’s “The Nutcracker” for three of her four years before graduating, earning the praise of Joffrey artistic director, Era Jouravlev, who has described her as “an exceptional artist”.
Williams is now a company artist with the Ajkun Ballet Theatre, also located in the Big Apple and led by innovative teachers Leonard and Chiara Ajkun.
She is one of our proudest cultural exports.