We speak to Lewis Formby from the Australian Ballet School about his experience at the Orchard Ballet Forum in Japan.

26 March 2018

What did attending mean to you?

Every aspect was incredible and a completely new experience. The different culture, the interaction with other parts of the dance world and the pressure of performing in such a venue will be something I will never forget. I felt a deep sense of pride and gratitude being able to be part of such an amazing team and to have people that we look up to, such as John Neumeier and Tetsuya Kumakawa, say that they enjoyed our piece. Stage experience is one of the most important things to develop for a student and being given this chance to perform was vital for improving our stage skills. Also, being able to develop a difficult performance, such as Vitae, within a limited timeframe and having to perform in such an unfamiliar setting gave us a taste of what professional dance involves.

How important is it to get international exposure?

International exposure is important in multiple ways. It is beneficial for us personally for making connections and contacts which may one day help us to get jobs, but also it is beneficial for the whole school to be exchanging ideas and collaborating with other schools so that we may all improve and help each other. The dance world is so small, meeting every person you can is important and will influence you in some way, possibly now or in future, and seeing the standards, ideas and styles from all of the other schools was truly eye-opening.

What did you learn from the other ballet schools?

Each school is completely different to the next. Dancers from each school were very similar physically but also there was a clear style or trademark for each. Some schools had exceptional classical technique and physiques while other schools had more variety and individuality in each performer and had amazing performance quality. Watching others technique and artistry will give us more ideas on how to develop our own styles and also push us to better our own technical ability.

What other opportunities does The Australian Ballet School offer to students?

The Australian Ballet School offers many similar opportunities such as our participation in exchange programs with overseas schools and events such as Assemble International and the association with the Prix de Lausanne. These are important in helping us to make an impact on the world stage and hopefully giving us a step up to reach bigger and better things.

How will this experience help you achieve your goals?

This trip has provided me with a rekindled inspiration to work hard as well as learning experiences which I can use to improve upon such as being onstage overseas for the first time and performing under pressure. Being able to add this experience to my CV and having newfound contact with ballet schools, artistic directors and other students this will be very helpful for making an impact for future endeavours such as auditions and finding employment.

For more information visit the Australian Ballet School.