Q & A with Bloch Ambassador Matthew Bradwell
Published on 03/11/2017
Dancer and student Matthew Bradwell, is currently in Level 8 at The Australian Ballet School and also a proud Bloch Ambassador. He is in his graduating year at the prestigious school in Melbourne and the Bloch Team caught up with him last month to find out how he is feeling coming to the end of his training and what the graduating year has been like for this talented and hard working dancer.
Thanks for your time today Matthew, can we start with how you have found your experience at The Australian Ballet School?
During my time at the school I’ve learnt a lot about how my body works, how I learn, how I personally like to dance and how I like to feel when I dance. But I mainly discovered my determined and resilient side, a side of myself I had never really needed beforehand. I unfortunately fractured my foot during my second year at the school, and it was during this recovery time I discovered some of my inner strengths that helped me get through that period.
And what is it like knowing that you will be graduating very shortly and no longer a student?
I’m feeling mixed emotions, lots of excitement but some nerves. At the moment, I'm away on our second Regional Tour of Giselle with The Australian Ballet. We then have our assessments and our final ballet with the school - Coppelia. I’m excited to share the stage with my classmates for the last time, even though it will be a bittersweet moment. There’s a sense of security and safety being in the school and the thought of leaving can sometimes feel quite daunting. But it will be full of exciting opportunities which is what we all work towards. We are all looking forward to what our futures will bring.
That is so exciting you are currently on regional tour; how has this experience shaped your understanding of being a professional dancer on tour?
I thoroughly enjoyed my first tour and its fantastic being back and performing with The Australian Ballet Regional Tour again. Being on tour, it is my first real experience of doing a larger number of shows, and I have had to learn how to keep the performances feeling fresh and engaging even after the 12th show. It has also been my first time doing a tour visiting many towns, and so I've also had to learn how to balance my time, my energy and my meals. We are very fortunate enough to have members of The Australian Ballet tour with us, who have passed down their knowledge and advice.
What are some insights you can share with us about tour life? How is this different to rehearsing and doing daily class etc?
Our life on tour is very different from our life during rehearsal periods. The main difference is that on tour we have a show most nights and therefore we have spend our days physically and mentally preparing ourselves for that. I personally felt something that I had to get used to a real shift in my peak energy levels. During rehearsal period you want to feel your peak energy during morning class and rehearsals.
But on tour this has to shift to night time when you want your energy to be peaking for the show. Another big difference on tour is adapting to the different stages and theatres. Morning class is important in orienting yourself to the particular stage in order to feel comfortable later during the show. Especially in our first classes at a new theatre, it is our opportunity to feel the floor and how we feel dancing on that particular stage.
What do you hope to achieve after graduation?
My hopes for after graduation are to transition into a professional company which has many exciting opportunities and challenges. During my time at the school, it has been my aspiration to join The Australian Ballet.
Do you have any other advice for other students going into pre-professional training?
My advice for any students going into pre-professional training is to be open to learning new things and to work hard. I think it's important to ask questions and have a desire to learn more. The teachers at pre-professional schools have an abundance of knowledge and we as students can learn so much from them. Something that I have worked towards during my time at The Australian Ballet School, is taking one day at a time, and looking at what I can do on this one particular day to work towards my goals. Improvement comes from commitment. Time flies during your training so the most important thing is to enjoy it.
What is your dream role to perform?
I have a dream role and also some dream pieces I would love to dance. My dream role is Solor in La Bayadere and some of the pieces I would love to dance are George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, and Crystal Pite’s Solo Echo.
Keep up to date with Matthew through his instagram here.