Class Act: Bloch & The Australian Ballet School

Above: Mio wears bespoke tulle skirt, vintage Bloch leotard and S0108 Axiom Pointe Shoes 

The transition from recreational ballet classes to elite vocational training is a unique and rewarding rite of passage in the pursuit of a professional dance career. From day-to-day training to competitions and auditions, each and every class plays an integral role in a dancer’s journey.

We catch up with Mio Bayly and Harrison Bradley, Level 8 students at The Australian Ballet School, for an insider view about life as a full-time dance student at Australia’s national centre for elite vocational training in dance.

Mio

Tell us about your experience auditioning for The Australian Ballet School?

“I was fortunate to receive a position as an ITP student at The Australian Ballet School when performing at YAGP in Osaka. A couple of years later I performed at The Australian Ballet School Scholarship Awards and was the winner of my selected age group, which allowed me to audition for the full-time training program.

The audition itself was quite nerve racking, as there were a lot of boys and girls striving for the same goal. Everything felt quite intimidating, but I tried to do my best to prove my capabilities and I’m grateful it paid off.”

What advice would you give to young dancers who might be considering full-time dance training?

“Full time training is a way to help guide you to find your own self and how you can use that to hone your best qualities technically and stylistically as an artist. It is a great step to growing and developing a mature outlook on your career.”

How has Bloch assisted your dance journey?

“Bloch has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl! One of my fondest memories was being fitted for my first pair of pointe shoes at Bloch when I was just 10 years old.

Ever since that day I have been returning to the same Bloch store for all my pointe shoes. My Bloch Axiom pointe shoes have never failed me, and I am truly grateful for the happiness Bloch has given me throughout my life dancing.”

How do you prepare your pointe shoes?

“Before wearing my pointe shoes, I sew Elastorib ribbons and plain thick elastics for support. I also like to darn the top of my shoes for extra stability. I then shave down the sides of the leather outsole and apply Bloch Pointe Glue along the middle section of the outsole, to help maintain a supportive L shape curve under my arch for as long as possible. I wear toe spacers and toe pads inside my shoes to protect my toes, and fortunately I don’t get blisters!”

Mio’s Pointe Shoe
Essentials

1. A0179 Bloch Supa Spacers
Designed to be placed between the big toe & second toe, these soft polymer gel spacers ensure correct toe alignment and alleviate pressure on toe joints.

2. A0185 Elastorib
A hybrid style of pointe shoe ribbon featuring an inbuilt elastic, designed to relieve tension on the Achilles.

3. A0140 Wide Elastic
A supportive elastic sewn onto the heel of a pointe shoe to hold the shoes firmly in place.

4. 93000 Darning Thread
A thick cotton thread used to darn the platform of a pointe shoe. Darning protects the integrity of the satin and provides additional shock absorption, noise reduction, platform stability & traction.

5. 93001 Darning Needles
A variety of curved and straight needles to assist the darning process.

6. 95303 Bloch Pointe Glue
A fast-drying glue that can be applied to the box, shank or outer sole of a pointe shoe for additional strength and to maximise the life of the shoe.

7. A5910 Prima Pro Pad
A lightweight fabric pouch with an innovative silicone lining on the top layer, the Prima Pro Pad provides cushioning and minimises friction for toe comfort without excess bulk.

Tell us about your experience auditioning for The Australian Ballet School?

“I auditioned for The Australian Ballet School in 2018, and it wasn’t as daunting as I’d thought it would be! I flew over from New Zealand to do a ballet class and basically, they asked me and a few other boys to stay for another week of audition ballet classes. Before I started training at The Australian Ballet School at Level 5, I used to dance at a local ballet studio in my hometown in Christchurch, NZ.”

What’s your number 1 takeaway since training at The Australian Ballet School?

“An invaluable lesson The Australian Ballet School has taught me is to readily condition your body. The Australian Ballet Company is one of the best companies for rehab - and being in condition when you get injured really speeds up your recovery. Also, ask the physio and conditioning teachers for advice and use their expertise to your advantage!”

What advice would you give to young dancers who are thinking about studying at a pre-professional dance institution?

“Before commencing at a pre-professional school, it is really beneficial to have between six months to one year of full-time training. This helps make the transition process easier as your body is already accustomed to full time training.”

Harrison wears JLW5006 Bloch Off-Duty Crew.

What does Bloch mean to you?

“Bloch means that I can dance! Without Bloch and their Performa ballet flats I wouldn’t really be able to dance. Bloch is also very accessible as there is a store just around the corner from The Australian Ballet School, so whenever I need new shoes, or I need anything else I don't have to go far!”

What features do you like best about your Performa ballet flats?

“They fit my feet really well, they don’t crease, and they are incredibly comfortable to dance in. They only take a few days to mould and wear in, so they aren't too dirty by the time they fit properly, making them perfect for both class and performances.”

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