Born: 1993, Adelaide (Australia)
Education: National Ballet Academy, Amsterdam
Experience: Introdans (since August 2014)
If Australia usually makes you think of koalas, Crocodile Dundee and didgeridoos then the female dancer Brooke Newman is a surprise. She is used to the fact that most European don’t directly associate Australians with ballet. “Our ballet system is based on the British school and so it’s highly classical, strict and Russian.” This was also the reason why Brooke hoped to get a place at the Royal Ballet School in London but things turned out a little differently.
It’s a well-known fact that many dancers start at a very early age, but Brooke must have been exceptional even in these terms. She was two-and-a-half years old when her mother took her to a ballet school. “She had to do a lot of persuading before they would accept me for a class, because I was still as bald as a billiard ball and looked very young…!” However, Brook’s talent for dance was obvious and she quickly became a firm fixture at the ballet school. Even if just for the fact that she was there six days a week.
“I’ve always been used to being just a little different to the others. I watched the teacher to see how things should be done, but by the time I was thirteen it was clear she couldn’t teach me anything more. At a certain point it was ‘Very good, Brooke, just keep on with that’.”
Via the Prudence Bowen Atelier, a famous school in Australia Brooke came into contact with the world of the international ballet competitions. “This is an area where I have never met a Dutch dancer, but in Australia it wasn’t unusual to try your luck in as many competitions as possible. After all, it’s a chance to dance yourself into the focus of one of the big European ballet schools.” Brooke danced in Singapore, London and Switzerland. “In Switzerland I had an interview with a jury member, as did all the dancers in the competition. In my case this was the director of the Royal Ballet School. My dream school.” But once again Brooke was told that her footwork wasn’t up to scratch for a classical ballet education.
“Seeing as how I was in Europe anyway, I auditioned for various training programmes.” Brooke laughs: “And yes, in Amsterdam too, even though this was the last place on earth I wanted to go.” Brooke was 17 and to her Amsterdam seemed the most dangerous city to live in. “But that couldn’t have been further from the truth!” So she was overjoyed when she was accepted for the National Ballet Academy in the city.
Brooke also blogs about her experiences as a dancer. LesPetitesPrincesses gives an insider’s perspective on the world of ballet. “Above all, I hope it can contribute to a lively discussion with open and honest communication between dancers, parents, teachers and audience members. I’m really happy with my place at Introdans. There are so many inspiring dancers and choreographers working here that it encourages me every day.”