GETTING TO KNOW
Ever wondered what it takes to become a professional ballerina?
Baben’ ballerina Benedicte Bemet.
TALK US THROUGH AN AVERAGE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BALLERINA.
Pilates in the morning, followed by a daily ballet class and then, if we are in a performance schedule, we break at 3pm for lunch and start getting ready again at 5pm with hair and makeup. Warm-up barre is at 6.30pm, with the show starting at 7.30pm and finishing at 10.30pm. After a show, I ice-bucket my legs and then head home for some dinner and a good sleep.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THIS WAS SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO PROFESSIONALLY?
When I was eight, I started to become aware of famous ballerinas and I wanted to be like them when I grew up. When I was 12, I decided to take the next step and audition for The Australian Ballet School.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR PERFORMANCES?
I start with my makeup and hair, then I do some of my own pilates exercises to prepare me for warm-up barre. Sometimes I will practise certain steps by myself or with my partner before going on stage. If I’m dancing a more prominent feature role that might make me more nervous, I get a little superstitious ‘knock’ on my back from Jasmin [Durham] and Jill [Ogai] – it’s something we’ve done since we started at the school.
YOU STARTED NUMBERING YOUR POINTE SHOES WHEN YOU BECAME PART OF THE AUSTRALIAN BALLET. WHAT NUMBER ARE YOU UP TO NOW?
Since joining, I’ve gone through 380 shoes.
WOW – THAT’S QUITE AN ACHIEVEMENT! WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL MOMENT SO FAR?
That would be my performances of Aurora in David Mcallister’s The Sleeping Beauty.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL YOUNG GIRLS WHO ASPIRE TO BECOME BALLERINAS?
It is a very physically gruelling career that takes a lot of hard work and effort. It is not as glamorous as it’s made out to be, but if you truly love it, none of that matters.