Ca­reers

> A WORLD OF DANCE > LIGHT­ING UP THE STARS

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Imag­ine tour­ing the world and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing count­less coun­tries and cul­tures and be­ing paid to do so.

For most of us, this is noth­ing more than fan­tasy, but Carly Parish turned her de­sire to dance around the globe into re­al­ity, prov­ing that if you can dream it, you can do it.

The Shep­par­ton dance prodigy trained in clas­si­cal bal­let un­der the Royal Academy of Dance, and jazz and con­tem­po­rary styles at The Daphne Learoyd School of Dance.

At the age of 19 she took a leap of faith and moved on her own from Shep­par­ton to Queens­land to pur­sue her love of dance.

“The Gold Coast seemed to have a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties (and it’s beau­ti­ful), so I packed ev­ery­thing I owned and off I went; I knew no fear back then,” Carly, 27, said.

“I be­gan per­form­ing in casi­nos in Bris­bane and the Gold Coast, in theme parks, at Magic Mil­lions (thor­ough­bred events), Sony, world cock­tail com­pe­ti­tions, BMW car open­ing and (from these ex­pe­ri­ences) an op­por­tu­nity arose, and I was asked to au­di­tion for the role of a ma­gi­cian’s as­sis­tant and I was suc­cess­ful.

“(Af­ter) many hours of prac­tice at be­ing ‘cut in half’ and all the other weird and won­der­ful il­lu­sions — our show be­gan tour­ing on cruise ships.”

Carly said they were guest en­ter­tain­ers and would be on the ship for one cruise be­tween eight to 13 days, per­form­ing twice a night.

When they weren’t per­form­ing, the en­ter­tain­ers had pas­sen­ger sta­tus and could just en­joy the cruise.

“We would then dis­em­bark the ship, catch a plane to another coun­try, board a dif­fer­ent ship and re­peat — yes, it’s as fun and ex­cit­ing as it sounds,” she said.

Af­ter re­turn­ing from the magic show and tire­lessly au­di­tion­ing, Carly was se­lected to join a show in Egypt in Sharm el Sheik — a top tourist des­ti­na­tion.

“Po­lit­i­cally, things were much calmer in Egypt at that time than they are now,” she said.

“The show was fab­u­lous and I had such a strong bond with the dancers. Life in Egypt was tough though, we all lived in a big house to­gether in a town called Hadibba. This was with lo­cals not tourists — it was hard liv­ing. The food did not stay fresh for more than a day, the wa­ter out of the tap was not drink­able and the shower wa­ter was brown.

“One night there was a flash flood and our house flooded. We all sat on the din­ing room ta­ble hold­ing onto our cos­tumes, can-can skirts and tu­tus. We were laugh­ing and telling jokes as our house filled with wa­ter — it was just one great big ad­ven­ture.”

Carly said the com­pany in­cluded dancers from all around the world, and each night they trav­elled to dif­fer­ent tourist re­sorts to per­form.

“Our big­gest show was in the Four Sea­sons Re­sort, per­form­ing for the Pres­i­dent of Egypt and his fam­ily and en­tourage.”

On re­turn­ing from Egypt the ad­ven­ture junkie de­cided more trav­el­ling was in or­der, and she worked on cruise ships for more than a year.

“I was on two dif­fer­ent ships, it was only sup­posed to be for five

Our big­gest show was in the Four Sea­sons Re­sort, per­form­ing for the Pres­i­dent of Egypt and his fam­ily and en­tourage.

months, but I loved it too much so I ex­tended my con­tract,” she said.

While it sounds glam­orous, this lifestyle was not with­out its chal­lenges.

Ar­riv­ing on a new ship meant seven shows to learn, one week to learn them and around 35 to 40 dif­fer­ent rou­tines. A typ­i­cal day in­cluded: 10 am re­hearsals, a half-hour lunch at 1 pm, re­hearsals again un­til 5pm, eat, shower, stage make-up, warm- up, a show at 7.30 pm and a sec­ond show at 9 pm.

Then, the team would be back on stage again for re­hearsals at 10 pm, fin­ish at about 3 am and re­peat.

“It is like this for (about three weeks and) yes it is as hard as it sounds, (there was) a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but gosh it was worth it. The shows were phe­nom­e­nal and I learned so much as a dancer. I be­came stronger and gained more skills,” Carly said.

“The ic­ing on the cake — I was trav­el­ling the world at the same time. I would wake up sore and tired but then I would look out my win­dow while eat­ing break­fast and think, ‘Oh look, there’s Venice.’ ”

Carly said she saw more than 20 coun­tries danc­ing on cruise ships, in­clud­ing Italy, Spain, Greece, Por­tu­gal, Tur­key, Croa­tia, Brazil, Ar­gentina and France.

Once she re­turned from that ven­ture, her jour­ney con­tin­ued when she was se­lected by a dance com­pany, which then led to her be­com­ing an NRL Raiders Cheer­leader, a back-up dancer for singers, a per­former in large-scale shows All That Jazz and What Hap­pens in Ve­gas, and a dancer in a num­ber of mu­sic video clips.

Her next ven­tures will see her per­form­ing in Syd­ney and then trav­el­ling to Malaysia.

Carly’s ad­vice to as­pir­ing dancers is to never give up, even if the road gets tough.

“Don’t doubt your abil­ity, know your worth. If you aren’t suc­cess­ful in an au­di­tion this does not nec­es­sar­ily mean you weren’t good enough, you just may not be ex­actly what they were look­ing for . . . try, try and try again.”

Story: Rhi­an­non Gavalakis

Carly Parish (cen­tre stage) per­form­ing

in the open­ing num­ber of the show Car­rousel in the theatre of a cruise ship.

Carly (mid­dle) and the dance crew en­joy a

mo­ment in the sun on a beach in Brazil.

Carly on stage in her warm-up gear be­fore a magic show. “In this show there was a magic num­ber and I rode across the stage on a mo­tor­cy­cle with the ma­gi­cian, be­fore he makes the mo­tor­cy­cle dis­ap­pear.”

Dancers lift Carly dur­ing the can-can in Temp­ta­tion.

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