Dancer re­jects the ‘norm’

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

A BAL­LET dancer who can’t bare to blend in is quickly pirou­et­ting his way to the top of the danc­ing world.

Riki Kudo, 15, has been awarded a schol­ar­ship by the Aus­tralian Bal­let School in Mel­bourne.

Start­ing in Jan­uary he’ll spend three years train­ing with some of the world’s top per­form­ers in the in­sti­tu­tion that feeds Aus­tralia’s na­tional bal­let com­pany.

Riki was a late starter in bal­let terms and was nine when he was in­tro­duced to the art by a friend.

‘‘I thought ‘that looks cool’ so I gave it a shot,’’ he says.

‘‘I don’t like to just be nor­mal, I like to be unique. I don’t want to do rugby with the boys be­cause to me it’s nor­mal and a bit bor­ing,’’ he says.

The real life Billy El­liott is a stu­dent at the Philippa Camp­bell School of Bal­let in Mt Eden.

New Zealand bal­let dancers must sit in­ter­na­tion­ally set ex­ams to progress through their train­ing.

Riki moved up five grades in his first two years which is an achieve­ment that would take most stu­dents around five years.

‘‘I’m not sure where I’ll end up, it would be nice to dance in Europe,’’ he says.

The Hill­crest res­i­dent has per­formed in Syd­ney and New York and this week is head­ing to Welling­ton for the Ge­nee In­ter­na­tional Bal­let Com­pe­ti­tion.

The event is con­sid­ered to be the Olympics of bal­let and is coming to New Zealand for the first time.

Riki is too young to dance in the full com­pe­ti­tion but is tak­ing part in a ju­nior sec­tion for dancers from through­out New Zealand.

Male dancers are noth­ing new, but Riki ad­mits there is still a stigma at­tached to be­ing a boy in what many see as a woman’s world.

‘‘Go­ing to an all boys school causes a few prob­lems. I just laugh and pre­tend it’s fine,’’ he says.

Teacher Philippa Camp­bell says de­spite Riki’s success he has only re­cently ‘come out of his shell’.

‘‘He’s very pre­cise, very de­tailed and has a nice nat­u­ral bounce,’’ she says.

‘‘The thing we have had to work most on is get­ting him to be­lieve in his abil­ity and project per­son­al­ity. He’s al­ways been a bit shy,’’ she says.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Bal­let star: Riki Kudo has been ac­cepted into the Aus­tralian Bal­let School in Mel­bourne. Go to cen­tral­leader. co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video about the Ge­nee In­ter­na­tional Bal­let Com­pe­ti­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.