Australian Ballet School's newest graduates celebrate.

Ballet Graduates step up to challenge

(Article source: Catherine Lambert, Herald Sun, November 23, 2012)

Australian Ballet School

Australian Ballet School graduates. Supplied

A DREAM that began in childhood has become a reality this week for more than half the graduating students of the Australian Ballet School.

While only two students, Lisa Craig and Cristiano Martino, have been offered contracts to join the Australian Ballet, nine other students have been placed and are set to become professional dancers.

Queensland Ballet incumbent artistic director Li Cunxin has grabbed most of the graduates, offering nine contracts, including Vito Bernasconi, 19, originally from Sydney.

"To be there with Li from the beginning makes this even more special and exciting," Bernasconi says.

"It's a new chapter, a new beginning in each of our lives and also in the life of Queensland Ballet. This company will blossom with everything Li plans to do for it which will just be incredible."

There is one student, Nicholas Shoesmith, who has already left Australia to begin working with the Scottish Ballet. Three others will go to the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Hayley Donnison, 19, will be going home when she takes up her contract with the Wellington-based company.

Her family moved to Melbourne nine years ago and she was lucky enough to be accepted into the Australian Ballet School. Now, the whole family is shifting back to New Zealand.

"I was six when I started ballet, but you always wonder where you will end up so it was very exciting to be offered this contract," Donnison says.

Lisa Craig, 19, of Dunedin, is injured, but is still waiting for the news that she is joining the Australian Ballet to sink in.

"It's a dream come true and is overwhelming," Craig says. "You can't pin your hopes on it and I never expected to get such good news."

Now, her dreams have shifted to dancing the lead roles of Swan Lake, Giselle and Romeo and Juliet.

"I'm really passionate about all of the classical ballets," she says.