Ballet skills come in handy

Victorian State Ballet dancer Rebecca Murray puts her feet up with Twig, the family dog, during...
Victorian State Ballet dancer Rebecca Murray puts her feet up with Twig, the family dog, during her holiday in Mosgiel yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Rebecca Murray has lost count of the number of times she has had to jete over a cat or dog during the past week.

The 22-year-old Victorian State Ballet (VSB) dancer has returned to Mosgiel for a short holiday, and given that her parents own a vet clinic next to the family home, there are cats, dogs and other tripping hazards lying in wait around every corner.

"There's always so many animals running around the house.

"I turn around and there's one in the way. I find myself automatically leaping over them - more like jete, because ballet has become so much a part of my life."

The former Taieri College pupil was selected to study ballet at the Queensland University of Technology in 2015, and since graduating has been a dancer with the VSB in Melbourne.

Rebecca Murray hopes to inspire young dancers. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Rebecca Murray hopes to inspire young dancers. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
While she was delighted to be "living the dream", life as a ballet dancer was extremely taxing, she said.

"Even on holiday, I still train. The breaks are more of a mental break than anything else.

"Every day, I still have to go to the gym, do all kinds of cardio, strength training and flexibility and stretching."

Despite the continuing workload, holidays did give her time to just relax, catch up with family and do some teaching, she said.

"I was taught to dance in Mosgiel, so I go back to the studio to see the young dancers and share some of my skills with them.

"I feel like, sometimes in Mosgiel, we're not exposed to dance like other places around New Zealand and Australia.

"It's nice to inspire them, I guess. I feel like if I had that when I was their age, it would have inspired me even more."

She said dancers had to work extremely hard to make it as a professional.

"There's only a very, very small percentage - probably less than 5% - of the dance population, that make it professionally.

"And coming from a little place like Mosgiel, it's even rarer."

She said the secret to her success was sheer determination.

"I can pinpoint the exact time in my life when I knew that this was what I wanted to do. I was 11, turning 12, after I won an award and some encouraging words from a particular person."

Since then, she has been striving to land a lead role and was excited the opportunity might be "on the horizon".

She returns to Melbourne next week to begin rehearsals for the ballet's next performance - Don Quixote, in May.

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