From Russia with love: Bolshoi academy invites local dancer to train
IN HER elegant tutu, with her hair swept up, Heather Maitland looks poised and self-possessed, but she is actually excited, and a little nervous, about being invited to train with Russia’s top ballet academy.
Following her video audition, Heather was chosen to take part in the Bolshoi’s summer intensive program in Brisbane in January.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to train with teachers whose style is very different from what I’ve grown up with,” the Rockhampton Girls Grammar Student said.
“The Bolshoi is one of the best companies in the world and I know their expectations are very high.”
Heather recently completed her Advanced I level in the Royal Academy Syllabus which is a distinctly European dance style.
She has trained for about 11 years with Lita Hegvold.
“I’m very proud of Heather who I have taught since she was a little girl,” Ms Hegvold said.
“She is a hard worker who is very passionate about her dancing and so humble about all her achievements over the years.”
Heather currently trains five days a week - “it used to be six but now eisteddfods and the showcase and over, it’s five” - at the Rockhampton Grammar School’s Dance and Musical Theatre Academy where she takes ballet, contemporary and highland dance classes.
“The approach at DMTA is very personalised; every dancer has their own challenges to work on and our teachers are very aware how to help with those specific things,” she said.
Heather said she enjoys every aspect of dancing and hopes to make it into a company when she finishes school.
“I love getting all pretty for a performance; I love being on stage,” she said.
“For a girl from a small city, getting to train with the Bolshoi... it hasn’t sunk in yet this is really happening.”