‘I don’t remember the feelings on stage, I remember afterwards, I was so surprised that I won the competition, I was so happy and so relieved and I just wanted to perform again, an exhilarating feeling, it was really good’
Tess is a student at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne. At the age of 15, in 2012 her family uprooted their lives in Sydney to chase Tess’s dream of being a Ballet Dancer. It has been a gruelling 12 months, where all have been tested by this tough sport. There is only one Prima Ballerina, and the struggle to the top is fierce. After devoting her life from the age of three, Tess will not be able to follow her dream, her career is now over before it began. Perfection to an ideal is still the order of the day, and a dancer can be culled from the school at an age where self-esteem and self-image is a sensitive issue. The rate of eating disorders’ amongst Ballet Dancers at this elite level is extremely high, in a sport that is practiced in front of a mirror and played out on a stage.
The crossing of the fine line between of discipline and sacrifice to achieve exquisite beauty and form can have devastating consequences on physical and mental heath. Is enough attention given to ensure that what drives them to be there best does not turn into a drive to make them their worst?