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Stories from a dance career episode 2...

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

My heart sunk into my stomach. I had taken the summer to recover on my first trip to Australia where it had been nearly 2 months from "the break" to my return to Vienna. I stood there staring at the casting list anxiously looking for my name.

Nobody knows what to expect when a new director starts, and the casting hit me hard. Only 2 months earlier I had been preparing 3 leading roles at the same time and now I was only being chosen for corps de ballet roles.

It was a predicament I would find myself in for most of that year. The mental struggle of what felt like I was starting again often played havoc with my sense of confidence.

9 months of anticipation would plague me as I watched those around me get opportunities that had been mine only a year earlier.

I was still very young, but I had always had ambition and I had been given a taste of the spotlight only to have it taken away. Was I not good enough? Did my injury mean I had to take that step back?

These questions followed me day in and day out until one day in June I got a call.

My body still aching with the welts from the sting of paintballs....yes dancers do other things than dance sometimes...I looked down at my phone and I had a missed call.

I dialled in to my voicemail and heard the voice of my director on the other end. We were in preparation for Giselle, the last full length of the season. I heard his voice on the message asking me to call him back as soon as possible.

I couldn't dial the numbers fast enough as I felt my heartbeat rising into my throat.

"Hello Shane" he answered

"...Uh Hi...I got your message, I'm so sorry I missed your call.."

"Shane, we need you to learn Albrecht" (The leading male in Giselle) "The Principals are all injured...there's only 9 days...can you do it?"

I didn't even think. You don't think in those moments, it's as if opportunity laid at my feet. I said yes immediately. I had always been told when an opportunity comes you say yes now and then figure it out..

But how would I be able to learn a full length ballet, develop the stamina needed, and have the confidence to put it on stage in under 2 weeks? I hadn't danced anything like this in over a year.

In that moment it didn't matter. The time had come. I was back. Or so I thought....

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