Coolum dancer makes it big in Canada
GRADUATING High School only a few short weeks ago, 17-year-old dancer Maggie Bryan is certainly ringing in the New Year on a high.
Selected as one of 200 other hopefuls worldwide for a professional postgraduate program at Canada's School of Alberta Ballet.
Maggie auditioned for a place in the six-month program and became one of 25 students selected who was also awarded a talent bursary to attend.
The School of Alberta Ballet is an extension of Alberta Ballet, Canada's second largest ballet company, renowned globally for its contemporary and classical productions.
From the moment eight-year-old Maggie saw her first ballet performance, 'A Midsummers Night Dream', she knew she wanted to be a ballerina.
"I was like, 'wow, I want to be up there mum!'," she said.
"And from there my passion only grew."
Maggie said the talent bursary was a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity as she faces the reality that there are more jobs in the ballet world overseas.
The dancer, who this year gained an OP3 while dancing full-time, said one day she hoped to dance professionally in a reputable company.
Maggie's confident the School of Alberta Ballet would give her the professional grounding to realise her dreams.
"Within a company, I hope to work my way up the ranks and potentially one day perform as a principal artist dancing lead roles," she said.
"I've always dreamt of dancing with the Dutch National Ballet. It's a beautiful company with so much talent.
"However, as long as I am performing I know I will be happy."
Maggie has been awarded distinctions and honours for her many Royal Academy of Dance exams as well as winning numerous prizes for Eisteddfods throughout south-east Queensland.
She's also trained in jazz, contemporary and character but Maggie's chief love would always be ballet.
"Ballet without a doubt is my real passion," she said.
"As a perfectionist, I love the strictness and the level of perfection that is asked of us every day.
"I also love the beauty of becoming a character in ballet.
"For an entire performance you become a different person living in a different world, and in that short time, nothing else really matters."
Maggie has been dancing since age three when she started in the pre-school creative class at Dance Fusion Studios.
Principal Leanne Porritt realised Maggie's potential when she quickly picked up the dance steps.
"Over the years Maggie has been an inspiration to teach," she said.
"I can't recall a time where she ever told me, 'I can't'," she said.
"It would always be, 'I need to work on that' and together we worked.
"Maggie always had a clear goal and I knew she had the drive, dedication and passion to gain it."
Maggie's career thus far has travelled from the Brisbane City Youth Ballet to the Queensland Ballet Theatre.
During her time with Brisbane City Youth Ballet, Maggie progressed from the Junior Extension Program to the full company part performing in Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz and Nutcracker.
"I really learnt how to perform to larger audiences and got a tiny taste of what being a professional ballerina felt like," she said.
Maggie joined the Queensland Ballet Theatre for one season (2014 - 2015) to perform in Sleeping Beauty, which she said was a demanding role.
During the performance week, Maggie said she learnt the 'pain and toughness' it took to be a ballerina.
For the past two years, Maggie has been living in Brisbane and training in Queensland Ballet's Senior Program, where she spent half the day dancing and the other half taking school lessons at Kelvin Grove State College.
Maggie said it was an "amazing experience" that helped her to develop as a dancer and inspired her by being surrounded by "people just like me".