India Quambusch: Australian Semi-Finalist in The Fonteyn 2023:

  1. What does it mean to you to be selected as one of the semi-finalists for The Fonteyn? How does it feel to be part of this event? 

Being a part of the Fonteyn is such a huge honour to me. After many years of RAD exams starting from grade 2, I’m filled with such gratitude towards this rewarding opportunity. Being able to perform both classical and my dancers own solo is so exciting to show off all my hard work put into dance practice and share my love for this incredible art form. 

  1. Can you tell us about your journey in ballet and what inspired you to pursue dance at such a high level? 

I started taking RAD lessons at Valerie Smith Stage School from the age of seven, my first ever RAD exam was grade 2 since I had started a little later than the other girls. I have so many happy memories from those ballet exams as a young girl. Miss Smith (the owner of the school) would always open the door for us right when we were going into the exam and would always wish us luck. Being surrounded by this positive environment encouraged me to pursue my love for ballet and eventually turn it into a career. As Miss Smith knew how much I loved ballet and wanted to pursue it, she suggested I move schools to Tanya Pearson Academy where her daughter (Lucinda Dunn) was the artistic director at the time. I eventually joined the full time school at 14 and continued training with them until I was 16. Fast forward to now, I am currently training at the English National Ballet School and am currently in the second year. I would have to say that my passion for ballet, support from my family, and mentors is what really allowed me to pursue ballet at such a high level. And I am endlessly grateful for all of the support I have received to achieve my goals. 

  1. The Fonteyn showcases exceptional talent from around the world. How have you been preparing for this competition, both physically and mentally?

Over the past few weeks I have been rehearsing my ballet variation and dancers own solo with my coaches as well as training throughout the day at ENBS to prepare for the competition.  I think mentally I have been preparing for this just over the last week trying to get into a very focused mentality, specifically focusing on what my goals are and remembering why I do this, while also reminding myself on how lucky I am to have this amazing opportunity. Since ballet can be mentally challenging at times I think that staying positive and reminding yourself why you do what you do is what can make you pull through and push yourself past your limits. Because there is always going to be a negative thought that wants to creep in when you aren’t feeling at your best so keeping your mentality focused, driven and positive is key for succeeding.

  1. What advice would you give to other aspiring young ballet dancers who aspire to participate in prestigious competitions like The Fonteyn International Ballet Competition?

I would have to say, give it your everything and do not hold back because the people who don’t hold back their love and appreciation for dance are the ones most likely to succeed. Of course, be kind and caring to your peers as well since your friends in ballet are so important and when you treat others with support and respect it creates a happier and more positive environment.

  1.  Finally, could you please share one interesting and ‘fun fact’ about yourself?

A fun fact about me is that I used to be a competitive water polo player and represent my school, until I decided I wanted to take ballet more seriously, as it can be quite an aggressive sport, I had to make a decision on what I wanted to continue doing. 

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Olivia Weeks
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Royal Academy of Dance Australia
(02) 9380 1907