Renee Wong: 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? 

I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected as one of the semi-finalists for The Fonteyn. It feels amazing to be part of such a prestigious event as I dreamed of being at The Fonteyn since I was very young. I am excited to not only learn from the teachers who have had amazing careers and knowledge to pass down, but also the talented candidates.

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

I started ballet when I was 2 years old, and I started my training at the Hong Kong Youth Ballet Academy when I was 6 with So Hon Wah, Eriko Ochiai, Ayako Fujioka, and Mike Wang. While I was studying in the UK, I also trained with Lisa Millard, Sarah Bradshaw and Priscilla Law. I started my full time training earlier this year in Sydney at the Tanya Pearson Academy under Katie Pianoff, Lucinda Dunn, Xanthe Geeves, Lisa-Maree Cullum, and Gilli O’Connell. I have always found a sense of freedom and joy when I am dancing and it allows me to express myself using my movements, which is what inspires me to pursue dance as a career.

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

For The Fonteyn, I will be performing the Summer variation from Ashton’s Cinderella. I have been working with my teacher, Katie Pianoff, on channelling the qualities of the character and also taking the atmosphere of the ballet into consideration when dancing. As for my Dancer’s Own variation, I have been working with Xanthe Geeves, the choreographer of the solo, on mirroring the dynamics of the music so that my movements and the music correlate with one another. Another factor that I have been working on is using my dancing to reflect the stimulus and inspiration behind the choreography.

  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?

Although it is important to learn from and take inspiration from other dancers, you still need to be you when you are dancing and not like someone else. Dancing is something that is unique to every different person and that’s what makes it so special. 

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

One fun fact about myself is that I have a slight obsession with the colour purple. If something is purple it instantly catches my attention, so I’d say that’s the reason why a good 80% of the things I own are purple.

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