On Friday 3rd June the KCC Dance Department was honoured to welcome ballet master Damian Smith to our studio to lead us in two one-hour master classes. "Damian was raised in Newcastle NSW and began his ballet training at Robin Hicks School of Dance, then onto The McDonald College. He left Australia at 16 years old to attend The School of American Ballet in New York. After this he joined the French company Ballet Du Nord as a Soloist in 1992 - 1996 then onto The San Francisco Ballet Company in 1996 - 2015. He became a Principle dancer in 2001, remaining so for 14 years of his career. Damian has performed over 110 ballets in more then 25 countries, and throughout the last 20 years has been a Principle Guest Artist with The New York City Ballet, The Royal Ballet, The Dutch National Ballet, The Boston Ballet, The Hong Kong Ballet, The Hamburg Ballet and The Australian Ballet. He has also performed in many gala's and special events, such as the Nijinsky Gala in Hamburg, The Australian Ballets 50th Anniversary and the Ballet Stars Of America for 4 years running. Damian was recently awarded the Isadora Duncan Dance Award in 2015 for "Sustained Achievement". " (Turner, J.)
"Damian is back in Australia for one season only, as a guest artist in the Australian Ballet’s latest production, Symphony in C, which was showing in May. He is now working on a documentary called Invisible
Man, which will shed light on partnering from the male perspective. He notes that when he started in the late 1980s, men, still there to primarily support the ballerina, were rendered largely unseen; today, choreography increasingly celebrates the male form in its own right. He is now exhibiting 24 works alongside other Indigenous artists in an exhibition in Circular Quay. The artworks are a collaboration with six ballerinas in six companies from six countries. Damian fashioned a garment from canvas, and, dipping his hands in paint, executed choreography. The series of lifts and twirls were then mapped out in organic smudges and swirls to make the end print. It is no accident that the piece he chose – the same as his final dance – is After the Rain." (Sebag-Montefiore, C.)
Students from Years 10, 11 and 12 participated in a one hour ballet technique workshop where Damian focused on strength and grounding as preparation for all facets of dance. Then, students participated in a one hour contemporary technique class that focused on freedom of the torso as a means of expression. Following this, students were able to ask Damian questions about his life, his dancing, tips for performing and professional dance career. He was very open and candid, offering unique insights and perspectives which were invaluable.
Following the two workshops, Damian spoke to 21 Indigenous students about his experiences. They were mesmerised by his passion and accomplishments as he encouraged them to follow their dreams, no matter what. Damian also allowed students to see an exclusive preview video of his After the Rain documentary. This was Damian's first venture into motivational speaking and he was a true inspiration to our students.
We can't thank Damian enough for coming to teach our KCC Dance students - it was such a highlight for us!
Have a look at some more of Damian Smith's story by following these links...
Living Black documentary - click HERE
San Fransisco Ballet Tribute - click HERE
Megan Hardy | Dance Teacher