In a bush setting, some 30 miles form Sydney, girls form four States attend what must be one of the most unusual ballet schools in the world.
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Background: In a bush setting, some 30 miles form Sydney, girls form four States attend what must be one of the most unusual ballet schools in the world.
The studio was built especially for them here at Jackaroo Ranch, which was taken over for three weeks by ballet teachers Joan and Monica Halliday. Both are former members of the Boravansky Ballet. Now they have their own ballet school in Sydney.
A summer school of ballet for 50 girls whose common bond is a burning inspiration...one day to follow in the footsteps of the whole world's greatest ballerinas.
Drawn her by their love of ballet, the girls have come from as far afield as Perth in the West, and MacKay in northern Queensland. The idea of holding the summer school in the bush appealed to the Halliday sister - it would provide a holiday atmosphere for city girls, they thought, and solve the accommodation problems for students who had travelled the country or interstate.
It's been a long morning. They dance for two hours every day - once in the morning, and again in the cool of the late afternoon. During breaks between they relax in their various ways.
There's news from home for Jan Carvosso. She came from Adelaide to attend the summer school. Leonie Hicks of Wollongong in New South Wales gives a helping hand to fellow dancer Regina Beecham of Balgownie.
A quite corner with a good book - or, outside, a refreshing dip in the ranch pool, where young bodies limber up ready for the next ballet class.
And even getting to class is a novelty here.
Running a resident ballet school like this is a new idea in Australia; but similar schools have already proved popular in the United States.
The sun and the sky and the quite bush are invitation enough for dancing. But the girls have an added incentive. Each year the Halliday school offers a scholarship for 12 months study in France. In a few weeks' time three interstate judges will select this year's winner.
With a backdrop of trees, and encouragement from off stage, the senior class swings into its afternoon practice.
Their concentration is intense.. and the appreciation is undisguised... as young dancers weave the special magic of the ballet.