Dancing from Forest Glen to Paris

Nov 19, 2018 | Entertainment, Features, Performance

By Gay Liddington

Visions of dancing in the romantic city of Paris, in some of the world’s most treasured ballets, is a whimsical dream for most young girls that take that first ballet class. For Forest Glen’s Kadelle Smith, this dream could become a reality. Writer Rebecca Mugridge met with the young dancer to find out more.

by Rebecca Mugridge

From the moment they slip on their ballet shoes and learn about the grace and elegant dance technique, to that magical moment they wear their first tutu or undertake their first exam, ballet has a way of forever taking a place in a dancer’s heart.

Local baby ballerina Kadelle Smith, ten, from Forest Glen has just won a Gold Medal at the prestigious Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong and now has her sights set on a ballet career in Paris, in particular, the Paris Opera Ballet School.

The Paris Opera Ballet dates back to 1669 and links to Louis XIV. To join such a dance company would be one of the greatest achievements in a ballerina’s life and no easy feat.

The Asian Grand Prix, held in Hong Kong, is a high level competition where ballet dancers from all over the Asian Pacific compete and showcase their ballet artistry with a team of international dance experts.

They have the opportunity to receive awards and scholarships that will help develop their career in ballet. This year was the first time that one of the qualifying finals was held in Australia, where Kadelle won first place.

To win gold at such an elite level competition is a massive achievement. The moment the judge announced Kadelle was the winner will stay with the young ballerina forever.

“I was shocked and excited. I was shaking,” Kadelle said.

The impressive young girl with vibrant red hair and gorgeous smile is as down to earth as she is inspiring; for Kadelle, it is all about the artistry of ballet, you can see it is a part of who she is.

The dancer has an impressive portfolio already with years of expert training, first-place trophies and national dance titles behind her, and has performed main roles in two ballet productions with Brisbane City Youth Ballet.

It takes a great deal of hard work combined with natural talent to reach such an elite level in ballet. In fact, as far as elite sports go, it is one of the most physically and mentally demanding and competitive out there.it’s already

The young ballerina currently trains 30 hours a week and makes the commute three, sometimes four times a week to Brisbane for coaching at elite school, Classical Coaching.

“When I was younger my mum said she didn’t want me to be a ballerina at first because she had been right through it all,” said Kadelle.  

However, the passion was there from the start along with the drive to achieve.

“She loved ballet right from the start and always wanted more,” said mum Miranda, who is an inspiring woman in her own right and was a dancer herself.   

The prima ballerina in the making undertakes hours of stretching and conditioning, practising and enhancing her skills, although that elusive ‘X’ factor is something that comes from within.

“Judges are often commenting on how captivating she is and how they cannot take their eyes off her as she performs,” Miranda shared.

Kadelle began dancing at just three years old, with her mother at the family business, Dance Empire, which has Kinderballet classes right across the Sunshine Coast.

Kadelle is also now an ambassador for the national Kinderballet brand who help sponsor her travel to competitions and events.

Along her dance journey so far she has also met some amazing role models, including the Director of the Queensland Ballet Li Cunxin from Mao’s Last Dancer who “kissed me on the cheek”, laughed Kadelle, when she performed for him a couple of years ago whilst training with local ballet school, Sunshine Coast Conservatory of Dance.

“I like to look up to people,” said Kadelle whose current idol is Bianca Scudamore, a fellow Australian ballerina who has just joined the Paris Opera Ballet School in France.

“We have already talked about relocating,” said Miranda when asked about what the family would do if Kadelle was offered a place in a European ballet school.

Kadelle’s sister Bailey, 12, also a talented ballerina, is one of her biggest supporters, “I was very happy for her and I was very proud of her. She is always practising at home,” Bailey said of Kadelle’s recent big win. The two sisters are extremely close and very supportive of one another.

Even more recently, the international Get the Beat finals saw Kadelle awarded runner-up national Petite Champion which comes with an invitation to compete in America next year, with a select group of other elite dancers in Team Australia – very exciting times indeed.

People can watch Kadelle in an upcoming ballet production by Brisbane City Youth Ballet of the Wizard of OZ, held at the Conservatorium Theatre at Griffith University in Southbank. All artists also do a meet-and-greet at the end of each production.

Kadelle is deservedly thrilled with how her career is progressing, “I can’t imagine not dancing,” she said, as it was time to say goodbye. After talking with this elegant and focussed young girl, I can’t imagine it either.

Wizard of Oz takes place January 24-26 at the Conservatorium Theatre, tickets are available now through www.qtix.com.au

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