Home' In The City : In The City - Spring 2012 Contents The Canberra Times | In The City Magazine
Canberra dancer Ryan Stone feels
like he is living a double life.
The 15-year-old is introverted
and shy at school, but when he
attends dance company QL2 his
"There's such a culture here that no matter
what you say you're going to be accepted...
they actually respect you as a person and they
understand your creative ideas," he said.
"You make friends in Quantum (a core
development program in QL2) that you
wouldn't be able to in a school environment.
"That's because we've all got the same
Ryan and his equally talented counterpart,
16-year-old Georgia Holgate, participated in
QL2's junior contemporary projects before
being accepted in the company's Quantum
Leap youth dance ensemble.
The company is different to a dance school
as it's funded to run projects and programs
that allow young people to learn more than
just technique and steps.
Artistic director Ruth Osborne said QL2 was
about creativity, learning and the ability to
collaborate with professional choreographers
on developing work and ideas of their own.
"It's about creative intelligence, there's a lot
to do with discussion, ideas and forming their
own opinions of things, and how you can put
those ideas into movement," she said.
"You can work with people across the board
completely different from yourself."
There are no exams or competitions and a
high level of technique isn't what Osborne is
looking for when youngsters audition for the
various projects on offer.
"If they've got that and they're very open
and creative, then probably they will get in
very easily," she said.
"[What] we are still looking for within an
audition [is] we're looking for the best we can
find -- openness, courage, attitude, showing
individuality and being willing to be creative
and willing to do something you've never done
The audition process is a three-hour
workshop which doesn't require any
"They come in and we see how they cope
with the whole of the workshop -- the warm up
through to the technique, creative sequences...
we see how they present themselves basically,"
The company also offers various
contemporary dance and ballet classes catering
to different levels, from junior to senior.
Hollywood actress Mia Wasikowska once
undertook ballet at QL2 and past student
Paul Zivkovich is the lead in Sleep No More in
Broadway, a physical theatre production held
on six levels of a warehouse.
Other former students perform in some
of the best contemporary dance companies
around the world and Australia.
Ryan and Georgia could also see their own
names in bright lights one day.
Osborne said there was a focus on career
direction for those that were interested in
taking dance to the next level.
"We help support them auditioning
and entering tertiary dance courses and
while they're at the dance course we have
choreographic projects to bring them back,"
"We also run a graduates program that
people can apply for from all around Australia."
She believes Georgia and Ryan both have
what it takes for a future in dance.
"If you've got the passion and you've got
the potential, then you should give it a shot,"
Georgia said when she started at QL2 it was
just for enjoyment and fun but the past year
she had been seriously thinking about taking
"I love being able to express myself, I'm
comfortable in my surroundings and being
able to be challenged," she said.
"I was watching a performance and I sort
of thought, it's this amazing thing [where] you
can display such creativity and [highlight] a
message and a meaning behind the movement.
"I just love being involved in the process,
that sort of idea that dancers are not aiming
for perfection, but it's this constant improving."
For Ryan, the passion is definitely there, but
doubts remain about achieving success and
being accepted into a tertiary course.
But whatever their futures hold, the
youngsters believe their time at QL2 has
changed their lives.
"I'm so glad that I started," Ryan said.
"I don't think I had as much passion for
anything before I started Quantum and then
through that I've just put so much commitment
into it and so much time and effort."
For 40 years the
has helped steer the
careers of aspiring young
Artistic director Karla
Conway said during that time
the company had connected
at a national and international
"It's certainly gone through
quite a journey," she said.
"We're working with artists
all across Australia and the
training is really starting to
mean something in the broader
"They are employed at
the Street Theatre and the
Canberra Theatre -- [that's]
Conway believes the
company's commitment to
professionalism and its desire
to really put young artists at
the forefront hasn't waivered in
the past 40 years.
The theatre is about to be
renovated to make it a more
modern and vibrant place.
"It's long overdue --
our space is homely and
comfortable but it's a little bit
tired," Conway said.
"We want to modernise
it to create a really vibrant
The work will include
updating the foyer area and
improving the technological
elements, but because of the
redevelopment it means the
plans for celebrating its 40th
anniversary need to be put on
"Our plan was to hold a
1970s style fete, a really old
school nod to our history,"
"It's looking more and more
until our [new] venue opens."
The renovations will take
four to six weeks to complete
and work is expected to start
Conway hopes the
celebrations can take place
before the end of the year.
For teenagers across Canberra,
the QL2 dance company can be
a life-changing experience.
BY HANNAH JONKERS
QL2 dancers Georgia Holgate and Ryan Stone. PHOTO: DANIEL SPELLMAN
Links Archive In the City - Winter 2012 Canberra Style - Spring Summer 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page