8 September 2021 09:01

With the final of The Fonteyn this Friday, we reached out to Alice McArthur who is one of the finalists to give us a little insight into her Fonteyn journey...........

Alice was previously trained by the Auckland Academy of Dance and is now training at the John Cranko School in Stuttgart, Germany. Alice showed great promise as a dancer from an early age, she was awarded a special mention in the RAD’s 14+ Dance Scholarship in 2018 and was an intern at the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2020. Alice was the overall winner of the Asian Grand Prix in 2019 and a silver medallist at the South African International Competition in 2020.  We wish her the best of luck for the final.

How are you going leading up to the final of the Fonteyn?
I’m really looking forward to it! By this point I have finished filming everything I needed for the finals, so I am just spending time with my family before I go back to Germany for the start of the school year.

What has it been like to be part of the competition?
It’s been an experience I’ll never forget, to be part of something so prestigious without physically being there has been strange but really cool and they kept us busy;

  • For the first round, we had a coaching session foreach of our two solos (the classical variation and ‘own choice’ solo) and we submitted videos of these.
  • For the finals we recorded a video of classwork, new videos of our two solos and the commissioned variation.
  • We were taught a commissioned variation online over4 different sessions.
  • Lastly we had a finalist masterclass via Zoom with Ernst Meisner

How do you deal with nerves?
I don’t! I just accept them. I find them very helpful to get the adrenaline to perform my best. Of course being too nervous can be a problem too, but I prefer to have some nerves rather than none, that is one of the things I found the hardest about using video for this competition and not performing live, it was harder for me to find a sense of performance.

What is the best part and hardest part of the Fonteyn so far?
I have had a few ‘best parts’, but something that I really loved was learning the commissioned variation choreographed by Ashley Page who also coached us on it. It was a unique experience and great to do this with some of the other finalists on Zoom. The hardest part was probably all the videoing, I find it much harder than performing live.

What or who inspired you to enter the Fonteyn competition?
I’ve known about the competition for a long time and I’ve looked up to other New Zealanders who have participated in the past. Many beautiful dancers have participated in the past and itis a prestigious competition.

Do you have any tips or tricks to help dancers preparing for a competition?
Enjoy it! Because when I look back at the competitions I’ve done in the past, I was sometimes so caught up with the nerves that I forgot to enjoy the moment.

What inspires you to dance/why do you dance?
I could never put my finger on one particular thing that inspires me to dance, but if I had to, I’d say dance itself. I dance for so many reasons, because I love the feeling of moving, becoming someone else, the adrenaline, how rewarding it is and being able to express myself in ways words can’t.

What is your favourite Variation to perform?
There are so many! I love performing Swanhilda’s entrance variation because I enjoy playing the Swanhilda character and get to express it in the variation which is fun. I also love Grand Pas Classique although it’s a little more nerve racking!

What is your preferred pointe shoe?
I’ve actually just started trying out a new style called Eurostretch from Bloch which I really like, but I usually use Bloch Heritage and I cut the backs.

What is your favourite thing to do outside of dance?
I love doing things outdoors e.g. bush walking, mountain biking, skiing, boating although there haven’t been many opportunities for that this year.

Do you have any plans for the future?
For the next two years I am planning to train at the John Cranko school and after that I hope to get a job as a professional dancer. The future seems so uncertain so I try not to plan too much, instead I set goals but my number1 goal is to make it as a professional dancer.

Which fictional character would be the most exciting to meet in real life?
Ha that’s tricky, maybe Yoda, I think he could give me some good advice for my nerves.

What are the 3 must haves in your ballet bag?
1.Spikey ball – for rolling out my muscles
2.Needle and thread – my sewing is always falling apart!

What is your go to snack while training?
You can’t beat a good trail mix.

To watch Alice in the finals make sure you book your tickets for the online final: https://bit.ly/3hHABKB