Australian Ballet’s Amber Scott Reveals Ballet’s Physical Downsides
Corns, strapping, blisters, ice baths, physiotherapy and constant, niggling pain are just some of the realities of a professional dancer’s life, according to Australian Ballet principal artist Amber Scott.
It often comes as a surprise to many people to learn just how high the level of physical stress and strain is on a classical dancer’s body. After all, the essence of a great performance and the sign of a true professional is to make the impossible look beautiful and effortless on stage.
Amber joined The Australian Ballet in 2001 direct from The Australian Ballet School, where she graduated dux of the school. Within a decade she was promoted to principal artist, the highest rank in the company. During that time she has performed ultra-classical tutu ballets such as Suite en Blanc and Ballet Imperial; super contemporary works including choreographer Wayne McGregor’s Chroma (Amber is currently appearing in all three of these works in Melbourne) or Rites with Bangarra Dance Theatre; and her beloved story ballets such as Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake or Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella (touring to Adelaide later in July).
In part three of her five-part interview with Jane Albert for The CarouselAmber tells us about the positives of ageing, from a physical and mental perspective; and some of the treatment that is available from The Australian Ballet’s internationally respected medical team. Myotherapy, physiotherapy and pilates are just some of the remedial work the 60-plus dancers of the company turn to, to relieve or prevent injury. There aren’t too many workplaces where you would find what Amber refers to as, ‘Ten swans in the bucket’!
As a spokesperson for the company and a role model for many young dancers Amber is happy to chat with members of the public about the physical impact of her profession. There is one question she gets asked time and time again: ‘What hurts the most?’ You may be surprised by her answer.
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All performance vision and photographs courtesy of The Australian Ballet.
Swan Lake – Stephen Baynes
Suite en Blanc – Serge Lifar
After the Rain – Christopher Wheeldon
Molto Vivace – Stephen Baynes
Choreography: Wayne McGregor
Restager: Antoine Vereeken
Music: Joby Talbot and Jack White III
Costume design: Moritz Junge
Set design: John Pawson
Lighting design: Lucy Carter
Reproduced for The Australian Ballet by Simon Bennison