Meet Telstra Ballet Dancer Award Nominee Amanda McGuigan


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Jul 18, 2015

Telstra Ballet Dancer Award Nominee Amanda McGuigan studied ballet at McDonald College and at Tanya Pearson’s Classical Coaching Academy and was a junior associate of The Australian Ballet School.

Sydney-born Amanda then moved to London to study at The Royal Ballet School at the tender age of 15.

After her graduation, she joined American Ballet Theatre (2007-2010) followed by the Dutch National Ballet (2010-2013). During this period, she toured extensively and she performed in roles such as Lady Montague in Romeo and Juliet, as the  lead Swan in Swan Lake and as the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty.

Amanda explains that she keeps things in perspective and always says “Thank you” before going onstage because ballet “brings so much joy and happiness into my life, I can’t imagine myself not on stage”.

Amanda joined The Australian Ballet in 2014 and says of the Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards: “To be nominated in my own country is that much more special. I’m so grateful.”

Amanda collaborated with Typographer Luca Ionescu in her role as Telstra Ballet Dancer Award nominee. See what inspired them all in this short video, then read her exclusive Q&A with TheCarousel.com below.

What beauty products can’t you live without?

I can’t live without my Chanel Beige perfume. I’ve been wearing the same scent for years now and I still love it. It’s my signature perfume. I can’t leave the house without it and it’s the last thing I put on in the dressing room before I hit the stage.

Do you indulge in any beauty rituals to help you relax? 

I’m a complete sucker for a spa day. After a strenuous season of performances, the light at the end of the tunnel for me is checking myself into a spa and getting the works done, massage, facial, the whole shebang. After the craziness of performing for months on end it helps bring a little bit of my Zen back!

What is the major difference between training in Australia compared with London? 

What I loved about training in London was that it really opened my eyes to how much talent is out there. In my classes, there were students from all over the world and their influences completely changed my dancing. We toured to some great places. It was such a huge learning curve and being a teenager growing up in London was awesome. On our last tour, we performed in New York. This was the start of my love affair with the city and American Ballet Theatre.

What does a lazy Sunday look like for you? Is there such a thing? 

When it comes to being lazy on Sunday, I am a pro. It’s embarrassing, but I can easily sleep till one in the afternoon. By the time I get myself out of the house to my favourite brunch spots, everyone is having late lunch or coffee ‘n cake o’clock, meanwhile I’m still the one asking for the breakfast menu. I love Sundays and I love them to be as chilled as possible. Hanging out with my man and taking my crazy Labradoodle, Brooklyn, to the beach and finishing up with a glass of red, endless snacks, chilling on the couch with an amazing TV series sounds perfect to me.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a ballerina? 

I can’t remember exactly when I decided I wanted to be a ballerina. I just had so much fun dancing when I hit my teens that I couldn’t imagine not doing it every day. The freedom, the challenges, the inspirational people around me together with discovering and finding myself through the art form (of ballet) became addictive.

What advice would you give to budding ballerinas?

Words of my experiences that I could pass on to budding ballerinas is to always remember to let your love be greater than your fear. To learn from others but not compare yourself with others. There are no two of the same dancers in the whole world so be yourself and embrace your differences.

What was the most creative/enjoyable/difficult/unexpected aspect of your collaboration with Luca Lonesco?

Working with Luca was awesome. He is such an incredible artist and amazing to collaborate with. Luca has a true gift, he really listens, and he transformed the words of how I feel about my art form into something stunning. He captured glimpses of the real me which made the collaboration authentic and sincere. I was blown away by the end result and found working alongside him inspiring. I loved the whole process of being part of this video.

What do you love about the fashion/costumes you get to wear in these beautiful productions?

The hours of work and fine artistry that goes into making our costumes helps me transform into the role being performed on the night. One minute you’re a princess and the next you’re trying to be brave rocking out a white unitard.

How would you describe your off-duty style?

I always try to remember that you should wear the clothes and not let the clothes wear you. Relaxed yet elegant. I love clean lines and no frills. I love layering. I like to look chilled and dressed up at the same time . I’m a huge fan of black and white. A pair of skinny jeans and a chunky heeled ankle boot is my go too. Pair it up with a beautiful handbag and I’m good to go!

What do you see yourself doing after your ballet career?

I’ve secretly dreamed of being a travel presenter since I was a kid. Making the Telstra video, and working with such an amazing crew, really opened my eyes as to how much I enjoy being in front of the camera and being part of the whole creation process. Being in front of the camera is so different from being on the stage and I would like to explore where I could take it…. Who knows…..

To find out more about the Telstra Ballet Dancer Awards go to telstra.com/ballet.

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