Ballarat has produced its very-own Romeo in the form of 21-year-old Australian Ballet dancer Callum Linnane.
Linnane, now Melbourne-based, is one of just six dancers nominated for the country’s most prestigious ballet prize, the Telstra Ballet Dancer Award.
He must now wait until December 2 to discover whether he will win the award that has catapulted the careers of some of the country’s biggest ballet stars, with several past winners having been promoted to principal artist at the Australian Ballet.
Since he was an 11-year-old pupil at St Patrick’s College and dance student at The Ballarat Centre of Music & the Arts, being principal artist at the Australian Ballet company and playing the role of Romeo has been his greatest dream.
He said getting to this point had been tough, but worth every moment. He moved to the Australian Ballet school at 12 years of age, gaining a role within the company on his final day of high school exams.
“Growing up, the training was very tough, it was gruelling. We started at 8.30 in the morning and we’d go to about 6 o’clock in the evening. That was for seven years,” he said.
“It’s funny because I never look back and think it was hard and difficult because it was something I was so passionate about.
“I was fortunate to find something I loved so much at such a young age. I was so passionate about it, and that’s what got me through and what continues to get me through. This career is too difficult unless you’re passionate about it.”
Linnane typically performs at the State Theatre in Melbourne or the Sydney Opera House, and has danced in ballets such as The Upper Room and In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated. He has also danced the principal role in Symphony in C.
“To be honest, for me it’s a vehicle for self expression. That’s why I’m continually drawn to it and why it keeps me going, you get to create art,” he said.
“There’s some on the list I’d love to do. I’d love to do Romeo and Juliet and also Onegin, based on the novel by Pushkin.”
The Telstra Ballet Dancer Award winner will take home $20,000, while the winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive $5000.
To view the Australia Ballet’s video series featuring Linnane and vote in the People’s Choice Award, visit telstra.com.au/TBDA