Student Profile: Edison Manuel

Edison Manuel
Pre-Professional Program
Sunshine Coast, QLD

Edison started his dance journey at the tender age of one, when he started baby gymnastics. Seven years later, his teacher recommended ballet as a way to improve his coordination and strength. This prompted an enrolment in a local dance school in Noosa.

“I started originally in a tap class, then in jazz and slowly worked up to ballet. From there, I was hooked,” Edison recalls. “I started with RAD classes which were very consistent, but I preferred ballet more than gymnastics because it was also an art – as I kept dancing I really enjoyed the spontaneity of class and making it my own.”

Edison was fortunate to have had a male ballet teacher and role model from the industry, who guided his decision to pursue ballet more seriously.

“I was the only boy in my ballet class but I was so lucky to have a male teacher. It really made me believe there was a place for boys and men in the ballet world,” Edison says. “Because he was able to convey what dance was all about to me, I started indulging in class a bit more, and began looking for auditions into junior programs.”

Edison joined the Queensland Ballet Associate Program, travelling every week from Noosa to Brisbane on Wednesdays after school to attend classes. From there, he attended 2017 Summer School and was then invited to join Level 3 of the Senior Program.

“It was exciting to come into a big ballet company and see the dancers while I was there. As scary as it was to start, it was my first glimpse into what it was really like,” Edison says.

At this point, Edison moved away from home to dance and complete his schooling. He moved into a homestay and started the journey to becoming a professional dancer.

“I was so eager to start that it overshadowed my fear,” Edison recalls. “Queensland Ballet and Kelvin Grove State College were very understanding of each other’s needs. They were both supportive of me achieving what I wanted, both academically and in dance.”

After graduating high school, Edison auditioned successfully for the Pre-Professional Program, which he’s now completing at Queensland Ballet’s home in West End.

“I like that I get to dance all day. Our classes are more individually prompted and we are gaining the chance to experiment more. I’m starting to take ownership of my career and the corrections I need to work on,” Edison says. “I’m also playing with different styles and learning what works for my body. I enjoy the creative process and love being choreographed on, and seeing all the elements of a production come together for an audience to enjoy.”

Edison’s goal after Pre-Professional training is to join a ballet company before moving into more modern and contemporary dance later in his career. For those who wish to take the same path, Edison’s advice is to listen to everyone, absorb what they’re saying and take on all their advice, care and love.  

Image: David Kelly, from 2019 Queensland Ballet Academy Gala