WA Ballet

Natalie Bonjolo

This is the ballet, as you've never seen it before ... for the first time ... our cameras take you backstage with The West Australian Ballet ... from the incredible training methods ... to the triumph of opening night

In the world of ballet, they're the cream of the crop and to get here ... they've pushed their bodies to the limit ... and beyond. To be a ballet dancer it takes extra-ordinary strength, stamina, and suppleness

"Ballet dancer is such a finely tuned athlete, in terms of a whole rounded package in strength, flexibility and aerobic capacity they really can't be beaten"

And right now, the company are in rehearsals for the classic story of Peter Pan.

"It's the real story with all those great characters" says Aurelien Scannella, the company's Belgium born Artistic Director.

"The dancers every time they work they are 100% into their job" she says.

"Most people have a misconception about ballet and they think it's not a full time job, but I can assure you it is" says one of the dancers Sarah Sutclifee.

One of thirty six dancers ... Perth's Sarah Sutcliffe trains eight hours a day, five days a week.

"We get people come and talk to us after the show and they say what do you do for a living, and we say this is what we do for a living, we dance all day"

Sarah started when she was just three. She's been dancing for 23 years. It's a gruelling schedule ... like any job they get paid ... only in this business, you live to work.

""you go on holidays and, oh I can't ride a horse in case I hurt myself" Sarah says.

As for the blokes, they've pulled on the sneakers for a session with Trev at the park

"Different kinds of exercise so you build up different stamina, endurance and different strength".

Push ups, lunges, chin ups, uppercuts, and pipe throws ... this is the strength they need to lift a fifty kilo partner above their head

Matt Lehmann started dancing at eight, following in the footsteps of his parents who were professional ballroom dancers

"My mates back home are really jealous cause I get to dance with half naked girls all day, that's one plus I guess ... 'laughing;"

Male dancers must be graceful and powerful at the same time ... Andre Santos is reaching for the stars for his role of Peter Pan

"Aiming to get higher by the day so hopefully I'll reach the ceiling" Andre says.

Toby Behan has come from New Zealand to fine tune the choreography

"I do see a key part of what I do as helping the dancers who are fantastic artists to really understand what they're motivation is in doing it, to really believe they are those characters"

Pirates, mermaids, and lost boys ... they're all there.

"These are all our costumes for Peter Pan".

Here at the Ballet's wardrobe department ... they're also gearing up for opening night

For most shows costumes are handmade by Lyndal Darch and her team, the biggest textile operation in WA, outside the fashion industry

"Each costume has to be made to fit each dancer perfectly" Lyndal says

These dancers take the audience on a magical journey to Neverland

Further Information

West Australian Ballet

Peter Pan

Ticketek 1300 795 012

www.waballet.com.au