Vogue Australia: The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp explores gender politics in the world of dance
By Victoria Baker
In a discipline where women are under-represented, Alice Topp shines bright. Appointed a resident choreographer at the Australian Ballet in 2018, she writes about finding the confidence to take on a new career challenge.
“I never saw myself becoming a choreographer. I thought it must be something you’d always dreamed of doing, a calling, and that there’d be some sort of lightning-bolt strike of inspiration that led you to your destined choreographic path. But it wasn’t like that for me. The opportunity came about when the only woman creating for the Australian Ballet’s choreographic season Bodytorque withdrew to go on maternity leave. It had been a few years since a woman had choreographed for the program and the conversation about the lack of female choreographers had become a popular discussion worldwide. Nicolette Fraillon, the company’s music director, felt I would be a good replacement. I’m not quite sure what it was she saw in me, but I’m forever grateful. She prompted our artistic director David McAllister to ask me if I’d be interested in filling the gap in the program.
I had a weekend to make a decision, but as intimidating as it was to accept the challenge without any notion of what I was doing or how to go about it, I had watched many freelance friends fight for funding, space and a platform just like the opportunity that had landed in my lap, so I felt it was something I should have a crack at. It was easier not to place too much pressure on myself at first – I was a last-minute wild card with nothing to lose. All the other choreographers were male principal dancers with previous choreographic experience and I was a third-year corps de ballet dancer with no clue what I was doing! I felt there was no expectation, so I couldn’t really fail.
Read the full article in Vogue.
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