Chayan Blandon-Duran is 17 years old and has the world at his feet. He has just been accepted to the prestigious Palucca Schule of Dance in Dresden Germany on a Full Scholarship. Not bad for a boy who started his dance journey in Lane Cove at the Lane Cove Dance Academy when he was just 3 years old.
Chayan knew he wanted to dance and begged his mother to enrol him in a dance school. Lane Cove Dance Academy usually did not take 3 years olds in their Tiny Tots Ballet class, but Chayan was the exception. Chayan trained with the Lane Cove Dance Academy (now known as the Lane Cove and Roseville Dance Academy) until he was 11 years old. Chayan then auditioned for placement in the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy and the Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. He managed the three schools until he was 14 years old. By the time he was in Year 9, he was training up to 24 hours a week.
Chayan feels blessed that he has had so many people supporting him along the way. He has particularly fond memories of Mrs King at Lane Cove Public School. She saw his passion and commitment and did everything she could to help him juggle school and dance. Ms Dianne Pokorny and Ms Jane Moran at the Lane Cove Dance Academy also saw talent and encouraged him to audition for the Australian Ballet Interstate Scholarship Programme. Then, of course, there is his family who support him every step of the way. Dancing at the elite level is very expensive and his family has had to make sacrifices.
It has also meant not participating in many teenage activities. Chayan places his dance career before socialising and attending parties. Parties have been very minimal as they mean late nights before an eight-hour training day.
Chayan trains as a full-time student at the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy and averages 46 hours dancing a week. He is trained by Lucinda Dunn OAM, artistic director of Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy and Julie Wells. He has just returned from a summer scholarship with the San Francisco Ballet School.
It’s not easy obtaining a European Dance Scholarship. Chayan auditioned for schools in Germany, the Netherlands and England. He was successful and offered positions at various schools in Europe and America. He will live in Dresden for three years and at the end of his scholarship, he will receive a Bachelor of Arts.
Chayan knows that being a dancer is a hard life and you can only dance at the top level for a limited number of years. After he finishes dancing, he would like to set up a dance school with an emphasis on teaching talented children from disadvantaged areas. He would like to see more males involved in Ballet. A male ballet dancer requires endurance, stamina, and strength (particularly for the lifts).
ITC wishes Chayan the best of luck in Germany and we can’t wait to see him perform on the big stage!
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