Step towards ballet career a dream come true for Madison
DREAMS do come true, just ask Gladstone's Madison Wieland.
While for many children, the dream of becoming a career ballerina is often one that is vivid and exciting, it is the rare individual who can make that dream a reality.
It takes a dedicated and driven person to make ballet a life-long commitment. Madison, 18, is one such person.
She is one pointe shoe step closer to a career of dancing professionally after starting as a student this year at the Queensland National Ballet in Brisbane.
Madison started dancing at the Gladstone Academy of Performing Arts when she was five under the tutelage of Sandra Pincham, the same dance teacher who taught her mother Kyleigh and her older sister Amber, who now runs the Amber Wieland School of Dance in Gladstone.
Madison dedicated herself to dance every day last year.
She took classes every weekday, helped teach ballet and jazz to younger dancers at her sister's studio on Saturdays, and could usually be found practising on Sunday as well.
All of this while completing her studies at Toolooa State High School and keeping her type 1 diabetes in check.
"Monitoring my blood sugars with insulin injections, diet and exercise has been hard," she said.
"It never goes away and affects my dancing if it is uncontrolled.
"If my blood sugar remains high I cannot think, whereas if my blood sugar is low I can faint and go into a coma.
"It is very serious and something that I am only really learning to manage by myself without mum and dad's constant help."
Madison's tenacity has paid off.
I was so shocked. Literally, it's a dream come true.
She sent a video audition of a routine she performed at last year's Gladstone Dance Festival, where she won multiple awards, to the Queensland National Ballet and found out in term four of the school year she had been successful.
"It was a relief and it was mind-blowing," she said.
"I was so shocked. Literally, it's a dream come true."
You need only meet Madison in person to see she epitomises the word ballerina.
Fragile looking, with her waifish torso and porcelain skin, her effortlessness as she leaps through the air makes it easy to forget the strength and skill required to perfect ballet technique.
A classical performer through and through, Madison is a dancer dedicated to precision.
A quiet achiever, the well-spoken youth is grateful for the help she has had to pursue her passion.
"I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me," she said.
"It's a hard career to aspire to."
Now completely immersed in dance as part of a two-year training course that will see her awarded a Diploma in Performing Arts (Classical and Modern Dance) and Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts (Classical and Modern Dance), Madison is in her element.
The Queensland National Ballet offers elite training for students looking to pursue a career in the dance industry.
These elite courses study in the advanced stages of Russian Vaganova method of classical ballet (ACB), pas de deux (classical and contemporary), pointe, repetoire, contemporary, commerical jazz, acrobatics, strength, conditioning, cardio, stretching and industry development practices.
"I love it," Madison said.
"It's the best thing that's happened to me.
"It's an environment that pushes you to do your best."
On an average day Madison dances from 8.30am until 4pm.
Madison's favourite genre is demi-character ballet and although she hopes to become a professional ballerina - unsurprising since Alina Somova, Evgenia Obratzova, Svetlana Zakharova, and Sylvie Guillem are her favourite dancers - she has enjoyed experiencing other dance styles further with the Queensland National Ballet.
"It's opened my eyes a lot," she said.
"The emotions I feel when I dance depend on the genre.
"Pure Classical Ballet makes me feel beautiful onstage whilst in demi character (story ballets) I get completely lost in the story and my character.
"Jazz and contemporary are different from ballet altogether.
"Jazz makes me feel powerful and fierce whilst contemporary makes me feel free."
Loving her new life in Brisbane, Madison said she'll return to Gladstone during holidays.
When prompted, she offered some words of wisdom to other aspiring dancers.\
Honestly I didn't think I'd get in. Have a go. Do it anyway.
She recommends the Central Queensland Dance Company summer workshop in Rockhampton, which she attended a few times, for youngsters committed to their craft.
"It's the best summer school," she said.
"I always recommend that to anyone who asks."
She adds to that, the importance of giving things a go.
"Honestly I didn't think I'd get in. Have a go. Do it anyway," she said.
As for the future of this dedicated dancer?
"I am not sure where I will be in five years but I hope to have completed my diploma and be dancing in the Queensland National Ballet Company. But as long as I'm dancing and performing I will be happy."
"There are not many type 1 diabetics in the dance profession. Hopefully one day I want to be a source of inspiration for other diabetic dancers to achieve their goals against the odds."