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Matthew’s ballet to reach beyond the blues


His ballet teacher feels “blessed” to be guiding him. 

Through her teaching, Matthew Mortimer has once again gained a position in the Australian Ballet School’s Intra/Interstate and International Training Program for 2022.

He has also been asked to be the NSW Beyond Dance Junior Ambassador, supporting Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation Beyond Blue.

On Monday 20 December, the Whitebridge dancer raised more than $500 for the organisation in a fundraiser that was downsized, due to COVID restrictions, to an online raffle.

All this and Matthew is just 10 years old.

“Each year my love for dance grows,” the Studi-O Dance School student says.

“I feel pure joy when I dance and for many, struggling with mental health issues, joy is something that may seem far away.

“But please remember, there is no shame, only a life to gain, so if you are struggling, please reach out. 

“When you get to the other side, and you will, a beautiful happiness awaits you and because you had to struggle, you will appreciate it all the more.”

For Matthew, dance has become more than a pastime.

“I first started dancing when I was four,” he said.

“My friend, Annabel, invited me to a ‘Bring a Friend Day’ at her dance school. From that moment on, I considered myself a dancer and have never looked back. 

“This is who I am, and this is who I want to be.

“The dance community has given me so much in so many ways; belief in myself, a place to call home, amazing supportive friends, and it has opened my mind to all the possibilities that this world of dance offers. 

“All we have to do is grab onto them, and hold them close.”

In a first, this year two of Matthew’s friends were also accepted into the Australian Ballet Schools ITP Program.

Remarkably they all are in the same grade, all go to the same dance school, and are all taught ballet by Miss Karen Barker-Rogers. 

“It is truly remarkable to teach one student with the determination and work ethic required to successfully audition for The Australian Ballet School’s ITP,” Miss Karen says.

“Let alone three, who are all only ten years of age, in the same ballet grade, and all come from Studi-O Dance School. 

“I feel truly blessed to be guiding these students’ futures.”

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