If you’ve ever spent an evening at the ballet and watched the graceful, liquid moves of the lithe dancers on stage, chances are you’ve been struck by at least the slightest twinges of jealousy and pity.

Jealousy, because you know a mere mortal like yourself will never have a body so flawless. Pity, because you remember all the fun ways you achieved your slightly doughy physique: a drunken kebab here, an extra-large piece of cake after dinner there. It’s a lot of fun having no discipline.

“We can’t do things like that as often as everyone else, but we can on the odd occasion,” laughed Andrew Killian, senior artist with the Australian Ballet, when Sydney Star Observer asked if he was harbouring any shameful kebab-related secrets.

“Usually during the season, it’s not worth doing that. But we have a bit of down time each year where we can relax.”

Killian was this year promoted to the role of senior artist after ten years with the company. Did he allow himself a momentary fall from the dietary wagon when he found out about the promotion?

“I did, actually. I found that out during a rehearsal period, and we were closed for the weekend, so I had a weekend of celebrating.”
When we spoke, Killian was heavily into rehearsals for the Sydney season of the Australian Ballet’s new triple-bill, Concord, which opens at the Opera House on November 11. While he performs in all three shows on the bill, the seasoned dancer insisted the task is not as taxing as it sounds.

“It’s not too difficult — I’ve done a fair few triple bill seasons before.

“The middle piece is much more character-based, so that’s where a lot of the mental energy on the night goes, while the other two are just about dance, so they’re more about the physical energy.

“I really love the older work, by Nacho Duato. It’s a Spanish renaissance piece, it’s really beautiful. But all three are really fun to perform — the second one’s a comedy, so it’s a lot of fun for the audience. And the other one’s a contemporary ballet, with very different movements.”

At 29, Killian’s ballet career has this year gone from strength to strength — first the appointment to the role of senior artist, then the news that he’s been nominated for the prestigious Telstra Ballet Dancer Award, a nationwide competition whose winner will be announced on December 4.

As the only male dancer in contention in a field of five women, it appears he’s been awarded the title of Australia’s best male ballet dancer purely by virtue of his nomination.

“You know what? I hadn’t thought of that. I’m gonna roll with that,” he chuckled.

The award comes with a pretty hefty cash prize — $20,000. With a month to go until the envelope is opened, has he already started spending the prize money in his head?

“Yeah, a little bit,” he admitted.

“I’m travelling to Europe soon, I’d like to buy a house…it’d all help!”

info: Concord runs at Sydney Opera House until November 30. Visit www.sydneyoperahouse.com

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