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Aidan Tully, 19, is now a professional ballet dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. PHOTO: Gregory Batardon

Ballet ‘dream come true’ for local dancer

A ballet dancer who had his start performing end-of-year shows at a Hauraki theatre has now signed with the National Ballet of Canada, achieving his dream of becoming a professional ballerino.
Former Kaihere local Aidan Tully, 19, has had a whirlwind six months.
In late-January, he took part in one of the world’s most prestigious dance competitions, the Prix de Lausanne, in Switzerland.
Out of 429 applicants from 39 countries, Aidan was the sole New Zealander to be selected.
He then spent four months touring with The Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Now, Aidan has signed with the National Ballet of Canada, based in Toronto, marking the start of his career as a professional ballet dancer.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this day for I don’t even know how long. It’s made it all worth it – all the long nights and difficult rehearsals – and it’s a culmination of all the work people have put into me and that I’ve put into myself.”
Aidan started practising ballet at age seven, and was a former student of Pauline Germon’s Thames Hauraki Ballet Theatre, based in Turua.
He finished up at Hauraki Plains College when he was 15 and moved, on his own, to Wellington to train at the New Zealand School of Dance.
He told The Profile he sent an audition video to the National Ballet of Canada and got a response asking him to travel to Toronto to audition in person.
But, being busy with Prix de Lausanne preparations, Aidan told the company he would be unable to make it.
However, while over in Switzerland with his mum Sarah, dad Ciarán, his grandma, and relatives from England, he got another call saying the Canadian company was still interested.
He restructured his flight plan and made it to Toronto to audition, see the facilities, and get a feel for his future “day to day” life.
Now, getting paid to do what he loves was him finally “reaping the rewards”, he said, and he couldn’t have done it without the support from his family and community.
“I can’t express in words enough how much it means to me for the unconditional love and support that’s come from them,” he said. “I was just a little boy with a dream, asking: ‘Can I do ballet?’ They said yes, and now here we are.”
Aidan, who was on a plane to Canada on Tuesday last week, said he once suffered with a lack of self-confidence and anxiety.
He wanted to remind people to “take care of the arts”.
“Support it and keep feeding that growth because… there’s a whole world out there full of beautiful, creative people putting incredible work into all shapes and forms.
“It hasn’t always come easy showing people what I can do, so there’s been a lot of learning and a lot of growth, and I’m really proud of myself for overcoming that.”