For an 18-year-old whose lifelong ballet dream has finally been realised, the hard work is only just beginning.
By Nina Karnikowski.
Cameras & editing: James Braund
Benedicte Bemet often has to pinch herself. Not too hard, but just enough to remind herself that she's actually in the Australian Ballet studio in Melbourne, elegantly bending her torso and swooping her arms and trying to emulate a swan in rehearsals for her favourite ballet, Swan Lake. "I look over at the amazing principal dancers and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe I'm here!'," she says.
It's a dream 18-year-old Bemet, who was born in Mackay in Queensland and joined the Australian Ballet School at 14, has waited almost her entire life to come true. "I started ballet lessons when I was three; I loved running and jumping up and down to music, pretending to be a fairy." But while most give up on the ballerina idea when they realise how hard it is - Bemet acknowledges "the pressures on the body and the mind are too much sometimes" - she persevered, receiving the ultimate reward when she was accepted into the corps de ballet six months ago.