Parkwood ballerina follows dream to Joffrey Ballet School in New York

Claire Kaines.  Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d485221
Claire Kaines. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d485221

PARKWOOD ballet dancer Claire Kaines is about to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime, but it was a dream that almost never was after an accident three years ago.

The 19-year-old wasn’t even two when she started dancing at the Valerie Heston School of Dance, but a lifetime of dancing and training almost came unstuck when she crushed a bone in her foot while in class.

“I continued to dance for about an hour after as we are so used to being in pain when we dance, I didn’t realise I had done so much damage,” she said.

“I was told by the surgeon he could hopefully get me back to dancing again, but probably not on pointe as he needed to insert screws and a bone graft into my foot.

“I was determined to continue dancing and although the rehabilitation was long and hard it was definitely worth it to get me back doing what I love.

“It was nearly two years before I could do my first pointe class and from then I never looked back.”

Now fully recovered, the Graduate College of Dance graduate will take her talents onto the big stage after becoming the first WA dancer to be accepted to the Joffrey Ballet School trainee program in New York.

“I found out early one morning by email and I didn’t believe it was true, I read the email so many times before I called my Mum who was on her way to work to tell her, I’ll never forget that day,” she said.

“I am the first person from WA to be accepted, they don’t accept many people from worldwide auditions each year.”

The four-year course, which includes classes on classical technique, pointe, anatomy, nutrition and ballet repertoire, could culminate in Kaines earning a coveted place in a ballet company.

“My ultimate dream is to be accepted into a ballet company,” she said.

“I hope to gain the knowledge and ability to work in a classical ballet company and I will be auditioning for companies all over the world during my time at Joffrey.

“I don’t mind where, I would love to travel and experience the world.”