WHEN JENNA Roberts was accepted into London’s Royal Ballet School at the age of 16, her family left their Newcastle home in support of her dream.
That dream was realised when Roberts became First Soloist for the Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2008 and Principal in 2012.
After fourteen years performing in the UK, Roberts has returned to make her Australian stage debut as a guest artist in Queensland Ballet Company’s four-part Elegance Program.
“It’s a bit nerve-wracking being back home,” she told The Australian.
“There’s a bit of pressure, because people haven’t seen me dance in this country for a long time. But I’m looking forward to it.”
Roberts will dance opposite former Australian Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet principal dancer Matthew Lawrence in Greg Horsman’s Verdi Variations.
During her successful career, Roberts has danced the leading roles in Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Romeo & Juliet,â€¨ Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppélia, Daphnis and ChloÃ«.
She also danced Juliet in Ballet Hoo! Ballet Changed â€¨My Life — Birmingham royal Ballet’s landmark televised educational project.
Roberts believes the large number of European ballet companies is a great attraction to young dancers.
“I guess the opportunities in Europe are so much greater than here in terms of numbers of companies.”
Elegance, which will also feature Texas Ballet Theater principal Carolyn Judson, is all part of the company’s plan to expand its international reach.
“The company has a long history of collaborating with international artists and I’m thrilled our audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy the performances of these gifted people,” said QB artistic director Li Cunxin.