Q&A with Pre-Professional Year Head of Training Linda Gamblin


8 May 2023

In this Q&A, Pre-Professional Year Head of Training Linda Gamblin discusses the importance of contemporary dance and what the panel looks for when auditioning students.

Why are you so passionate about contemporary dance?

Contemporary art is there to communicate and express ideas, hopes and frustrations, and to bring about questioning. Contemporary dance as an art form allows us to communicate and explore societal ideas in unique and stimulating ways. It evokes reactions to these subjects and starts us questioning our views and values.

Contemporary means of the now. Contemporary dance challenges us to question what was and what will be. The culture is always shifting to the new now. In this way contemporary dance supports our changing world.

What is unique about training at Sydney Dance Company's Pre-Professional Year?

Sydney Dance Company’s Training Philosophy cultivates a growth mind set.  Learners embody knowledge and skill with an inquisitive mind and psychological and physiological considerations are embedded in all areas of teaching and training. The learning environment at PPY is conducive to a safe space to embody knowledge and skills, encouraging individual autonomy and work ethic. This approach is integral to the success of the program. Now in its tenth year, PPY alumni are highly employable and respected members of the dance industry both in Australia and across the world.

What do you look for when auditioning future students?

It is an incredible process finding the next cohort. Enjoyable and stressful. It’s not an easy process and at times decisions are made intuitively. We are not looking for the professional dancer. We are looking for a competent dancer that gives us a glimpse that they are open to transforming technically and artistically into a forward-thinking contemporary artist. When you see this quality, you resonate towards that person, and they leave a lasting impression. Technique is definitely just the beginning.

What can you expect for the in-person audition workshop?

Once we’ve read through the applications and viewed the videos, we’ll notify the dancers who have been selected for the in-person audition.

On the day of the audition, we adopt the mindset that you are auditioning us just as much as we are auditioning you, so we aim to create a mini PPY day to give you an authentic feel for the course. This includes improvisation, a short classical ballet class, contemporary technique and Sydney Dance Company repertoire all led by the PPY team and independent industry specialists that you would likely encounter in the course.

As for what to wear, we don’t have a uniform at PPY so choose something that feels authentically you and something that you feel comfortable dancing in.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that you choose us just as much as we chose you!

Applications are now open for our Pre-Professional Year 2024 Program. 

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