Pre-Professional Year Alumni Making Waves


24 May 2023


Daniel Boud

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Pre-Professional Year, we asked our PPY Alumni to share their experiences completing the course and what they’re up to now.

Josie Weise, PPY Alumni 2014

A female dancer kicks a leg to the sky and holds her arms outstretched.
Image: Justin Ridler

Being exposed to such a diverse array of dancers, choreographers and practitioners from all across the world inspired and challenged me. The high influx of new information saturated my mind and motivated me to experiment with many ideas and techniques on my body. It was a crucial step in building on the creative curiosity, versatility and confidence I have as a dancer today.

What are you up to now?

I have recently finished the national festival tour Stephanie Lake Company as a dancer for the national festival tour of Manifesto and have been working with the current Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Year 1 cohort in a weeklong workshop.

Viola Iida, PPY Alumni 2015

A female dancer stands side on, leaning backwards with her arm bents and palms facing the sky.







Image: Rena Zheng

During my time in Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year, I was exposed to many inspiring artists with different dance backgrounds. This experience helped me embrace various methods for generating movement and revealed many career pathways including immersive dance theatre, dance films, and performance art. While the course was a strong physical preparation for the professional dance industry, it also offered skills in mindfulness, resilience, equanimity and autonomy. It focused on coaching dancers in all areas of life while allowing space for vulnerability. Head of Training Linda Gamblin always said two things, “human first, artist second, dancer third” and “approach everything with a beginner’s mind”. I think this was her way of letting us dig deep into our authentic selves and establish a mindful, healthy relationship with dance as a career.

What are you up to now?

Independently, my artistic practice spans contemporary dance, film and dance theatre. Currently I’m working as a Rehearsal Director and performer in Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More Shanghai.

Allie Graham, PPY Alumni 2016

A female dancer balances on one leg with her back left arching up behind her.







Image: Richard Freeman

Every week I stepped into the realm of a different artist, inundated with new images and sensations, releasing fixed concepts and becoming amorphous within their world. This constant layering of information created a space to digest ideas, layer my own internal dialogue of imagery and verbal cues, as well as experiment with my individual voice.

Pre-Professional Year focuses on turning inwards – approaching concepts with a beginner’s mind, assuming nothing and embracing the elasticity of your mind and body.

The Pre-Professional Year program has gifted me with an autonomy and sense of self that underpins my creative practice every day.

What are you up to now?

Most recently I collaborated with director Constantine Costi, playing Anna II in the critically acclaimed production of The Seven Deadly Sins & Mahagonny Songspiel and feature film A Delicate Fire and I’m now a member of Sydney Experimental Arts Ensemble led by Eliza Cooper.

Make sure to follow our new Instagram as we continue celebrating our 10th year of the Pre-Professional Year program and showcase the next generation of artists, sharing their stories, learning practices and exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

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