“One or two slips but unusual tricks – Cossack leap finish” was my first impression of Steven McRae after his “Corsaire” in the semi-finals of the Prix de Lausanne in 2003. He went up a few more notches after his contemporary variation – Conny Janssen’s “Gigue:” “good
timing, dynamics, personality.” But what made me, if not the entire audience and jury, really fall for competitor 122 was his terrific tap dance – “Untitled, Opus 13,” choreographed by Glenn Wood.
Blistering beats scorched the stage instantly erasing dozens of Auroras from our
Petipa-sated memories. The rest was history. Aged 17 years and one month (the Swiss like to get things precise!), McRae scooped the top scholarship prize and headed for the Royal Ballet School in London. He also picked up the gold medal at the Genée Award.
Born in Sydney, McRae trained with Hilary Kaplan, under whose coaching he attained the RAD Solo Seal. In London, his progress was keenly watched by the School’s Australian
director, Gailene Scott. Noting his exceptional talent, she cast him with Josephine Pra in
Petal Miller-Ashmole’s showcase “La Favorita” pas de deux in the divertissement programme at the British Young Dancer of the Year in ...