Gold Coast ballet dancer Jackson Smith-Leishman, 16, received a FOTA Gift Fund Grant that he used to prepare for the 2020 Prix de Lausanne, a prestigious international ballet competition, in which he reached the finals and was offered scholarships at some of the most prestigious schools. Jackson has continued to progress further in his career and recently accepted an offer to attend The Royal Ballet School, starting in September this year.
Jackson Smith-Leishman, 16, was chosen to represent Australia in the 48th Prix de Lausanne Switzerland in February 2020.
He was one of nine Australians and one of 86 from all over the world chosen to compete in the prestigious international dance competition.
Jackson made the finals, sharing the stage with the top 12 selected at the end of the competition. He was awarded many scholarships and placement offers from overseas schools to continue his training. He was presented with numerous opportunities.
Jackson said it was one of the best weeks of his life and was thrilled to have received offers from Paris Opera and The Royal Ballet School, that were his top two picks. He was humbled to have also received offers from Dutch National, Zurich Academy, Basel Switzerland, Tetro La Scala Milan, European School Ballet and Houston Academy.
At that time (Feb/March 2020) Covid19 restrictions began and he planned to make his decision after international travel was lifted and he could visit the schools.
Jackson used his downtime during Covid lockdowns to stay strong and continue preparation for either school, utilising his time to finish Certificate 3 and 4 in Dance, working mostly at home with online classes under the tutelage of Amanda Bollinger Dance Academy.
He showed incredible discipline and focus and his hard work paid off when he was able to return to the studio at the beginning of this year.
Jackson is pleased to announce that he has now officially accepted his offer to attend The Royal Ballet School starting September this year and is so excited as the School has been his ultimate dream. He leaves in August to move to London and start an exciting chapter in his dance career.
Jackson credits his dance teacher Amanda Bollinger for training him up to the high standards required to attend any of the schools he was invited to join – he says he wouldn’t be where he is now without her. He also remains grateful to the FOTA Gift Fund for the generosity and support in helping him in his journey towards realising his dreams.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR FOTA’S 2021 YOUTH ARTS GRANTS
Friends of the Arts Foundation Gold Coast has announced that applications for the 2021 Youth Grants Program will open on June 1st, offering 10 young local artists cash grants to put towards their creative disciplines.
Young Gold Coast artists involved in all forms of visual and performing arts are invited to apply for the 2021 Youth Grants Program for funding to assist with further development of their arts practice.
Grant application forms are available at www.friendsoftheartsfoundation.org.au and will close on Friday, July 30, with the successful recipients announced in September.
The 2021 Youth Grants have been made available through the Friends of the Arts (FOTA) Gift Fund; a public fund established in 2006 to assist Gold Coast’s upcoming artists to achieve their goals.
Gold Coast ballet dancer Jackson Smith-Leishman, 16, received a FOTA Gift Fund Grant to use towards preparation for the 2020 Prix de Lausanne, a prestigious international ballet competition, in which he reached the finals and was offered scholarships at some of the world’s most esteemed dance schools. Jackson has continued to progress further in his career and recently accepted an offer
to attend The Royal Ballet School in London, starting in September this year.
FOTA President Ian Kennedy said the Gift Fund had helped shape the lives of many Gold Coast artists over the past 15-plus years by recognising their talent and encouraging them to reach their full potential.
“We are pleased to be calling for applications to our Youth Grants Program, made possible through our Gift Fund that allocates generous donations from the community and FOTA members, including notable benefactors the late Jock and Beverly McIlwain,” Mr Kennedy said.
“The Youth Grants Program is financed by the Gift Fund to support talented young artists living on the Gold Coast, by awarding cash grants to spend on further training.
“Our focus at FOTA is to continue to grow the Gift Fund so we can assist the maximum number of upcoming artists to develop their craft.
“Allocating the Gift Fund is one of the most important activities that FOTA implements and the Youth Grants Program is just one of the initiatives aimed at nurturing art and culture on the Gold Coast.
“We wish all the applicants good luck and ask that they post their submissions early to ensure they are received before the July 30 deadline.”
The successful recipients of the 2021 Youth Arts Grants Program will share in $20,000 to go towards further training in their chosen arts field.
They must advise FOTA’s grant selectors of the type of course, study dates and the education provider they plan to attend.
While there are no limitations on age or gender, it is expected that applicants will be young and close to embarking upon their chosen career or already established and wishing to advance their career.
To download an application form, go to www.friendsoftheartsfoundation.org.au/friends-gift-fund/ and click on the link. Notes for grant applicants and a copy of the Friends’ Gift Fund Prospectus can also be accessed via links on the website.