Grace Willett | Director
Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) with Distinction QUT, RAD RTS, Solo Seal, ARAD, ATOD and CSTD affiliated, Adv. Dip. Of Art (Dance Performance), First aid certificate
Grace’s journey in dance commenced at 2 years of age with her first performance as a ‘Dancing Poodle’!
She went on to study in all genres of dance and successfully competed at local, national and International level – as a semi finalist of the Genee in Toronto, Canada.
Grace was a member of various youth ballet companies and enjoyed performing in corps de ballet, soloist and principal roles. During her time as a member of the Queensland Ballet JEP program Grace had the opportunity to perform at both their International Gala and as part of Li Cunxin’s book promotion Mao’s Last Dancer.
At 16 Grace completed her ARAD, was awarded RAD Solo Seal, won the Snr South East QLD scholarship and audience choice award, danced the Sugar Plum Pas de Deux with Justin Meissner, ex soloist Royal Ballet Company, was offered a secondment to Sydney Dance Company by the standing Artistic Director, and completed an Advanced Diploma of Art (Dance Performance). She also had the privilege of being selected to perform in the Brisbane season of the Australian Ballet’s ‘Don Quixote’.
The following year, with the mentoring of Harold Collins, (1979 -1997 Artistic Director Queensland Ballet), Grace was offered secondments to both the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the West Australian Ballet. In WA she understudied in the Quarry Season working with Artists Paul Lightfoot, Petr Zuska, Craig Lord-Sole and Daryl Brandwood and was contracted to perform as a ‘Guest Young Artist’ in John Cranko’s Taming of the Shrew under the artistic direction of Ivan Cavallari. Regrettably, returning home injured, and with no foreseeable resolution, she was unable to accept her offer to go to New Zealand.
Shortly thereafter Grace found her ‘home’ in teaching and has approached her teacher training with as much passion and zeal as she gave to her technique and performance training.
She commenced her teaching career on the Gold Coast before moving to Brisbane and completing her RAD Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies in 2012. She taught in several schools before moving into the VET sector and the training of full time Diploma and Advanced Diploma students and becoming the Coordinator for a Certificate III in Performing Arts. During this time she travelled the world adding to her life experiences and seeing as many productions as possible.
With a desire to further her knowledge and skill set she successfully auditioned and was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship for a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) at Queensland University of Technology. Grace was able to complete her degree in 2 years with Distinction, also attaining a Co-curricular record for participation in programs centered on Entrepreneurship, and Leadership, Development and Innovation.
Through her degree she has worked with the Queensland Ballet Education Department, Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Out of the Box Festival for children 8yrs and under, Creative Generation featured artists, and Caboolture East Primary State School.
Moving forward she is hoping to study a PhD on the mental and emotional aspects of training students in the private studio sector, in particular how we are responsible for training the whole student and the benefits of a holistic approach as opposed to a physically centered teaching style.
A message from Miss Grace:
“The Queensland Performer’s Academy has been a dream of mine and to see it reach its fruition is magic. I could not have achieved this without the support of my family, friends and my many mentors. I am forever grateful to Cornelia Cassimatis and open my heart to my second family – the parents and students of QPA.”