IT was familiar territory for Ellie Swiatkiwsky when she leapt on to the stage at Orange Civic Theatre to dance in the eisteddfod yesterday during a brief trip to Orange from New York.
After all it is was on this stage as a little girl of five she made her debut as “Mary Mary, quite contrary”.
The third year dance student of the prestigious Juilliard School in New York turned on a completely different performance to that tentative five-year-old as she danced with all the confidence and sophistication of a young woman who is soon to begin auditioning for dance companies all over the world.
There were tears of pride and joy from Ms Swiatkiwsky’s grandparents sitting in the audience as they hadn’t seen her dance since she left Orange in 2009 for higher training and a career on the international stage.
“Today wasn’t about competition for me.
“It was about dancing just for my grandparents,” Ms Swiatkiwsky said.
And unlike other dance students in the open modern dance section she hasn’t been rehearsing her routine for months.
“I did pretty much impro it,” she said.
In a change to family plans for medical reasons Ms Swiatkiwsky’s grandparents won’t be able to travel to New York to see her dance her final performance at Juilliard.
“At Juilliard we have to do solos for up to 20 minutes so dancing for three minutes today was all about having fun and making my family happy,” she said.
But it was also a time at the eisteddfod to catch up with many of her former dance school friends from Colour City Danceworks, and in some ways she says it felt as though she has never been away.
Ellie heads back to New York in the next couple of weeks.