Story of our own Billy Elliot
RUDY Hawkes discovered a love of ballet when he was seven, at Ipswich's Shayne McCormick Ballet Centre.
Two decades on, the Boonah-raised boy is now an Australian Ballet principal dancer, and the star of a Channel Ten ballet documentary.
Once Upon a Dream is a six-part children's series that Rudy hopes will encourage young children to dance for the stars.
Rudy shared his success story with The Queensland Times ahead of the show's October premiere.
"I got into ballet when I was young, I was doing Little Athletics and other stuff and I guess mum wanted something that would tire me out," Rudy laughed.
"Mum loved ballet when she was little, but she never really got to try it herself," he said.
"I stuck with it and a year into it the after-school schedule got busier and I decided I liked it best of all."
Rudy said he had "no idea" about the dance genre before his mum suggested it.
"I did a couple of ballet classes and it felt nicer (than other sports)," he said.
"It wasn't forced, and it was a little bit harder to perfect."
Rudy embraced the challenge of ballet, and left Bremer State High School at 15 to attend a school in Melbourne.
"I came down for full-time training, and it was competitive, but good competitive," he said.
"In my year at the school there were 16 other boys, and it was a lot more of a challenge than being the only boy in a school with mostly girls.
"We pushed each other, and I remember we used to see the bigger guys dancing down the hallway."
"That was when I though 'I want to do that one day'," Rudy said.
Rudy joined The Australian Ballet at 19, and has starred in many productions over the past eight years. He was promoted to a soloist in the 2011 season.
His standout roles include Prince Partner in the Nutcracker - The Story of Clara in 2010, Ceyx in Halcyon in 2010, and Onegin in John Cranko's production of the same name this year.
Rudy also met his fiancée, Dimity Azoury, a fellow Australian Ballet dancer, at the company. "She's great; it was sort of perfect because we tour so much and have the same lifestyle," Rudy said.
As to the future, Rudy hopes to dance for as long as possible.
"Injuries are the worst part about this work - I had a knee operation a year ago and it's mentally tough," Rudy said.
"You want to be doing your thing, but you can't."
"As long as my body can withstand it I'll keep dancing, but you generally expire by about 40," he laughed. "I might do something completely different then; I'd like to get another skill under my belt."
Once Upon a Dream will air from October 16 on Tuesdays and Wednesday at 4pm.