The local ballet dancer takes her skills to the states
Photography courtesy of Justin Aveling of Happen Production
Newcastle’s very own Lilliana Eneliko has accepted a traineeship by the coveted Alonzo King LINES Ballet; one of the USA’s most prestigious dance companies and she starts this week!
With productions that are globally renowned for transcending traditional ballet with cross-genre collaborations, Lilliana will be training with the San Francisco-based company, but it’s the local Newcastle community that will accelerate Lilliana’s rise to artistic stardom.
Newcastle-based real estate brand, CVETA Property, has announced their sponsorship of Lilliana, making her their emerging Brand Ambassador and helping with her LINES journey.
Having spent the last six years at Newcastle’s National College of Dance, starring in productions such as the Imperial Russian Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker, 2022’s Sydney International Ballet Gala, and the National College of Dance productions of Nostalgia and Resurgence amongst many more.
In the imminent lead-up to Lilliana’s journey in the USA, we caught up to hear all about her dancing background, her feelings about the journey ahead of her, and what being an Ambassador with CVETA Property means.
Where are you from?
I am from Brandy Hill which is in the Maitland area. The amazing training provided by exceptional teachers at National College of Dance made the endless driving worth it.
Tell me a bit about your background…
I am proudly the daughter of a Samoan Dad and an Australian Mum. I love being able to represent my Polynesian heritage as an inspiration for younger ballerinas.
How long have you been dancing?
My parents tell me I danced before I walked. I started dancing for fun at a small studio in Raymond Terrace and then at age 11 I joined the National College of Dance.
Talk me through some of your notable career moments…
I have experienced some AMAZING times in my career. I was honoured to have won Sydney Eisteddfod Lyrical 4 years in a row; I loved every moment with my choreographer Debbie Linnert creating those solos. I performed at the Sydney International Gala in a premiered piece called ‘Forest of Minds’ a breathtaking NeoClassical choreographed by Jake Burden. This gala allowed me to mix with exceptional artists such as Natalia Osipova.
Most recently I had the honour of performing ‘Loving the Aliens’ a duet from Graeme Murphy’s “BERLIN” at the Opera House. Representing the National Youth Ballet Company, my dance partner and I closed the Sydney Ballet Scholarship finals. It was exciting to share the stage and dance with live vocals from iOTA. An honour to be mentored for this piece by Graeme Murphy OA, Janet Vernon AM, Katherine Griffiths, and Brett Morgan OAM. An experience I will never forget.
Did you ever envision that you would be where you are today?
Many little girls dream to become a ballerina. I soon realised it could be a reality, with the right support, training, and self-determination I knew I could make it possible. Of course, there have been difficult times, with injuries and fatigue, but I am grateful to never have doubted my path. This gave me the strength to keep pushing forward.
How did the traineeship at Alonzo King LINES Ballet come about?
As an international student you can submit an audition video. To audition for Alonzo King LINES Ballet, you need to be 18 to audition and I was 16 when applying, so I didn’t think I stood a chance at being chosen. I was thrilled to receive a call from the Artistic Director offering me a traineeship position. I was so honoured to receive so many offers across the globe, but it was LINES I was most drawn to.
When are you due to go and what does the traineeship look like?
I fly out SAT 3RD Sept and the training starts on the 6th of Sept. I will be training and taking classes six full days a week. I will be with them in San Francisco for the next 12 months.
How did the CVETA sponsorship/ambassador position come about?
Cveta reached out to me expressing how she wants to support the arts and continue to empower women and that I embodied what she was looking for. I was blown away and am so grateful for this opportunity.
How are you feeling about heading overseas?
I am beyond excited, I am looking forward to the new lifestyle, training, and environment. I feel I will grow so much from this experience both as an artist and as a person. There are of course nerves about moving so far from family and home, but I am so grateful for this opportunity.
What are your big plans post traineeship?
My end goal is to grace stages internationally and in Australia sharing this beautiful art form with audiences. I am open to being flexible with my path. As I am exposed to new choreography, teachers, artists, and new dance experiences my passions for different styles may grow and change.
The CVETA Property Ambassador and Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer, Lilliana Eneliko no doubt has a strong and exciting future ahead of her. To keep up to date with her movements, you can follow her journey here.