Angus is a 17-year-old dancer from Murrumbateman, desperately fighting international coronavirus restrictions to enter New Zealand and take his place at the Southern Hemisphere’s pre-eminent dance school – the New Zealand School of Dance.
He auditioned for the School via video and is one of a small number of international dancers to have been accepted.
With a critical start date of 3 February 2021, the School has advised Angus and his family they have until 16 December to provide evidence of his ability to get into the country and start the course on time, or his offer will be rescinded.
As restrictions around the world change by the day, Angus waits with bated breath while his mum Gabrielle advocates for him and his chance to chase his dreams with politicians, bureaucrats, and diplomats.
Australian Immigration has approved his departure from Australia; he can be booked into New Zealand quarantine; his room with Kiwi family members is ready for him; but he has been refused an exemption to enter New Zealand.
The NZ School of Dance offers the mix of contemporary, classical and choreography he needs for his future career.
Angus began dancing at age six when he watched Barbie in the Nutcracker and said after his first class, dancing was all he wanted to do.
“Dancing is the way I express who I am as a person,” Angus said. “When I’m dancing it feels right. It’s natural. It’s what I’m meant to do.”
Angus has worked towards this for 11 years. His gruelling schedule includes commuting to and from Canberra every day, 36 hours of dance every week, and completing Year 11 remotely in the evening and on weekends.
A dancer typically works between the ages of 21 to 35 years, meaning there is only “a small window” in which to complete their training before they ‘miss’ a chance of a career due to age.
Gabrielle said her son has worked so hard to get to this position and while she appreciates governments have to make hard decisions to protect their countries, she hopes the borders will open before it’s too late for Angus to take up this opportunity.
The Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Kristy McBain has written to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on behalf on Angus and his family.