“Women have an important voice. In training female artists of the future, the most important thing we want to impart is that they can influence society through their artistic talent.
In everyday training, we might overlook our true identities in favour of technique, but we want them to all have a unique voice for themselves. Dancers are very resilient by nature. So our programme provides more training in areas such as industry understanding and knowledge; you need to understand your rights as a female performer/artist and how to protect yourself in this competitive industry. This has been even more in focus after the #metoo movement.
In the performing arts, you’ll often see men in leadership roles: choreographers, producers, directors, curators. What’s keeping female artists from furthering into these roles is that when women are at different stages in their lives, they have to juggle multiple roles – as a mother, wife, artist. So maybe they need more support in other areas of life to focus on their career.
I’m fortunate to have had many inspiring female role models throughout my life. My first ballet teacher, Jean Wong, taught me persistence for artistic excellence. Susan Street, my predecessor here at the Academy, showed me what an impact education can make on society. As women, we need to find mentorship in one another, too. And as the world becomes more receptive to individual voices, one of the key things to being a great female leader in the arts, I think, is to be someone who can always listen.”
Sharon Cheung on Fine Art
Columnist, author and artist who, after 20 years in journalism, enrolled to study fine art at RMIT University in Melbourne