Mitchell Rayner-Interview


Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Mitch. Former dancer with the Australian Ballet and now freelance ballet teacher. I dance basic pas de deux steps with him and can honestly say he is wonderful!

  • In 3 words what does dance mean to you?
    Freedom, energy and expression
  • Favourite ballet to dance?
    When I was in The Australian Ballet it was always Graeme Murphy’s version of Swan Lake. It has so much emotional depth and the choreography tells the story so brilliantly. We toured it all around Australia as well as internationally and it was always a joy to perform.
  • From your personal experience do you feel that ballet is accessible to most people?
    I feel that ballet is now more accessible than ever due to the rising popularity of
    things like adult ballet classes popping up everywhere and It’s great that there are all
    different types of levels to cater to the individual.
  • If you could change one thing about this art form, what would it be?
    Reverse pas de deux! The girls partnering the guys for a change would be cool! It would be interesting to swap shoes (literally!) for even just a day, at least so the girls could feel what we feel and vice versa.
  • If you could give some advice to your pre-professional self what would it be?
    Treat your body and your mind with kindness and care. Don’t be too hard on
    yourself, especially if something goes wrong in a performance. You always have the
    next night or the next performance to get it right and to improve. Treat every mistake
    as a lesson and as an opportunity to learn.
  • What is a typical misconception about ballet that you would like to set

    Ballet dancers eat just as much as normal human beings and male ballet dancers
    don’t stuff their tights.
  • What are you reading right now?
    Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. Apart from that, the latest issue of
    Coles magazine…I’ve become quite the cook since retiring from the world of
    professional dancing!
  • What inspires you to work harder every day?
    Just the idea of not settling for ‘average’ or ‘near enough’ - which isn't good enough
    for me. I don’t want to be just ok at something, I want to be great at it. It’s something
    that was instilled in me by my ballet teachers when I was first starting out.
  • Ballet without Borders aims to allow children from disadvantaged
    backgrounds to experience ballet- if you had ultimate power for a day what
    would you do to make this a possibility?

    I would set up as many studios in small towns and communities across the world
    offering free ballet classes with experienced and nurturing teachers. Also I would
    make it possible for the children to attend ballet performances and fun interactive

You can find Mitch teaching at various studios around Sydney, including Studio Tibor in St Leonards. 

Beautiful photo of him is courtesy of Grace Spicer-Brown