2019 is our 50th anniversary and we are championing some of the people who help make Scottish Ballet a great place to work. Each week we will introduce you to a different career at Scottish Ballet and the person behind it.
Tony Currie started his professional life as a dancer in Australia and is now Digital Producer. We spoke to Tony about transitioning from dancer to marketeer, and his role producing our Digital Season.
Can you describe your career as a dancer?
I graduated from the Adelaide College of the Arts dance program in 2011 with a Merit Award for high achievement. After finishing my degree, I was looking for something to help launch me into the industry as an independent artist.
I was content with the reality that a full-time gig in a paid professional company was probably never going to happen, so I focused my attention elsewhere. I joined the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) post-graduate company, LINK Dance Company, the following year.
LINK offered something unique – a chance to continue growing as an artist under the wing of teachers and mentors while building new connections and laying strong foundations in the professional sphere. LINK dancers are treated like professionals which gives you the responsibility of operating like a professional. I graduated from LINK with First Class Honours at the end of 2012.
I then worked throughout Australia and Europe with artists including Larissa McGowan, Laura Boynes, Aimee Smith, Jo Pollitt / Paea Leach, and Rhiannon Newton. I also received an Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart Grant and WA Government funding allowing me to carry out several choreographic development projects.
What made you decide to transition away from being a dancer?
My answer to this question changes with the wind... A number of things played into the decision, but in short – I realised that I enjoy dancing more than being a dancer. The biggest battle I faced when making the shift was simply being at peace with the fact that I wanted to stop dancing professionally. When you’ve worked towards something for most of your life and you’ve sacrificed so much, it’s not easy to give it up without a great deal of guilt, uncertainty and fear.
Thankfully I had some incredible role models around me and a supportive family, and I was able to see that there are many rewarding ways to work in the performing arts industry without being a practicing artist. So, I enrolled in an Arts Management degree at WAAPA. This was the perfect fit for me as it allowed me to keep working in the industry I’m most passionate about.
I was offered a part time administrative role at West Australian Ballet (WAB) while I was studying Arts Management. When they advertised a new role in the marketing team, I jumped at the chance and was fortunate to have been offered the position. WAB took a risk on me (having almost no professional marketing experience) and I owe a lot to them for the doors they opened for me.
Scottish Ballet is a long way from Australia, why did you apply for the job?
Steven Roth [Scottish Ballet's Executive Director] was WAB's Executive Director when I began working with the Company but he left not long after I started to take up the role at Scottish Ballet. I knew that I wanted to work in Europe but was waiting for the right way in. Scottish Ballet had been on my radar for quite some time already because of the work they were doing in the digital sphere, so when this job opened up, I knew it would be the right move for me.