Globe-trotting ballerina Fenella McKirdy to get Mountains kids dancing

A Blue Mountains ballet dancer and teacher whose career has taken her all over the world is offering free dance lessons via YouTube, ahead of teaching ballet in-person soon.

Fenella McKirdy has lived in Leura since January 2021, a change of pace amid a career that has seen her dance professionally in Australia, the United States, Japan, China and Europe. She has also danced with none other than The Wiggles, and performed the role of Josephine in the ABC series Dance Academy.

McKirdy has further settled into the Mountains community by launching BalletColourful, which she describes as "a platform that aims to encourage all children to dance while exploring the diverse beauty of both nature and ourselves."

McKirdy holds a teaching qualification in classical ballet from Australian Teachers of Dancing, as well as a degree in public health. She is also a qualified pilates instructor. BalletColourful is aimed at children aged 3-12, and launched on YouTube in September. The program is informed by McKirdy's talents as a high-flying dancer, and as well as a compassionate educator.

"I know first-hand how dancing can grow to feel competitive for young dancers and parents," said McKirdy, who started dancing at the age of five, and moved to New York on a ballet scholarship when she was 18. "Therefore, I aim for BalletColourful to instill a lasting impression of the craft's joy and beauty ahead of whichever pursuits they may later undertake.

"With over 20 years of schooling and performing professionally, I'm so excited to now share with children the technical aspects of ballet in a positive, encouraging, and inclusive environment."

With COVID restrictions easing, McKirdy intends to start in-person group ballet lessons soon. However, the YouTube lessons will certainly continue. She also plans to embark on a ballet-focussed children's book.

In the meantime, McKirdy hopes to further immerse herself in the artistic milieu of the Blue Mountains, as it slowly wakes up after its lockdown-induced slumber.

"My grandparents lived in Leura for many years, and I remember visiting the Mountains as a little girl and loving it," she said. "My partner Tom and I still love the area's natural beauty, and the arts community here has always seemed so inspired and inspiring. We've been drawn here to see if we can further tap in, and contribute, to this wonderful spirit."

Subscribe to weekly classes on YouTube at Follow BalletColourful on Instagram: @balletcolourful.