National College of Dance student Linton Krupic secures place at Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel

LINTON Krupic was all too aware of the risk.

At just 16, he was given the choice of leaving school after year 10 to focus on dance, or committing to his Higher School Certificate and living in the purgatory of ‘what if?’

“It’s really hard trying to pursue a career in dance so it was always going to be a risk,” he said. “I was scared that I was not going to make it or that I was not good enough.

“But my friends at school were really supportive and really happy for me – that was the best part about it.”

Fast forward two years and Linton and his friends’ belief in his talent has paid off.

The 18 year old from Coal Point will fly on February 1 to Israel, where he has secured a place in the revered Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s study program, Dance Journey. “I’ve never done anything like this before so it’s going to be a really big challenge – like being thrown in the deep end,” he said. “I’m quite nervous, but very excited at the same time.”

Linton was a recreational soccer player, tennis player and swimmer when he broke his left femur aged seven. He spent six months in a wheelchair, 18 months on crutches and a further 18 months pondering what to embrace next. His grandparents suggested he follow in his mother’s footsteps and try dance. Linton enrolled in ballet, contemporary and jazz classes at the National College of Dance in Lambton.

“I thought I’d start with a mixed bag to see what I liked, but I ended up sticking with them all,” he said. “It was totally different to what I’d done before and I really enjoyed it, it grew on me. After a few years my teacher Alfred Taahi told me I should consider it full time. In the back of my head I started to think I might become a professional dancer one day.”

Linton said dancers could spend hours honing their craft each day, but had to be more mentally than physically strong to take on criticism.

“It's good, it makes you better,” he said. “You've got to use it in the most constructive way possible, or you won't improve.”

Linton left school after completing year 10 in 2014 to study part time and complete his certificate three in dance.

He started dancing full time last year and had his first ever audition – for Kibbutz – in August, before completing his certificate four.

“I was meant to study for my diploma this year and then start auditions in the middle to end of the year,” he said. “But I thought I’d start doing auditions in 2016 to get experience and just see what it was like. I was in the middle of a movie when the email came through saying I’d got in – it was a huge adrenaline rush. I was really ecstatic and shocked to be honest – I was not expecting to get in because I did not have that next year of training.”

Linton said he got “a rush” whenever he was on stage.

“It’s a great overall atmosphere and you feel like you’ve accomplished something great. All I do is sleep, eat and dance. The dream is to become a principal dancer at a company – maybe Kibbutz –  and eventually an artistic director.”

Linton has started an online crowdfunding campaign to help him supplement his 18 month stay in Israel.