Steven McRae – principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London, and one of the world’s leading dancers – has returned to his hometown to take centre stage at Western Sydney University (WSU).
During the university’s December Graduation ceremonies, Mr McRae is trading his ballet shoes and tights for academic regalia as he accepts an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover, said the university presented the honorary award to Steven McRae for his outstanding international recognition and contribution to the performing arts.
“Not only has Steven McRae enjoyed remarkable success on the world stage, he has also actively mentored and inspired young Australian dancers,” Vice-Chancellor Barney Glover said.
“Steven McRae has received many accolades from across the globe, and we are proud to add this Western Sydney honour to the list of awards that recognise his dedication and exceptional talent.”
Mr McRae says hard work has been at the centre of his achievements.
In life, talent alone is not enough to ensure success – you have to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity and also accept that not everything is in your control – luck and good timing also have an important role to play.Steven McRae
“In life, talent alone is not enough to ensure success – you have to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity and also accept that not everything is in your control – luck and good timing also have an important role to play,” he said.
He was born in the western Sydney suburb of Plumpton and attended Rooty Hill Primary School. He started dancing competitively at the age of eight and, early on, performed with Tap Dogs at the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony.
He has been awarded the Genée International Ballet Competition in Sydney, won the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland and studied on full scholarship at the Royal Ballet School in London, where he went on to become a principal dancer.
Mr McRae has been a guest artist with the world’s most prestigious companies, including the American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada, Bolshoi Ballet, Australian Ballet and Tokyo Ballet.
His principal roles include: the Mad Hatter in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; ‘The Creature’ in Liam Scarlett’s full-length ballet of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty; and Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.