My name is Axel Shirt and I am 10 years old. I live in Pakenham, Australia and I dance at Dance Stream Victoria.
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dancing when I was 3, because my sisters were dancing at the same studio. I loved being on stage, so when I was 4, I started learning solos and joined the U6 troupe. I did a lot of competitions and won a lot of awards. I have learned tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, lyrical, neo, national character, and song and dance. I love all styles of dancing, but tap dancing is my favourite.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I found that dancing during lockdowns was challenging, as we had to have most of our lessons online. This was hard for me. And when we went back on stage and to competitions, I was a little bit nervous and worried whether I could still do it.
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
I have always struggled with my flexibility, but I have learned just to stretch and push myself a little bit further each day.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
At school, some of the other kids have said ballet is for girls and boys are not meant to do it. They also show me their type of ballet and say they are good and I am bad. If they do that, I just say to them that they should try and learn real ballet, which is very challenging and a lot different than what they think it is.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I ignore people who speak to me negatively because I know what they are saying is not true.
What is your favorite quote?
"Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
- Howard Thurman
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m planning to move to a dance school soon that has a greater focus on tap because that is what makes me come alive.