Sunday, May 21st will be the next monthly community documentary screening in the Old Cobargo Butter Factory at 3.30pm

A Film by Douglas Watkin

ELLA follows the groundbreaking story of Wiradjuri ballet dancer Ella Havelka.

ella havelka jump
When Ella Havelka was accepted into the Australian Ballet in 2012, as the company’s first Indigenous dancer in its 50-year history, she was thrilled to finally achieve the goal she had strived for since she was eight years old.

The documentary is much more than the story of becoming a professional ballerina, although that is compelling in its own right. There is the story of determination: growing up in country NSW with her single mother Janna, who happily sacrifices everything to support her only child, including relocating with her to Melbourne when Havelka is accepted into the Australian Ballet School, aged 14. There is Havelka’s learning about her cultural roots when she joins Bangarra Dance Theatre, after failing to receive a contract with the Australian Ballet. Then there is the story of her astonishing move from contemporary dance back to classical ballet when she ultimately receives the coveted offer to join the Australian Ballet; a job that will take her around Australia and the world.

ELLA was directed by Douglas Watkin, an Indigenous filmmaker from Queens-land making his first long-form documentary after 20 years in television. Watkin: “ELLA has lots of universal themes; you don’t have to be a dancer to appreciate it.”

WATCH THE TRAILER: vimeo.com/175474033