DANCER Morgan Holt spends more than half her year dancing on the waters of the world, working on cruise ships everywhere from the Caribbean tropics to the Mediterranean.

Back at home this week, she took her craft under the water in a photo shoot with Daily Examiner photographer Adam Hourigan.

"It was really fun, but very different," Morgan said.

"You feel weightless underwater but you have to be very aware of the lines of your body because your body relaxes so much underwater."

Morgan said she was surprised by how taxing the shoot had been.

"I've seen other people do stuff underwater but never really appreciated how hard it would be," she said.

"There's a lot of time between takes. I definitely felt it after we got out of the water. But it just looks effortless and the pictures look great."

The Grafton-based dancer splits her time between home and dancing on cruise ships after a video audition launched her on the journey.

"I started in 2012, and while they audition around the world, because I was at home I sent away a show reel and was offered a contract touring around New York, Canada and the Caribbean," she said.

"The contracts are usually for seven months of the year, although I'm just about to go for a few months to fill in for another dancer."

Morgan joins other dancers for rehearsals one month before each cruise and then performs three shows four to five times a week on the ship that accommodates 3200 passengers and more than 1000 crew.

"We do a whole range of styles from ballet and pointe work, through to hip-hop and ballroom dancing," she said.

"The production and stage settings are just like a theatre production and the audience is packed every night."

And while it is all hard work aboard the ship, Morgan said the lifestyle is fantastic.

"You travel to some amazing places," she said.

"We travelled to Venice, which is my favourite place in the world. All your expenses, board and food are covered as well."

With her feet back on the ground in Grafton, Morgan teaches both dance and make-up and is studying event management.

"Without any major injuries you can dance into your late 30s but it's good to have other options in case the worst happens," she said.

"And working in events and make-up, I'm still around the stage and performing as well."

Morgan said her teaching commitments take her up and down the coast and she is constantly learning.

"It's all very different wherever you go," she said.

"The styles are so different that the students can learn things from me in one area, and in other areas I'll pick up things from the students as well, that I then bring back to the others.

"The dance industry now is looking for people who are versatile and can adapt so it's good to have strengths in a few different areas."

Morgan, who trained locally with Clarence River Dance Academy, and with Urban Dance centre in Sydney, said her favourite style of dance is lyrical and contemporary.

"My passion really lies in that lyrical style," she said.

"I think you can really show who you are and not be within the structure of the other styles."


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