RINGWOOD resident Laura Tong is strapping on her pointe shoes as a soloist in the coming Australian Ballet production of Russian drama Onegin.
This is Tong's first show back with the Australian Ballet in Melbourne after she gave birth to her son Henry last September.
"It is nice to be back," she says. "It has been lovely to be able to take some time to get back into it.
"The whole process has felt really calm and gradual."
Tong says she started with gentle Pilates six weeks after giving birth, then started ballet classes again after three months.
"I had to start back from the beginning fitness wise. After about six months I had my strength back. It can seem daunting at first but it is a really nice process to go through."
Her husband Tristan Message is also involved with the ballet company and Tong says they have been lucky that Henry has such supportive grandparents who are able to help out, making it easier for her to juggle motherhood and a career.
"I threw myself into both things, ballet and parenting. It's a nice feeling. For any mum that chooses to go back to work, you are aware of the sacrifices you make in both directions. I don't have any regrets about it at all."
Tong grew up in rural New Zealand and lived in Singapore and London.
She started dancing at four when she began going along with her older sister to ballet and piano lessons.
She studied at the English National Ballet School, then entered the English National Ballet before joining the Australian Ballet in 2004.
She says her 10 years of professional dancing have passed by "really quickly" but the love and passion is still there.
She says Onegin is an " intricate and beautiful" story of unrequited love featuring stunning sets and costumes.
"It's a really fun one to be involved with."
Onegin opens in Melbourne on June 23 for 13 performances at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne. Details: australianballet.com.au.