How old were you when you started ballet? Did you like it?

I was 5 years old when I started taking ballet classes, and I was taught by my mother.  I was a very shy boy, and dancing definitely boosted my confidence.

What was the first ballet you ever saw in a theatre? Who was it by, and what impression did it leave with you?

The first ballet I watched was Coppélia, which was performed by The Australian Ballet. I was really impressed by the male dancers, especially their allegro parts, and I remember wondering if I would ever be able to become a professional dancer. It’s funny that I am in a professional dance company now.

When did you decide to pursue a professional career, and why?

I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to pursue a career in music or dance and for most of my childhood, I just saw dance as a normal part of my life.  When I was 15, I started thinking about it more seriously.  After attending a workshop at the Australian Ballet School, from which I really didn’t want to come home from, I then knew dancing was something I really wanted to do with my life.

Did you enjoy your training at your school?

Before I enrolled at the New Zealand School of Dance, I was studying at my mother’s dance school.

I didn’t find it exciting at first, barre work for RAD was boring in my eyes, however the dance routines for the local Eisteddfod were much more thrilling.

Later, I moved to Wellington to study dance full time, which was a much more intense course than I was accustomed to.  The teachers were very demanding of us to do our best, whilst at the same time also being very encouraging.  This was a wonderful experience and while being away from home was exciting, it was also a little bit scary at times.  I made some wonderful friends during this time and I will cherish them for many years to come.

When and how did you join SDT?

Our Artistic Director, Janek Schergen, came down to New Zealand to give classes at NZSD, and I was given the opportunity to audition for SDT. He later offered me an apprenticeship with the company in 2012.

What was your first role in SDT as a professional dancer? Did you like it?

I was a peasant in Swan Lake, which was not a very difficult role, but dancing onstage for the first time with SDT was so satisfying, and I felt very fortunate. I remember during the curtain call on that opening night of Swan Lake thinking, “wow, I made it into a professional dance company”.

How do you learn a new ballet/choreography? Is it different for contemporary and classical choreography?

Most of the time, learning classical ballet choreography is easier than learning a contemporary work because for ballet steps, we have learnt all of them already.  Contemporary is mostly new movement which our bodies have never done before.  Learning new choreography depends heavily on muscle memory, and how your brain links the movements together is also essential.

What is a typical rehearsal day like for you? What do you do during breaks?

Every day we take a ballet class to warm up our bodies and prepare for our rehearsal day, which consists of rehearsals of upcoming performances for whatever we are casted in.  During breaks, I like going down to have lunch, and I would have a coffee before the afternoon rehearsals.

Do you have any pre-performance rituals?

I like to have a powernap before performances; it refreshes my mind and keeps me alert onstage.

What do you eat on a big rehearsal/performance day?

On performance days, the company provides dinner for the dancers.  So I would have things like rice with chicken, fish, and vegetables. I’m not too particular about what I eat on rehearsal or performance days, so I will eat whatever is provided for me.

What is your dream role?
I don’t really aspire to dance any particular role. I just want to keep improving in my craft, and earning myself better roles each season.

What is your favourite costume so far?

The Spanish costume in The Nutcracker was very nice, it is definitely one of my favourites.

Who is your favourite choreographer in the works you’ve danced?

Nils Christe and Annegien Sneep! They are the choreographers of Fearful Symmetries which we just performed in Masterpiece in Motion.

Do you watch ballets from the wings during performance days?

Yes! I like to support my colleagues by watching them perform from the wings, so I try to watch whenever I can.

How do you feel after a performance?

If a show has gone well then I feel relieved and satisfied – it is one of the best feelings after a show is finished.

If by some chance my performance does not go according to plan, I feel quite guilty, as though I have let the company down.  This is a time to reflect on where I went wrong, and how I can prevent something similar from happening again.  It’s all part of improving myself as a dancer.

What is your most prized possession?

My family; the support they give me is invaluable.

What do you like to do outside of SDT?

I’ve been taking an interest in photography, so I enjoy taking photos of Singapore’s sights.  One of my favourite spots is Marina Bay.  Singapore’s amazing city is almost always ripe for a good picture.  The Singapore Zoo is also wonderful, as taking pictures of animals is different every time. You never know what they are going to do next, and getting that perfect shot when they are looking at you is amazing.

I also like to watch movies and play video games to relax.

Do you have a “guilty pleasure”?

No, I don’t feel like I have one.

Are most of your friends dancers?

Yes. I spend most of my time at work in Singapore, so most of my friends are dancers from the company itself. Beyond Singapore, most of my friends are from past dance schools, like NZSD.

How does your family feel about your career?

I am very lucky that my family is very supportive of my dance career, and I really treasure and love them for it.

What do you want to do after dancing?

I would like to do something that is related to music, possibly playing piano for a ballet company someday, we’ll see.