Today on “10 Questions With…” we have dancer Ben Dunlop…
1. How did you become involved with dance?
I became involved with dance when my younger sister Ellie, starting taking classes at our local dance school with Kasey Carr in NSW, Australia. Kasey is one of the most amazing people you will ever meet, so very inspirational and without her guidance I would not be where I am today! I was observing her classes and was asked to participate in some classes and from that moment on I really have never turned back. It was something I instantly loved. Me and my sister use to dance around in our garage, making up dances and correcting each other for hours on end after dancing and weekends.
2. What are you currently doing in the field?
Within this point in time I am currently training in Australia with Kahlia Mehmet, Natarsha and Gloria Noble until I return to New York to participate in a Summer program and year round program at the Joffrey Ballet School as a trainee on full scholarship, which will hopefully lead into the touring company. Being in NYC itself will open many doors for me as it’s the heart of the dancing world. I cannot wait to return as previously I was with Washington Ballet School DC and the Ailey School in NYC.
3. Would you share a special moment from your career with readers?
The Youth America Grand Prix was an amazing experience for me and our audition tour, traveling throughout America. Being in New York city competing against amazing dancers, instantly I knew that is where I belong. All of the amazing guest teachers and dancers inspired me so much. In Australia there is only limited dancing opportunities, once you study abroad you will never return so many things will inspire you, especially in the city of New York. This was a special moment for me being able to share my talents with an audience coming from all different countries.
4. What is the best advice you have ever received from a teacher or mentor regarding dance?
“Everything happens for a reason.” I really believe in this quote so very much. Because when one door closes another will open.
This quote has gotten me through some very hard times. No matter how hard the challenge is, you can overcome it with determination, everything lays in the arms of fate.
5. What has been your greatest challenge?
The greatest challenge for me would have to be living away from my family. My mother and sister are the two people who keep me strong and striving for the best. Being away from them makes me push myself to the extremes so they can be prouder than what they already are. I love seeing my Mum after a performance when she has this boost of excitement and you know she is so proud, happy and overwhelmed. But the best part about it is when she does get to see me dance after so long, seeing me grow and reach new levels every time, it’s like a whole new level.
Also recently I participated in the Adidas All in Challenge, sixty hours of dancing straight located in Melbourne, Australia. We completed the sixty hours and came runners up to the AFL team. Was a great experience and was also by far the one of my greatest challenges.
6. Do you have any advice for dancers who want to go on to a professional career?
Keep pursuing what you love. Of course there are going to be people out there who are going to tell you things you don’t want to hear. But do it in spite of them. Prove them wrong, that is the best feeling when you can look back and say “I did it”. This has happened to me numerous times before and all I can say is “wow”, it’s such an achievement and drives you even more, it really does. Never lose hope!
7. Do you have a special routine that you go through prior to a performance?
I am a big fan of routine before performances. Three hours prior I have a bowl of rice to give me energy and maintain stamina, whilst warming up, I snack on carrot sticks, celery, fruit etc to give me sugar and for a boost when I do hit the stage. I like to get make up all done before anything so I can focus on my body and being ready. I would probably spend a good hour warming up and concentrating on certain things. A good way to get warm is doing a full barre. I always, always include that in my warm up.
8. Do you have a favorite dancer? If so, who are they and why? If not, why not?
Besides the obvious, Alina Cojacaru, Polina Seminova and Silvie. My little sister Ellie, I thank her for wanting to dance because otherwise I wouldn’t have found the real Ben. She is my little dancer and I cannot wait for her to be performing on stages across the world. She is my favorite dancer 🙂
9. What do you enjoy most about your life in dance?
The main thing I love about the dance life is being able to share your talents through the world of performing. Where ever you dance, you are inspiring someone. You tend to forget about performing when you’re in a school because you’re forever training but when you do, you realize what all the hard work is actually for and how worth it it actually is. Performing brings me a sense of flying. There is no other way to describe it. Definitely the closest thing to it. Not to mention the amazing sites you get to see and people you get to meet!
10. What is next for you?
My next move it to audition for companies throughout America whilst studying and training hard at the Joffrey Ballet School as a trainee. My dream company is Complexions in NYC. I love their stuff, I love their diversity and edge. I feel I’m very fitted to their company and just have to get them to see my gift. Fingers crossed.
See Ben dance:
YOUTUBE LINK – Ben Dunlop – Dance Reel