PEOPLE OF EQ – Nicholas

05 Feb 2020

Brent Street

What is your role?
Has graduated from Brent Street but is part of the talent agency and still takes occasional classes and courses.

“I’d love to teach here eventually, that’s an ultimate goal of mine.”

What were you doing before this?
“I was a little country kid, going to school, wanting to be a dancer…”

If it was your last day on earth, what would your last meal be?
“Honestly, I think I’d go a medium rare steak. I love my steak.”

Are you originally from Sydney, Australia?
No, originally from Orange in regional NSW.

What is your favourite thing to do when not at work?
“I like to hang out with friends, obviously we’re all very close here at BSA because we’re spending so much time together with schooling, dancing, everything together, so yeah, hang out with my friends, swimming.”
“Whenever I can I try and jump down to Orange and see my family.”

What is the happiest moment of your life?
“Probably receiving this contract I’ve just received [West Side Story] my parents are ecstatic. It’s a huge move, I’m really sort of, kind of… turning my dream into a reality!

A bit more…
Nicholas grew up in Orange, a country town roughly 4 hrs west of Sydney. It’s known for wineries and good food, but not so much for performing arts.

“In Orange there’s not a whole lot of avenues or opportunities as a dancer, so I was training, went to my local dance school, but I’ve always wanted to move. I’ve always known that Brent Street was the epitome of dance training in Australia.”

Nicholas was able to complete his schooling through Brent Street Academy which offers distance learning. A typical day consisted of 3hrs schooling and then 12hrs of performing arts. It’s a very competitive industry and everyone is encouraged to be a triple threat.

“Brent Street is training commercial professional dancers.  We’re trained in particular to be very versatile, triple threat, so singing, dancing, acting; all styles of dance, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop. Because in this day and age the industry wants someone that can do everything.”

A big part of Brent Street training is the audition process itself.

“That’s a big thing in the industry, knowing how to audition; knowing how to approach the panel; knowing how to approach material they give you. Brent Street has trained me really well in that sort of stuff.”

And here’s the proof.
“I’ve actually recently been really fortunate enough to be cast in West Side Story.”

Nicholas is playing A-Rab, one of the Jets in the Opera Australia production. A good start to a career?

“Oh, huge!”

The director/choreographer, Joey McNeely, worked with Jerome Robbins – the original choreographer.

“He’s from America and he’s a huge influence and I’m really looking forward to working with him. A lot of people say your first job is when you learn the most and I’m really looking forward to getting experience, meeting people, working hard. Obviously training every day is going to help with my voice, my singing, my dancing, my acting.”

What’s the industry like in Australia?
“I really believe the Australian industry has a lot to offer. Australian’s are always known as hard workers, as a lot of international people say.”
“It’s very close. You know everyone in the industry, you know who’s booking what… You know everything! So it’s all about networking and making friends, and who you know – and work hard and be a good person.”

Biggest Challenges?
“It’s hard work, it takes a toll on you body. Mentally it can be very draining.”

Nicholas has certainly tested his body and mind to the limit, having spent a lot of time in physio after spinal fusion surgery. Was he ever tempted to give up?

“No. I don’t think so, because, if you love it enough you’ll tough it out. If you want it enough you’ll work through it.”

Long term goal?

“Teaching’s always been a big thing for me. I want to inspire others. I want to pass on my knowledge.”

“I really appreciate young men in the performance industry, especially being from the country there’s not a whole lot male dancers, I was the minority there, so I really want to encourage young people to get out and try the performing arts industry.”

His desire to teach was sparked by his experience at Brent Street.

“Being surrounded by such talented singers, dancers, actors, teachers, choreographers, really creates an exciting and inspiring environment to train in. For me in particular it’s really pushed me to work hard.”

Words of wisdom…
“Hard work always pays off. Dream big, go for the ultimate goal, don’t settle for less. Work hard, that’s the main thing. Never doubt yourself.”