These school holidays, three dancers from the The Bodyguard Musical will be teaching workshops at the Wharf. Amy Campbell, Anthony Bartley and Elysha Manik will share their incredible insight, experience and passion with students.
We chatted with them about their dance training, how they landed their roles in The Bodyguard Musical and what students can expect from their classes.
When/how did you start dancing?
Elysha: I started dancing when I was 3 years old. My mum put me into a tiny tots class so that I could socialise with other kids my age.
Anthony: I started dancing at age 8 after watching my brother in his end-of-year concert. I then danced at several different dance schools in my hometown of Dubbo before moving to Sydney at age 19.
What was the most important aspect of your training?
Amy: I think my technique has been the most important thing in my career. It’s given me diversity, injury prevention and longevity!
Elysha: I think I always had a natural ability for dancing but I don’t think I got any good until I took ballet a little more seriously. Ballet truly is the basis of all dancing and it will help you with all styles.
Anthony: Variety. I took class from every teacher, in every style that I could. Everyone and every genre have something different to offer, and were instrumental in making me a versatile, working dancer.
How did you land your role in The Bodyguard Musical?
Anthony: I was a member of the ensemble and I had to audition. As a matter of fact, I got cut in the first round. Two days later, I got an email to come back and re-audition. I then went through a dance call, a singing call and a partnering call, before a call back to do some script work.
Elysha: I was cast as a ‘swing’. Swings are members of the ensemble who basically learn/understudy all the other ensemble members’ tracks and step in if anyone gets injured or sick. I joined the cast late in the tour as a replacement so I did not have a formal audition for this show.
Amy: I was Resident Choreographer, Dance Captain and swing. The audition process was fast and testing. But the creatives were super fun and we had an instant connection.
What can students expect from your holiday workshops?
Elysha: I always like to start my class off with a good warm-up and technique in the centre. We’ll do some progressions to build those technical skills into more complex sequences. Then I always finish off with a fun routine at the end.
Amy: The students can expect to work hard, learn new steps, be entertained, experience joy and have a bit of sweaty fun too!
Anthony: Students can expect a fresh, up-to-date, urban style class. We’ll learn some new school grooves – hopefully they’ll get a taste of something new and different!
What piece of advice would you give young dancers aspiring to a professional career?
Elysha: Absorb as much as you can from every teacher and peer. There is always something that can be learned and worked on. Your work ethic and reputation are everything in the professional industry. Always be polite and work hard. The path as a professional dancer isn’t always easy but it is extremely rewarding. If you are determined and really want a career you will have one.
Amy: Set big goals, think globally. Work harder every day in every class. It will test you more than you realise but if you truly love it you can take it anywhere you want. Also be a person and make sure you enjoy every step!
Anthony: There’s no rush. The industry isn’t going anywhere. Take your time and work hard. Training properly, safely and consistently is key. Hone your skills and ask questions. Know what you’re signing up for!
Summer Holiday Workshops run from 2 – 25 Jan 2018 at the Wharf, Parramatta and Penrith.