In June, Diploma Developing Artists Kiarn Doyle and Jarryd Dixon completed a Secondment Week with Australian Dance Theatre as part of their professional development.
Australian Dance Theatre is Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary dance company and the longest running. This is the first year Australian Dance Theatre has provided two scholarship opportunities to NAISDA Developing Artists to participate in the intensive.
We had a chat to one of the Developing Artists involved, Kiarn Doyle, to find out what the experience meant to him.
What sparked your interest in undertaking a secondment with Australian Dance Theatre?
I grew up dancing and doing things like the Schools Spectacular. At that time Bangarra Dance Theatre was the company I knew and wanted to aim for. When I started training at NAISDA, we were given the opportunity to see an Australian Dance Theatre production and it completely drew me in. I hadn’t really seen anything like it and knew that I wanted to be involved with them.
Both Jarryd and I applied for scholarships to attend a Secondment Week with Australian Dance Theatre and we were lucky enough to be successful.
Tell us a little about your secondment with Australian Dance Theatre. What did it involve?
Every day we had a morning class with a company member which went for about an hour and a half. We then did some tumbling to learn the tricks and skills in the company’s repertoire and would then go over the repertoire in the afternoons with classes and previews.
Over a couple of afternoons, we also learnt about career development and discussed things like using social media, promoting yourself as an independent artist and what’s involved in putting on a show. That part was eye-opening for me. Later on in my career, I would love to work on and create my own shows.
What did you take away from the experience? Did the secondment give you a taste of what it would be like to dance in a company after NAISDA?
It gave me a better understanding of how to use my body. I come from a commercial background, so I am used to fast choreography and picking everything up quickly. This experience helped me to better understand how my body works with choreography. I learnt how to soften some of my moves. It’s all about finding yourself written in the choreography.
You’re in your Diploma year at NAISDA and soon you will be thinking about career options after you graduate. Did the secondment help you to determine what you want to do when you graduate?
I’d say yes and no. It was a really good eye opener and gave me a taste of company life. But the experience also gave me a new sense of movement and helped me hone in on where I want to be in the future – creating my own choreography. I will definitely be applying for some companies, so I guess it’s just a matter of waiting to see how it all goes!
What was the best part about the experience?
I found it amazing that the company members and even the Artistic Director were very welcoming. There were over 30 of us in the classes and they were always more than happy to come over and work with you individually if you needed assistance or had a question. They were very accepting.
What was the most challenging part about the experience?
Learning some of the tricks in the repertoire. It was challenging trying to do them because I haven’t really done that kind of work before. It was a matter of practising them over and over again to try to pick them up.
I’ve been working on some of the moves I learned and applying them to my own choreography.
Applications are currently open to join NAISDA’s 2020 intake. If you’re interested in training at NAISDA, click here to learn more.