What does it mean to you to be a gay male ballet dancer?
I find it extremely rewarding, because I have a platform not only to inspire queer youth to do what they love and be themselves but also to give them courage to stand out and find themselves creatively. Coming from a small town in the UK I felt like I stood out for all the wrong reasons, when actually it's the opposite. I stood out for all the right reasons, because I was brave enough to go out and find myself and my community. Being on the world stage as a ballet dancer for me feels like it's a crowning moment for all queer youths from small towns.
How has the queer community intersected with The Australian Ballet?
We have a huge gay community within and around The Australian Ballet. Not only dancers but choreographers, directors, admin staff, costumiers, patrons, audience members. I like to think that this mirrors the Rainbow Flag in a way, we all come from different paths and places to make a really creative and colourful company.
Using three words, describe what it means for you to be a gay male ballet dancer.
Fabulous, rich and rewarding.
Do you have any advice for queer boys doing ballet?
100% be yourself when creating your art and aesthetic. Don't fit the mould of what people tell you a male ballet dancer should look like or be like if you're not being true to yourself. You always create your best work when you know yourself and use it. If you put on a character or an act then it shows in your work and you won't be enjoying it. Art isn't a game; it's a blank canvas and you choose your colour palette.
What would you like the future to look like for queer ballet dancers?
Honestly, I think we have a way to go yet. I feel that from the mainstream perspective a male, queer ballet dancer being feminine is seen as weakness. Personally, I see it as strength. All areas of this art form are impressive. I would like to see a male take on a female role based on their ability and it not be seen as comedy. That would be a proud day for the queer ballet community. Art is art. Talent is talent. No matter the gender. Or maybe to have a queer story told onstage in a full-length narrative ballet.
Has your queer identity impacted your career as a ballet dancer in anyway?
Massively! I am more naturally drawn towards queer dancers as an aesthetic for myself. You see in their work all the hardships and struggles they may have faced in finding themselves, and that they use being on stage as a victory lap for the queer community. Queer ballet dancers also inspire me to be a better version of myself and to keep chipping away to find a more fully formed artist.