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Boys in Ballet

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2022

More news for Cultural

Joshua performs a back bend and leg extension in front of a plain white photography studio background.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (OC 2012) is a Principal Soloist with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Positive media commentary about Boys in Ballet, a Royal New Zealand Ballet programme specifically for boys, and television shows like Dancing with the Stars, are some of the contributors to boys joining the St Andrew’s College Ballet Academy, says Artistic Director, Dr Carolyn Cairns. “Boys are integral to ballet as they add strength and power, and are vital to pas de deux work. We encourage and welcome them into the programme.”

The Ballet Academy’s syllabus covers both boys’ and girls’ work, and boys can study right through to their final pre-professional qualifications if they wish.

The boys in the Ballet Academy don’t need to look too far for positive role models. Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (OC 2012) studied at The Juilliard School in New York, was later snapped up by the Houston Ballet Company, and is now a Principal Soloist with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company. He recently became patron of the St Andrew’s Ballet Academy.

“Joshua is a true role model of excellence, and we are delighted he agreed to become our patron. Joshua studied dance outside of school as our programme hadn’t commenced but when he was home from his international studies, he took classes and worked alongside me as a Tutor Assistant in the newly formed Ballet Academy. The younger boys especially looked up to him from those early days, and he has come back many times over the years to work with our dancers, and choreograph pieces for our company.”

Joshua says the Ballet Academy offers a fantastic programme, that nurtures and cultivates a love of dance, while pushing younger dancers to be their very best. “I think Ballet is a great option for boys, as it helps them to become well-rounded men. The art form is focused and disciplined, and you can only be rewarded through hard work and willpower. It celebrates beauty and athleticism in tandem. I am fortunate to be the Academy’s first patron and hope to show to the students that as an Old Collegian myself, a career in the arts is both possible and sustainable.”

Harrison performs a demi-plié in second position as he holds a ballerina as she back bends into his arms while on point, as well as performing a leg extension.

Harrison Bradley (OC 2019) dancing with the Australian Ballet Company.

Harrison Bradley (OC 2019) is another former St Andrew’s College student to make it on the big stage. He attended St Andrew’s in Years 9 and 10 before gaining a place with the prestigious Australian Ballet School and is now a professional dancer with the Australian Ballet Company as a Corps de Ballet member.

Harrison says St Andrew’s allowed him to integrate more ballet and dance into his life and he enjoyed practising with different teachers, such as Dr Cairns or Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson. “I would definitely tell boys to do ballet. It’s hard to do it professionally, but it's well worth it. If you give it the chance it's the type of profession that's extremely rewarding. You also get pretty fit and travel all over the world, dancing in different countries.”

Year 12 student Alistair Gorton is another promising male ballet student, who has already been chosen as a New Zealand School of Dance Classical Associate and is hoping to launch a professional career.

“We are incredibly lucky to have young men like Joshua, Harrison and Alistair inspiring the next generation of boys, whether they want to join the Ballet Academy as a fun activity, a great form of exercise, or have aspirations of a future career in ballet,” says Dr Cairns.

Boys in ballet are celebrated for what they bring to the art form.