In Conversation with Liam Geck —
Company Dancer with Queensland Ballet
Liam Geck tried his first dance class at three years of age and never stopped. His training with Queensland Ballet began with the Junior Program and Liam has progressed through Senior and Pre-Professional levels before being selected as a Jette Parker Young Artist. In 2016, Liam joined Queensland Ballet as a Company Dancer.
He has been praised by Dance Australia’s Denise Richardson and The Australian’s Deborah Jones for his entertaining portrayals of Mother Ginger from Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker and James Hook in Trey McIntyre’s Peter Pan.
What inspires you to dance?
I am constantly inspired everyday by different things, it could be the pieces we are working on, the music accompanying those pieces or even other people dancing around me.
What has been most beneficial about training through Queensland Ballet?
The Senior Program was so helpful because it allowed me to complete my academic studies while training to become a ballet dancer. Because the training was part of my school day, the teachers at Kelvin Grove State were not only aware of my other commitments but understanding of the often competing pressures. It was important to my family that I graduated with an OP so I always have options available to me outside of dancing, but it has been so valuable to me that I could develop by skills as a dancer without compromising this for my education.
Being part of Queensland Ballet as a student also meant that I had the opportunity to train alongside the Company. In the Pre-Professional Program we would take Company Class once a week, working alongside the Company Dancers. I was able to get to know them personally, including Principal Dancers and Soloists like Victor Estevez and Camilo Ramos, and I would regularly seek their advice. I still do! The chance to perform with the Company on mainstage productions while still a student was also incredible.
What’s been surprising about the transitions between training programs and into the Company?
When training as a student you always have a teacher to motivate and push you to do your best. In a Company environment, you have to push yourself and maintain the motivation to put in the hard work. That means if you didn’t do an exercise that well you might do it again in the next group. Also, if you’re doing a quick and puffy role, you need to do some extra cardio training in order to do your best in that role.
I’ve been fortunate to have trained in pas de deux as part of Queensland Ballet’s training programs, as partnering work is challenging. Having the strength to not only partner ladies, but also control my own body while lifting and holding them is something I have struggled with. The Training and Artistic teams provide support with body conditioning, Pilates etc which has been really important. Tony Lewis, a former Principal Dancer, also assists and mentors us on partner work.
What is a key lesson that you carry with you?
Everyone has days where things don’t work as well as they usually do, whether it be a bad pirouette day or a day where your muscles are sore and fatigued, the trick is to accept it and try to not let it frustrate you too much. Know that tomorrow is a brand new day where you can start fresh!
Best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t compare yourself to others in the studio; compare yourself to who you were yesterday. Compete with yourself.
Any tips for auditioning?
Always be prepared for auditions, bring everything you have, because you never know what you’ll require. And then have spares, because you never know what might break!
Along with that, bring food because you never know how long you might be there. Auditioning can be very daunting, but try to relax and do the best you can.