Where does your story begin?
I was a bush kid born and raised in Wagga Wagga, NSW during the early 1960’s. I knew from a very young age that I was destined to dance, but no connection came from my family.
It all started when I was four years old. My first teacher saw me dancing in the bank with my father. She was a family friend, and she approached my dad after seeing me and said ‘why don’t you bring him to some dance classes and I’ll get rid of some of that energy for you?’
I started with tap and jazz, performing in local concerts from age five. I then tried ballet when I was 11 and knew from there I had no Plan B – there was only dancing.
What was involved in your training to become a dancer?
When I was 13 my teacher left Wagga Wagga, so I travelled to Canberra every weekend for three years to train. It was about 300km away, but I wanted to be there so badly. There was something inside me that said I needed to dance.
Every weekend I would catch a train, bus or plane in the morning, then wander the streets of Canberra before catching a bus to my ballet class and dancing all Friday afternoon, all Saturday and all Sunday before returning home around 1am Monday morning by bus. While I was doing this I boarded with about 15 different families, which from an early age taught me good communicative skills and how to fend for myself. I also got my first taste of professional performance during this time, dancing on stage with the Australian Opera from 14 years old.
When I turned 16 and finished fourth form, I was accepted into the Australian Ballet School. I met my wife, Glenda there and we joined a travelling group together, similar to a Disney show. After 18 months of this we moved to Monaco to study under Marika Besobrasova. It was an exhilarating time – I was 18, I had an apartment in Monte Carlo, I was touring and dancing on the Monte Carlo stage where Nijinsky, Pavlova and so many others had danced decades before me.