Exclusive: Dancer Boy Will Jay Lucas
By definition dance is, “to move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps.” The idea behind the Dancer Boy series is to get inspired by dance, and the men that inspire us through it. Arguably dance has been part of some of the most iconic performances in entertainment. From Britney to Michael Jackson. Chicago and The Lion King on stage. Inescapably dance has elevated itself from just a set sequence of steps; Dance inspires, amazes and affects emotion.
WILL JAY LUCAS
Having been inspired by Will for a while now, it’s pretty exciting to have him as part of our Dancer Boy editorials. Currently in the West End performing in the amazing stage show Wicked, we managed to find some time in Will’s busy schedule for him to show of his dancing talent and shoot exclusively with Max Parker just for Craig Andrew James. Capturing his body in movement, Max shows off Will’s versatility in dance, and we talk all things performing, fitness and Wicked. If you don’t know his story yet, you Will now!
So what was your first experience with dance like? Did you start from a young age and how did it all come about?
My sister used to run a cheerleading group, my mum was a single parent and chaperoned the rehearsals, I was only young so I had to go to some of the weekend rehearsals. When ever a girl was sick or not available they would make me stand-in in their place so they could rehearse spacing. I started messing around and picking up the choreography. One of the girls thought I was quite good so insisted I went to her dance classes. I was the only boy and very shy, always hiding behind my mum’s leg. The dance classes really helped me with my confidence though and soon I realised I loved it.
Has there been any particular moment that has stood out for you so far in your career and what makes that particularly special?
I’m so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had so far and the people I get to meet and work with. But I was particularly lucky to be part of the Cats UK tour cast in 2014. I made friends for life on that show and we had the best time traveling around. We became such a tight nit family, it was an incredible experience.
Do you still find yourself wanting to better yourself as a dancer and how do you try to push yourself in such a competitive industry?
For me personally I just try my hardest to show off my strengths and disguise my weaknesses. I watch as much theatre as I can, I have singing lessons once a week, I’m in the gym training 5 days a week and go to dance classes as often as I can.
As a dancer there are obviously times when you have to show off your body, is that something that feels natural to you? Where does that confidence to show off your skin come from?
I’m not a confident guy at all. I feel like this is a massive misconception; in fact most performers I know have insecurities with their appearance. It’s almost part of our job to be self critical. It’s hard to open yourself up to other people’s judgement, but if I didn’t I wouldn’t grow as a performer and I just like to challenge myself and test my limits. When opportunities like this come around I’m always hesitant but I try to be a “yes man” as much as possible and it’s good to have things to work towards, targets and goals.
Obviously you look great and you stay in great shape. Is that something that you find especially important being a dancer and working in theatre, and how do you try to maintain a healthy mind and body?
In my opinion, in the performing industry any extra skills, talents or assets you can offer are a bonus. Naturally being so active does lend itself well to having a healthy mind and body. I like to think of myself as a product and I have to consider how I’m viewed. I think its important to take pride in what you have to offer and your appearance is part of your service as a performer.
Speaking of the theatre, you’re in the current production of Wicked. What’s that been like?
Opening in Wicked was a big one for me, I have always dreamed of being part of the show and wanted to play Chistery since I first saw the show at 15. Nothing has come close to the buzz we had from the audience on our first night. The audiences are great at Wicked, I’m so thankful to be part of it.
For those people who maybe haven’t seen it yet, why should they come see you in it?
Wicked is such a great thing to do with the family, it has something in the show for everyone and with Wicked celebrating its 10th anniversary now is the perfect time to discover the untold story of the Witches of Oz.
What’s your favourite moment in the show?
My favourite moment in the show would be when Elphaba and Glinda sing For Good. I have the best seat in the house for this number because as Chistery (Elphaba’s monkey sidekick) I get to hang from the set watch and observe the whole song.
When you’re not performing what else takes up most of your time and keeps you busy?
I’m really into my fitness, I like to run Tough Mudder’s with my mates, training with friends, Gymnastics, Swimming, Climbing, Gokarting. But I also love my down time, spa hotel breaks, coffee dates with mates, cinema and movie nights.
If you could go back 10 years and give yourself any advice as a dancer and performer, what would it be?
KEEP GOING!!! Train more. Sing more. Be confident in what you have to offer. Think before you speak, not everyone will understand what you are trying to say or do straight away. Learn to be good at making friends, friends are like family in what can be a very lonely industry. Work hard but make sure you enjoy it!
Dancer: Will Jay Lucas
Find out more about Wicked The Musical here.
Photographer: Max Parker
Concept/Styling: Craig Andrew James