Dancer Boy: Nick Len ft. ADON
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.
Since Nick Len last spoke with Craig Andrew James, all about his life and career, things have gone from strength to strength for this Australian performer now residing in London. Having appeared in numerous shows on stage since his time on the Voice Australia, Nick has shown himself to be a force in any production he is cast. His passion for Dance was ignited by the family you can be a part of when you are dancing as a team. “I first started when I was 16 when my brother took me to a hip hop class in a little school gymnasium. I then joined a hip hop crew called Beatphonik and realised how much of a family it was and the close friendships you form from being in a crew. It was definitely more of a hobby than anything,” he recalls.
When did you decide that you wanted to take that hobby and pursue dance and performing as a career?
I was 20 when I was finishing my Bachelor of Music while dancing with Beatphonik; and I was invited along to watch a full-time college showcase. I was literally blown away. People were singing and dancing for their lives and looked so happy to be on stage – that’s when I decided I had to do it. I literally woke up the next day and told my parents that I wanted to dance and perform. I then booked myself in to audition for the next years’ intake.
Do you find as a dancer and performer you have to be very disciplined?
Extremely. I started A LOT later than most people so all everything from a tendu to a pirouette was a foreign language. So I’m extra hard on myself and always have to be in class.
You’ve spoke before about some of the amazing moments you’ve had in your career on stage. What does it feel like when your dancing and performing on stage?
I mostly feel really lucky to be on stage!
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?
100%. I’m too hard on myself sometimes but I always always want to be better and get better – not to be better than anyone else, but so I don’t get complacent.
As a dancer there are obviously times when you have to show off your body, is that something that feels natural to you?
To be honest it’s something I’m still learning to be comfortable with. I’ve always been a bit funny about showing my body but if you work on something really hard you should be proud of it. Just like singing or dancing.
As a dancer and performer do you also find it important to stay in good shape?
You have to – you need stamina not only in shows but in auditions – they can be a killer if you’re not fit! I go to the gym quite a bit and make sure I’m eating enough!
You were recently part of Thoroughly modern Millie, taking us back to the height of Jazz in NY, meaning there were a lot of explosive dance numbers. Is that something you enjoyed and what’s that like?
I finished the UK tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie which was choreographed by Racky Plews. The 1920’s style (where getting a single look or a head tilt correct was really important) was so fulfilling – I loved it. It was quite a similar dance style to when I did Anything Goes.
Do you think as a dancer it’s important to continue to find different things that inspire you and keep you fresh creatively?
Yes, life experience is a huge thing. As some pieces don’t have any lyric or singing – so conveying story effectively needs maturity. You get that from doing different things. I think if you put 100% into any one style it isn’t healthy. Balance is key to staying fresh.
Who are your dancing inspirations?
Strangely I don’t actually have anyone specifically. I LOVE choreography that shows a story; they get me every time.
What things other than dance inspire you?
Music music music. It’s my first love and will always be.
You’ve recently just joined the cast of a new show, can you tell us a bit about that and how it came about?
I’ve just finished filming the new Mamma Mia film which again was a different style but I’m just about to start rehearsals for a brand new show called Heaven On Earth; which will tour Arenas in the UK. The audition process was pretty intense. After weeks of rounds and rounds of singing and dancing it was such a relief to get that call saying they want you – makes it all worth it. I can’t say too much about the show, but my dance technique is getting put to the test!
If you could change one thing about yourself as a dancer and performer what would it be and why?
I’d love long legs!!!
Finally, what’s your aspirations for dancing and performing and where would you like to see yourself in the next 5 years?
I love musicals and it’s been the best to join my music and dance together. I love it and it makes me smile so I’ll keep going. Love to get back in the west end.
Dancer: Nick Len
Find out more about Heaven on Earth The Musical here.
Photographer: Max Parker
Concept/Styling: Craig Andrew James