Armidale teenager Isaac Clark started dancing at the age of six. Now he has danced with Australian Dance Enterprises for eleven years and is regarded as an up and coming dancer to watch. Isaac shares his journey so far …
How long have you lived in Armidale? Tell us about your family …
I was born in Armidale and have lived here my whole life. I attended St Mary’s Primary School, Duval High School and am now in Year 11 at Armidale High School. I am the fifth of six children in my family. My dad works at Ducats, and my mum is a Dental Assistant.
When and why did you first become involved with dancing?
I began dancing at the age of six at Australian Dance Enterprises with Colette Brazier. Popular TV shows such as Hi-5 began my interest and love for dance, and I began taking recreational Jazz classes. At the age of nine I began taking ballet classes, as my love for dance grew. When 11 years old, I met Scottish ballet dancer, Tama Barry, who further inspired me to continue dancing and introduced me to the viable option of becoming a professional dancer.
Through this contact I started travelling to Sydney to attend Ecole Ballet and Dance Theatre, with whom I have continued to attend classes and workshops on a casual basis whilst still attending Australian Dance Enterprises (ADE).
Tell us about some of the places you have performed?
I started performing and competing when I was seven, which included the local eisteddfod and ADE’s annual recital, which I continue to do. I have also danced at showcases in the mall, local shopping centres and school performing arts nights, and most recently the Armidale Community of Schools Concert.
I have also performed on a regional level, including featuring highly in New England Dance Festival and Capers and am a member of the New England Dance Ensemble. Last year I was a member of the NSW Public Schools State Dance Ensemble, which involved performing at the State Dance Festival and School’s Spectacular in Sydney. Recently, in January, I danced at Ecole’s Summer School and was awarded most outstanding dancer, for which I have won a story and photo shoot in the September/October issue of Dance Train.
What training is involved to keep at the top of your craft?
I have now trained with Australian Dance Enterprises for 11 years. I take six hours of classes a week as well as private lessons, stretching and physio everyday and my own private practice. I also attend the gym once a week with my older sister, Hannah. Additionally, I attend regular regional and state dance workshops. I am also studying dance for the HSC.
Who inspires you?
My inspiration for dance comes not only from my wonderful teachers that extend from Sydney, Tamworth, and Armidale but former students of ADE, class mates and dancers of the Australian Ballet Company.
Who has been involved getting you to this level?
It is has taken a lot of hard work and sacrifice to make it to this point. This includes many hours of travel, huge expense and time away from home. I often sacrifice time with friends to travel and train. My teachers obviously have got me this far, both locally and state. My family has played a huge role. This includes my sister Hannah, who trains with me at the gym, my sister Holly, who helps me when I am in Sydney, and my sister Rebekah, who competes with me as she dances as well. My brother Matthew composes classical music that I hope to dance to one day. My youngest brother, Sam, pushes me with acrobatics. My mum and dad work really hard to support my dance dream and my employers, Kmart and Armidale Community Preschool, allow me to juggle paid employment with dance commitments.
My friends are my greatest support and my costume maker, Pat Nield, is my biggest fan (next to Mum). My grandma has also given me a lot support over the years. She would always walk me to dance class and still sews the elastics on my ballet shoes.
What are your other interests?
Other interests include: spending time with family, going to the gym with my oldest sister and hanging out with the best friendship group that I have ever had at Armidale High School. I am also interested in the Apple Company and their products and I have several pets. I also enjoy assistant teaching baby ballet with Miss Colette.
Plans for the future?
I plan to complete my HSC at Armidale High school whilst travelling to Sydney to prepare for an audition for the pre professional year at Sydney Dance Company. I ultimately aim to become a professional dancer based in a company.