Good, bad and the untrained

Dancer Dean Cross... “When I got this job, I was so proud to be able to come home and show people what I can do.”

Dancer Dean Cross... “When I got this job, I was so proud to be able to come home and show people what I can do.”

HERE at “CityNews” we just love stories about young Canberrans doing well.

The coming production at the Playhouse, “Untrained”, features four such Canberrans – professional dancers Dean Cross and James Shannon and novices Allan Marc Raeyers and Richard Merzian.

It’s a kind of dance adventure where the two professional dancers  interact over four days’ of intensive rehearsals and two shows with two untrained male dancers.

Melbourne choreographer Lucy Guerin places instruction cards on the stage floor and off they go.

I caught up recently with the 24-year-old Cross, a former Radford College student who went on Canberra’s youth dance company Quantum Leap, trained for four years at the Queensland University of Technology, and catapulted into the profession.

He hasn’t yet met Raeyers and Merzian yet, but expects them to be “brave – to put themselves out there.”

Cross lives in Sydney, but works regularly in Perth and Melbourne, too. “I’m lucky,” he says, “I don’t have to have another job”. But this season is special.

“When I got this job,” he tells me, “I was so proud to be able to come home and show people what I can do.”

As soon as he finishes with “Untrained”, he’ll rejoin the physical/aerial theatre company Legs on the Wall for a Brisbane Festival show.

Compared to classical ballet dancers (“never part of my world”) Cross sees himself as a late starter – “I didn’t know I wanted to be a dancer until I started dancing”. But he was for 10 years a gymnast at the AIS so had an “awareness of skills”. Mind you, he’s had reconstructions of the shoulder and knee.

He and his fellow Canberran, James Shannon, have already toured with Guerin’s “Untrained” on a regional tour to Victoria last year.

“Untrained”, The Playhouse, July 29-30. Bookings to 6275 2700 or visit canberratheatrecentre.com.au . Free poetry slam “Blast’ in the Link at 9pm after the show.

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