BRENT STREET CRED

If you’re into dance (like, who isn’t?) and you haven’t heard of Brent Street, it’s time to shimmy out from under your rock and get acquainted with these total bosses.They’re the best in the bizz, so when it came to our Dance by Sporté collection, it was a total no-brainer that these were the guys to collaborate with.

Scroll on down for our exclusive interview with Brent Street graduate and dance extraordinaire, Kirsty Sturgess, and check out what our campaign stars had to say about self-confidence and life at school.

Tell us about your time with Brent Street. How did your journey begin and how did it help to shape the person you are now?
I auditioned for Brent Street whilst completing year 12 in Queensland and did the Cert IV in Performing Arts in 2012. Brent Street opened my eyes to the amount of hard work I would need to put in to be the performer I wanted to be and showed me that I would need tough skin to deal with the industry that awaited me. I learnt the importance of punctuality and it taught me that inner self-confidence is vital in this industry. You need to believe you’re good enough before anyone else can. 

What’s your first memory of dance and when did you know that this was what you wanted to do? 
My first memories of dance go back to when I was four. I loved Saturday mornings because they meant leotards, tights and ballet slippers. I grew up in a rural country town so my first dance studio was a very old industrial shed with rusty mirrors and big sliding doors that the mums would all stand between to get a peek of us. I distinctly remember wanting to show off and do my absolute best when I knew mum was watching. Though I continued dancing up until I finished Brent Street, it wasn’t until a year later when I’d spent that year pursuing what I thought was a more ‘sensible’ career path, did I really realise that performing was what I was truly passionate about and that I needed to make the most of the talents I’d been blessed with. Since then there has been no looking back!

Have there been challenges you’ve had to overcome and how did you tackle these? 
Absolutely - from day one - and I’m sure there are many more to come! Trusting in my many years of training, the things that make me unique from others and the simple fact that dancing is something I love helps me to perform most confidently. I think it’s important to know that challenges are a constant in life and we should really welcome them. A challenge is an opportunity to grow and be better than who you were yesterday.

We can imagine with all of your success that you’ve become somewhat of a mentor to young dancers.What are your top three tips for girls starting out on or currently on their dancing journey?   
Take care of your body. Treat it kindly by eating healthy foods and exercising responsibly. Make sure you listen to what your body is telling you, if it’s time to visit the physio don’t procrastinate booking that appointment. All of these things will keep you dancing better for longer!      
 
 Seize the opportunities life presents. Take that class with the choreographer you adore, do the audition you didn’t particularly want to and send an e-mail to the agency whose books you want to be on. If life’s not currently presenting the opportunities you’re hoping for, start thinking outside the box and CREATE them for yourself! 

Be resilient, be positive and be kind. Your attitude will carry you further than you can imagine.

Describe a typical day in your life on Ghost the Musical: 
Our call time at the theatre is an hour and fifteen minutes before the show starts. The whole company heads to the stage to do a physical and vocal warm up and then we hang around to listen to notes from the previous night’s show. From there, we usually have about forty five minutes to do our hair and makeup and get our microphones and costumes on, after which, we do a soundcheck at the five minute call. I am an offstage swing for GHOST so if we have a full company on and I’m not needed, I’ll pick a performer/track to follow and study for the performance. After we bow, it’s a quick undress to head home around 10:45pm. If it’s a two show day we have a couple of hours to rest before starting all over again!

What are some of the career paths dancers can take?
There are so many facets and possibilities within the world of dance. Each genre of dance lends its own career path. From ballet and contemporary companies, to touring musical theatre shows, dancing on cruise ships, dancing back up for leading artists, performing in video clips for singers - all of which need someone to choreograph. So for those of us more creatively inclined there is also a career as a choreographer. The list is endless!

How do you fuel your body for long days of strenuous physical activity? 
With a big serve of clean wholesome foods! My favourite pre show meal is the Zeus bowl from Thrive. With sweet potato, pulled pork, 2 hard boiled eggs and a big serve of spinach, it’s all the protein I need to get me through a show. My favourite snack food throughout the day is mixed cranberries and walnuts. Water is your absolute best friend, 2L a day. This is something I’ve knuckled down on lately and I feel more refreshed, flexible and focused when my body is hydrated. Not to mention it makes your skin look great!

Has there been a dancer you’ve found inspirational over the years?:
I have always adored Gene Kelly. His artistry, athleticism, precision and pure love for the art form have always made my heart melt in adoration when I watch him dance. However more recently African American ballet dancer Misty Copeland has inspired me. In an industry that can sometime judge us harshly on the way we look, she reminds me that regardless of where you are from, what your ethnic background is, and what body shape you’ve been blessed with, there will always be room for passionate and hard working performers in this industry.



When and how did your dance journey begin?
I always loved performing along to music on TV and for my family when I was just a baby. Singing, dancing and just being a crazy kid was all I wanted to do! When I was three my mum decided to put me in dance at Brent Street, and I can honestly say it's probably the best decision she has ever made for me. Love ya mum!

Has dancing had a positive impact on your self-confidence?
Of course! Having performed from such a young age I've gotten used to being in front of a crowd. This has given me a confidence that I wouldn’t of otherwise had if it wasn't for dance. When I'm onstage I feel like I can become another person or another version of myself I guess - it's a great feeling.

If you could star in any musicians’ video, who’s would it be? 
Omg…that's a tough one. I would want to be in so many music videos!! But I would have to say Macklemore because I just think he is the coolest guy EVER. It would be a dream come true to perform with him.

Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
 
New York! Or LA. Either way, I'd love to see myself travelling the world and dancing. Hopefully cast in a Broadway show…that would be the ultimate dream!

What do you love most about Brent Street? 
The environment we're in is just so amazing. At Brent Street you see SO many incredible choreographers and teachers walk through the door every day, and it's just so inspiring! It doesn't matter if you want to dance for fun or make it a career there is always something for someone who loves dance at Brent Street. The amount of advice and tips we get from our quality tutors is incredible. I have so much love for my Brent Street fam! We inspire each other to work harder and be the best we can be, not only as individuals but as a team.



When and how did your dance journey begin? 
I am the youngest of 3 girls in my family. My two older sisters danced and my Mum was also a dance teacher, so it was inevitable that I was going to dance too! When I was little I watched my sisters and as soon as I could walk I started dancing– I loved it. It wasn’t until year 10 when all my friends were deciding career paths that I realised I wanted to dance for the rest of my life and make it my career.

Have you formed lasting friendships through your journey at Brent Street and are they different to ones formed outside of dance?
I was very social at school but the friendships I have made at Brent Street are different. We share the same passion which makes our bond very strong and special - they will be my friends for life and I know that we will always support one another and have each other’s back no matter the circumstance.

Has dancing had a positive impact on your self-confidence? 
My older sisters are really outgoing and confident, however I was very shy and I tended to hind behind their personalities. Through dance I was able and encouraged to be my own person and I developed better self-confidence through performance and using dance as an expression of my personality. I am very appreciative that I get the opportunity to do something that I love everyday especially with people, mentors, and teachers who support me and push me to achieve my career goals.

If you could star in any musicians’ video, who’s would it be? 
Definitely Beyoncé! She’s so influential and she’s all about empowering women. She isn’t just a singer or a dancer; she’s EVERYTHING –a movement. Her music videos are so ahead of the times and I know they will be around for many generations. Her success and drive motivates me every day.

What do you love most about Brent Street?
 
It’s a very nurturing environment to be in and the training you receive from top industry professionals is one of a kind. I started here eighteen months ago and I feel like I’ve been there my whole life. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and made me feel like I was a part of their family. That is just the way the Brent Street team does things. It’s inclusive, not exclusive! The entire faculty pushes performers in a way that encourages us to better ourselves not only as dancers but human beings too. 




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