Sunday, 1 August 2010

Dancer ADRIAN WANLISS talks about the wonders of the art form, upcoming studies in The Netherlands and his culinary exploits

As one of those young Jamaican artists with a realistic view of the world, dancer Adrian Wanliss, 22, seems poised for terrific future success. His undeniable talent, humility and refreshing, athletic physique have been displayed in local dance theatre for the past few years (he’s a senior L’ACADCO member) but have now gained the attention of the Rotterdam Dance Academy (RDA), Holland’s prestigious school for international dance talent and one of Europe’s leading professional institutes for contemporary dance. Each year, the RDA selects a few dozen talented dancers from hundreds of applicants from all over the world. Wanliss, an Ardenne High alum, was chosen this year to pursue a four-year Bachelors programme in Dance Education, starting later this month. Wanliss talks to TALLAWAH about this major accomplishment, among other things.

Congrats on being accepted to Rotterdam. What does this new development mean for you personally?

I see it as another stepping stone towards my goal, which is to open a performing arts stadium in Jamaica, international networks and an exchange programme to draw more international exposure to the talent we have here in Jamaica. Personally, I feel honoured because I was accepted on a whim. Usually you have to do a live audition, and I sent in a DVD and got accepted based on my talent. This is a major achievement for me; it means I have something special, and I hope to hone it more. It will be major work but I am up for it. When faced with adversity I always rise to the occasion.

Has dance always been your calling?

Yes, because from I was child, watching JBC, I only kept still whenever the classical dance programmes came on (Laughs).

Outside of dance, what other areas of art and culture interest you?

I was a part of the Cathy Levy Players, so I also enjoy acting and singing. I also love doing backstage and technical work.

Do you think the stigma attached to men who do classical dance will ever go away?

No, because the stigma is mainly attached to how graceful men have to be when doing classical dance, and being graceful is often seen as feminine. And that will always be associated with homosexuality. It’s a bit close-minded, and I don’t know if the Caribbean will ever get away from that kind of thinking.

How have you been spending your summer?

This summer I performed with L’ACADCO for the show “Ship’s Log.” I also did Sumfest with Etana, and I did commercials for CLARO and KFC, making a bit more money (Laughs). I also taught at the Tony Wilson summer programme. It was a fun experience because I love to teach, and it’s one of the things I want to do when I come back from The Netherlands.

What’s the best thing you can cook?

I can cook breakfast (Laughs). I am a whiz with eggs. I can also bake. I come from a very matriarchal family so a lot has been handed down to me through the generations.

Related Posts:

* Jermaine Rowe: “I Am Living My Passion”

* Dance, Coconut, Dance: L’ACADCO serves up a tropical reverie

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