WHEN you think of a young working-class boy performing ballet, you’re probably drawn to the movie Billy Elliot – and that’s exactly how Andersonstown man Luc Burns got into the art form.
After a short stint in the United States during the summer where he performed with the Ajkun Ballet Theatre, Luc is preparing to return to New York where he has been cast in a production of Dracula, subject to the visa approval.
Taking time out of his busy schedule, Luc told the Andersonstown News how he became irresistibly drawn to ballet.
Ballet dancer goals hahah me and my best friend stretching it 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/rfCRNBU2pH
— Luke Burns (@LucBurnsLB) October 15, 2017
“I performed in a production of Billy Elliot when I was in a musical theater group and from there I was drawn to ballet and honestly I don’t know why,” he said. he declares.
“I discovered the Rana School of Ballet through a friend of my mother and started with them in 2016 at the age of 14, which is very late to be a beginner.
“It’s a little easier to start when you’re a lot older because you’re hanging on to things more and understanding the context of technique and how you train, but even though my brain may have taken that information, my body wasn’t made for it.
“The best way to describe it is that you have to shape your body for ballet and that’s what keeps you going in terms of the work ethic. It helps your body manage the amount of activity you do, especially if you work outside [outward, away from the supporting leg].
For Luc, the difficulty of entering a ballet class as a relatively “older” young man was not just physical.
“I was 14 and walking into a class full of eight-year-old girls in tutus and wondering what I was doing there,” he said.
“People don’t understand the strength required for a male ballet dancer. If we do a pas de deux, we have to make sure the girl is safe and we have her back. We also have a lot of jumps where strength is needed.”
Luc is keen to dispel some of the tired old myths that continue to cling to the art of ballet.
“There is a stereotype that ballet is only for women or for gay people, but that is not the case.
“I always say people should take a ballet class in their lifetime to fully appreciate the work we put in to make it easy.”
Luc said ballet doesn’t come naturally to the human body and he doesn’t think people realize how much work and effort it takes to prepare the body for dance.
“It was a struggle for me and when I started I didn’t know much. It wasn’t until I moved to Birmingham to train at Kings Academy that I understood it was all about diet and self-care.
“I have to do yoga, personal training and spend a lot of time in the gym. You would then be in class from nine in the morning until six o’clock. Then you need to go home and eat well, do active recovery like ice baths, deep warm-up, or muscle massage to avoid injury.
Regarding the casting for the upcoming New York production of Dracula, Luc said it was an extremely exciting opportunity for him in such a prestigious production. But problems remain.
“It’s kind of crazy to think that I was given this opportunity to go there and when I was there during the summer I looked like the Empire State Building, all the landmarks and I had to pinch myself as best I could. I don’t think I was there,” he said.
“The visa for this production is a bit of a problem because of my young age and because the productions I’ve been in so far haven’t been critically acclaimed.
“I have great people helping me and I hope to get through the paperwork and get on a flight to America as soon as possible.”
Luc added that he was delighted to return to work with the Aikun Ballet Theater and with the same team he had performed with this summer.
“Seeing the work ethic that goes into it is phenomenal. Dr. Aikun has her own methodology that really works and it was so exciting to have the opportunity to train and work with her.
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