Just a day after graduating, Sean Flanagan was working with the award-winning, all-male dance company BalletBoyz on a piece now heading to Worthing’s Connaught Theatre on Saturday, May 19.
Fourteen Days invited four celebrated choreographers to work alongside four eminent and completely-different composers.
Sean, who joined BalletBoyz officially last September, was brought early last July, the only time Craig Revel Horwood was available to work on the piece he was doing: “He was great. He came in and expressed his ideas about how he wanted to work and how he wanted to do it. The piece was formed within a couple of days. He wanted to introduce clogging into the piece, and the hardest thing was learning the clogging technique for all of us, but he was really good to work with. He was very unlike his TV personality. He was very lovely and warm. It was quite an intense time but also because it was my first time with the company. But it was such a good opportunity. I had only graduated the day before, and getting a piece made on you was just incredible!
“I was not involved in the creation of the other pieces, but now that we are revisiting them on tour, I have ended up in four of the pieces, having started off in only one.”
And so far so good: “I am on a freelance contract, but I am exclusive to them when I am working with them. I would love to stay for a number of years with Balletboyz. I am really enjoying it here. The opportunities that you get to perform on stage are just unbelievable.
“I trained at the Royal Ballet School, and I slowly moved towards more contemporary and modern dance in my graduate year. I faced some barriers in terms of auditioning because of my height, and it made me realise that I was really enjoying the contemporary pieces. It was only in my graduate year that I realised that Balletboyz were exactly the company that I wanted. The main attraction was the way it is ten boys doing new pieces every year and the fact that what they do is so modern and so up to date. That’s what they are all about, and I had seen them several times before. They stand for modern contemporary and up-to-date works, but also using a quite close classical structure.”
In other words, it enabled Sean to build on his classical training while developing in new directions. As for working with an all-male company, the attraction was that it was offering something different. In the ballet world, the male can so often be the partner. As Sean says, in the contemporary dance world, there are equal opportunities for partnering and being partnered: “In ballet, the male is almost thought to be hidden whereas with this, there are so many things that you can do differently. The dynamic is different, but it is not all about trying to be butch and masculine. It is still all about the dance.”