Thomas Bradley – Sydney Dance Company

Thomas Bradley took time out of rehearsals to answer my questions on life as a professional dancer. He's currently performing in Interplay.

Thomas Bradley Photo By Peter Greig
You’ve worked with Rafael Bonachela in the premiere of 2 One Another amongst other works. Do you have similar approaches to choreography and direction?
That’s a tough question. This is my first professional job with Sydney Dance Company so I feel like my palette is not that grand at the moment. I definitely feel like Raf’s process and creation has really informed the way I think about movement. [His style is about] the pure beauty of movement, without extra layers. That’s really informed the aesthetic of my own creations and choreography.

Rehearsals, performance and recovery all require a lot of time, energy and travel. Do you pursue passions outside of dance and is this difficult?

Yeah, I’m a busy little head! I’m absolutely hopeless at being in the moment. I think that’s something I’ve struggled with for a long time! I want to have my fingers in every pie. Especially with Sydney Dance, it’s outrageous how busy we are! It’s wonderful too. I’m much better with time management skills when I’m very busy. On holiday, I don’t do anything.

3.    What sticks in your memory as a moment when you’ve felt really inspired and moved by dance?

Two moments. One moment was when I was performing in my first year at New Zealand School of Dance. It was mid performance, such a surreal experience, and I was in a show with two beautiful choreographers. There were 10 male dancers and there was a moment when I was doing a solo and I had some kind of epiphany – I just went to the next level while doing something crazy like a grand plie.
As far as watching, and realising, there was this performance of Buto that I had a film of...that really resonated. Buto is a form of oriental theatre, very slow moving and it looks like they’re not going anywhere, but it’s very much a theatrically based movement idea and it’s a thought process as much as anything.

4.    The physical demands on dancers are great – how do you recover and prevent injuries from overuse?
Injuries are inevitable and we’re lucky at SDC that we have physios at work every day. We’re really well looked after. If we have class at 9.30 until 6.30pm, you have to be doing your own conditioning and maintenance after hours, otherwise you won’t be able to move the next day. It’s a lifestyle choice rather than a career.

5.    How often do you update New Vogue Male (Tom's Tumblr Page)? There’s some incredible imagery – have you considered a career in editing and film or photography?
They’re all things I have a passion for. I’m really lucky to have so many things I’m passionate about. I definitely feel like the path that I’m on, these others passions will inform this creative monster that I’ve become. I want to be able to choreograph, direct, stage, design, costume and compose.

6.    Also, you describe yourself as “anxious and temperamental” which I totally empathise with. How have you come to embrace these things?
It’s funny we’re having this conversation today! We just had a matinee school show  [SDC performs and holds workshops with school students] and I found myself in a really anxious world. It’s such a frightening thing because it makes you question what you’re doing. I know that I’ve embraced it. More people than not deal with that in the arts especially. You’re putting your own work out there and whether you feel like it or not, you have to go out there and perform. In that respect, this is a relationship and even with the person that you love the most, they’ll make you angry and they’ll make you hurt. But you don’t just throw it away and leave it.