BJ Becomes A Cat

Published on 12th Aug, 2008

BJBJCats is currently playing in Korea and is lucky enough to have a few Aussie on the tour. DanceLife caught up with one of the lucky cats, BJ Rorke who has performed with Australia’s leading artists and even Fergie Ferg after completing the Talent Development High School course at Brent Street Studios in 2006. BJ tells us about the audition process for Cat plus explains what else he has been up to.

1. You are currently in Korea performing in Cats. How did you find out about the roles available and what was the audition process like?

The Cats audition was very tough with only enough time to watch the dvd, look up a few characters and have a singing lesson to prepare a couple of songs. It started off with an open dance call, going in with groups of about 20. There was a combination which we learnt and then performed in groups of 3 for Jo-Anne Robinson, the Choreographer/director. Jo then asked each of the 3 to do different things according to which role she thought suited them.
Some of the things I had to do were turns in second, splits, tours, backflips and aerials. She then told us who she would like to stay and sing and who was cut.

In the singing audition we were auditioned by Fiz Shapur, the musical supervisor and Jo-Anne again. I sang my first song and then Fiz asked me to do some different types of scales to hear my range. After that I left and I waited outside for about 10 minutes while they discussed me (which made the next person to audition very nervous) then their assistant came out and told me that I was finished and could go home and that even though some people are required to come back to sing some numbers from the show tomorrow, they liked me and don’t need to hear anything else but may in the future call me in by myself if necessary.
When I hadn’t heard anything from them after about 1 month, I had naturally written if off my list as I make myself do after every audition, my agent Nick Bozanic received an email from Cats offering me a role!

2. Any dancer in Cats needs very strong technique. What advice would you give to our readers in terms of training to audition for such a show?

My advice to any dancer is “GET TO CLASS”…especially ballet classes. As my focus for the last couple of years and most of my jobs have been jazz and hip hop, if I hadn’t been keeping up my ballet classes there’s no way I would be here doing Cats.

3. You have recently formed a production company with Hilton (SYTYCD) – Milk N Cookies Productions. Tell us about this new business venture.

Milk N Cookies Productions is a new company that Hilton and I have created but have been thinking about and planning for many years (Hilton and I went through high School together at the Brent St Talent Development High School). It was quite a challenge setting it all up as we were only 18 when we first registered the name but within a few months we had everything set up and ready to go with some help from some great people.
Our long term goal is to put on our own full length stage shows in theatres around the world, but at the current stage we are mainly choreographing entertainment for functions and events and putting on dance workshops around different dance schools and halls around Sydney. We have many plans for the future so hopefully they can all be realised.

4. This year you have been choreographing for the new BDA Hip Hop Syllabus. What processes did you go through to create the syllabus?

Hilton and I have been working with the BDA and a few other great people to create a new hip hop syllabus. We are very excited about it as we think it will give kids a chance to learn all the basics of the many different hip hop styles at a younger age and work up to build their skills as they get older. Some of the sections that the syllabus will include are floor work, popping, krump, lyrical hip hop, gliding and commercial combos. Something to look forward to very soon.

5. You have danced with many great Australian artists. What has been your best experience so far?

Doing Cats right now is amazing and I’m having the best time but I don’t think I could say I have a favourite experience but some great times I have had are dancing with “Fergie” at the Australian MTV awards, being a part of the top 40 of SYTYCD, being flown to compete in Las Vegas for winning the Showcase dancer of the Year competition, working with Graeme Murphy on the upcoming movie “Mao’s Last Dancer” and anytime I get to watch something I have choreographed on stage.

6. What has been the best advice any one has ever give you?

This is definitely a tough question. I have had SOOO much good advice from all my amazing teachers at Brent Street, my agent Nick Bozanic at Instinct NSW and family and friends through the years but I guess the best thing that has helped me in my life is that if you want to do something, then do it, figure out what you have to do to get there and DO IT NOW! Don’t waste any time and never be afraid to ask for help.

If you would like more information on BJ please contact Nick Bozanic at Instinct NSW on 02 9211 0535 or nick@instinctnsw.com.au

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