Hot Talent Watch | JB

James Barry

Future Phlying High

Article by Nikita Liddell
2016 has been a pretty ‘mental’ year for JAMES BARRY – better known as simply ‘JB’… Being a part of Phly Crew and reaching the Grand Final of Australia’s Got Talent while simultaneously choreographing & directing shows; being VERY manly and building a set for a full theatre production at NIDA … Add to that some trips to America working with some really big names and teaching throughout the US, knee surgery and 6 weeks of no dancing then merchandising and t-shirt designs for Phly Crew, Emceeing DanceLife Unite National Grand Final, JB is now in preparation for some shows on a cruise ship!
JB started unlike most dance gurus… As a self taught freestyle hip hop dancer before moving on up to the big smoke to train in jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, contemporary, acrobatics, singing & drama … then expanded his skills to areas such as Theatre Sports, Break dance, Freestyle Dance, Acrobatics, Saxophone, Public Speaking, Rapping, Beat Boxing, Juggling, Getting things off high shelves… and Having a BEARD… James Barry is a man of many talents!!
This week JB is DanceLife’s HOT TALENT WATCH … this is what he had to say:
Q: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
“That’s a tough one because I’ve got many different words of wisdom that have been passed to me over all the years but I think the one I find most important from a creative aspect is I was being mentored by Shaun Evaristo and he was talking about how when we create we draw from 3 different boxes.
“The first box is all the dance classes we’ve taken, another box is all of our personal inspirations, personal creativity and then the third box is life experience, and you have to have a balance of having all of those full. So you need to take class but you also need to work on your own creativity. But then, and the one people miss out on most is life experience.
“There are so many young dancers out there that spend every waking minute in a dance studio, which is great and amazing …  but they forget to go out and live life a bit and don’t realise that it will be beneficial to their dancing or their creativity.
“As artists we draw from those experiences for our artwork. I think that’s the one that stays with me the most because I guess a lot of us if we’re not in the dance studios training sometimes we can feel guilty about that… But days when you just go to the beach and chill out, relax, that will help your dancing still or falling in love and heart break, that’s going to teach you how to draw on those emotions when you’re dancing. You can see vast differences in performers who have lived a life and been through things to someone who has not really stepped out and done that much.”
Q: What would you say is at the top of your bucket list?
“I’m pretty lucky! A lot of my bucket list items have been ticked lately! We are in the process of working on a musical right now which is on my bucket list – to say that ‘I wrote and directed a musical’ is definitely on the list.
“Life things –  the biggest thing I’d love to do is just buy a van and travel around Australia for a year, I think that would be phenomenal. One big thing I’m starting to focus on is bridging the gap between cultural Australian dance and the commercial Australian dancing. I think we as Australians know so little about the cultural heritage of our country in general, but in dance even more so. I know there are laws surrounding it within our indigenous community about us learning the dances, but even if we get to learn about it I think it would give a lot more people more respect for our indigenous brothers and sisters. Even if we were able to just get one of the elders in to speak to everyone for one lesson then that becomes part of the syllabus or just part of the programs we would all have so much more knowledge of our countries heritage which is so important.”
Q: If you could choose, what would be your one super power?
“My one super power, I think would have to be TELEPORTATION! I reckon that would be boss! You could kind of fly and you could kind of be invisible… If you just teleport yourself up to the sky and fell you’re kind of flying – like Buzz Lightyear!”
Q: What do you think every dancer should try at least once in their lives?
“I think every dancer should try dancing to live music, that’s really fun. I think there is something really special about sharing music and dance at the exact same time.”
Q: What can we see from JB in 2017?
“2017 – Who knows at the moment? I’ve written 3 shows while I have been travelling … but I’m waiting on other things to come to fruition before we can really hone in on that. I’m aiming to put on a whole lot more classes in Sydney … Open Classes which should be really good, looking to travel more and teach overseas but also teach a lot in Australia.”
James Barry, or JB, Is known globally for his online popping tutorials and his choreography for National and International Artists. James has played a massive role in the success of popular hip-hop/Comedy group Phly Crew as the Artistic Director. Phly Crew have competed on all levels, even representing Australia at Hip-Hop International in 2011, but most recently Phly Crew were seen on the Grand Final of the popular TV show Australia’s Got Talent! On the note of reality TV, JB made it into the top 30 of So You Think You Can Dance in 2014. In 2016 JB was asked to be a part of the International acclaimed dance company RICHBOYZ. JB has taught all around the world from France to Germany to the USA. He has also trained internationally attending the world’s most prestigious dance camp, Urban Dance Camp, in Germany in 2014 and 2015 he is continually growing and training to pass on knowledge to his students.