Nick Guerts is a successful commercial dancer who has had many successes in the dance industry. Only starting at age 16, it was a quick rise through the dance world to be a part of Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Australia and made it to the top 6! From there, Nick has performed with various A-Listers including Nicole Scherzinger, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera, Flo Rider and Ke$ha. These days, Nick is touring with the one and only Lady Gaga! Here he tells DanceLife how he came to be where he is today, what its like to work with Lady Gaga, as well as what he thinks makes a successful commercial dancer.
When you were growing up, what was your training?
I didn’t start any form of training until I was 16, my training began on the Sunshine Coast at Sunshine Coast Academy of Dance Arts (SCADA ). I trained there for 2 years before I moved to Melbourne to train with Robert Sturrock. When I started dancing I was more into the urban styles hip-hop, breaking and tricking, but it didn’t take long before I was approached to train in other styles like ballet, contemporary and jazz. I trained solid in all these styles for about 3-4 years, I grew to really love the freedom of contemporary and explored finding myself and my own style through this outlet. I worked in a few contemporary shows in Melbourne and also started working professionally in the commercial industry in 2009. Another significant platform of my training was SYTYCD Australia season 3 in 2010 where I had the great opportunity to try other styles and be challenged weekly.
What have you done since then?
After I finished SYTYCD I continued to work in Australia for about 3 months, I then decided to move to London; in search of new experiences and challenges. Shortly after arriving in London I had the great opportunity to work with Brian Friedman on X- factor UK and with Nicole Scherzinger for her UK promo. My time in London provided me with some amazing opportunities; it was a great stepping stone for me to work with choreographers from the UK, US and Europe, as well as performing through Europe on various TV shows in Holland, Fashion shows in Berlin, Switzerland, Spain and throughout England, Ireland, and Scotland. I also got to work with Australia’s own Kylie Minogue for a second time in Denmark. After 2 years working through the UK and Europe, I moved to Los Angeles were my career continued to grow. After being in LA a few weeks I started booking work on TV shows such as; X-Factor, Glee, Greys Anatomy, The Voice – (Xtina and Flo Rider showcase). Award shows – American music awards with Ke$ha in 2012, Latin billboard awards 2012/2013 for various Latin artists. LA has been an incredible place to be for my career and has opened up many doors, I look forward to what the next years hold!
What was your first professional contract?
I didn’t work under long contracts for quite a while as I was working mainly as a freelance dancer in Australia and through UK/Europe. When I moved to Los Angeles the first tour contract was with Ke$ha (The Warrior Tour in 2013)
Are you currently touring with someone?
Yes, this year I have had the amazing opportunity to be on world tour with the icon Lady Gaga! We have finished touring United States, Canada, Asia and had the chance to come home and perform with her in Australia which was amazing :-) We are now moving through Middle East and Europe!
What is it like to work with someone as creative and visionary as Lady Gaga?
Lady Gaga really is an incredible individual, watching her work on stage and off stage is so inspiring. She is always so engaged with her audience, fans and with us dancers on and off the stage. She definitely likes to keep things fresh and loves to stay creative throughout the show; adding new songs, jumping into the audience and telling us to follow; she is always in the moment on stage, which is a beautiful thing. Seeing her creative side has been an incredible gift! She really is such a caring individual, has been an amazing opportunity to be a part of her art!
What do you think makes a successful commercial dancer?
Many things are taken into account when auditioning and working in this industry, – some things we cannot control and some that we can. Talent is a huge factor and will be the base of what people look at in an audition – are you able to stand out and show that you can be an artist behind the artist? Be able to make decisions, be a smart thinking dancer not just a clone? (Although some jobs call for that), an extra few tricks or styles up your sleeve always helps also. Other factors that come into play are; do you fit the brief? Skin color, hair length or color, body type, height, age etc. Some gigs might have dancers booked already and need to see if you fit in with that group. As hard as it is to not take it personal or that you’re not good enough, sometimes you’re just not right for that role but there will be ones you are right for. One thing that I believe plays a massive part in being successful in this industry is to always stay humble and represent yourself. Whether it is in class, audition, rehearsals and on a job because people are always looking and aware of the type of people they want around them. Networking also plays a part, make connections! Get to know as many people in the industry as possible, make yourself available and show you are hungry, willing and able. I always try to let actions and talent speak louder than words. Confidence over cockiness will always be a stronger representation of yourself.
Do you have any advice for any aspiring dancers wanting to make it in the industry?
Yes of course, coming from Australia myself and starting late, I honestly did not think I would get to where I am now. It is truly humbling to look back at the journey from a small dance school on the Sunshine Coast that started this incredible journey, so don’t ever think your dream is too big! Most importantly, build your name and reputation in your home country first. Work with as many choreographers as you can, train in as many styles as you can, and really take solid time to create yourself as an artist. There is no need to rush; London isn’t going anywhere LA isn’t going anywhere, where ever you want to end up there is no need to rush. Keep training, keep pushing yourself, set goals and represent yourself well in everything you do, it will help your agent represent you in the best light.
Don’t just limit yourself to one thing, try to be open to try new styles and art forms, embrace the challenges you might face and always remember why you love to dance – stay hungry and hold on to your passion.