Ballet dancer's pointe to world stage
WHAT didn't kill Springfield ballet dancer Jordan Lennon's spirit on stage only made his pointe stronger.
The teenager's success on the local stage has propelled him onwards to his role in iconic international theatres with Corps de Ballet, but his journey to ballet stardom has not been without its falls.
Jordan started classical ballet training when he was 14 and was forced to balance his passion with high school, while being struck down by bullying and injuries.
"There have definitely been challenges on the way, from injuries, school, bullies and just being a teenager," Jordan said.
"Twice in my high school life, I had knee injuries. Both had knocked me about both physically and mentally. But both times I came back stronger, which only made me want to be a dancer more.
"School sometimes tested me as well, the split life of pushing myself in my school studies and pushing my body and mind in dance seemed unbearable at times.
"Unfortunately some people become victim to bullying in their schooling years and this was the case for me, and usually it was aimed at my choice to pursue ballet. This challenge probably got to my head the most as I wanted to quit dance completely. Eventually I changed schools to get away from my bullies after putting up with their taunts for what seemed like ages.
"I fell into welcoming arms where I was and felt accepted and my creativity and passion only blossomed."
Jordan now calls New Zealand his home away from home, where he trains six days a week for four roles in the Royal New Zealand Ballet's production of Corps de Ballet.
"Ballet is a forever-evolving art form and requires dancers to be malleable and have a strong base of technique. To acquire the technique alone requires years of training, and full-time training which is the point I'm currently at," he said.
"Because the steps are only the base, a dancer must be able to perform, tell a story, intrigue the audience and make it all look effortless even under layers of costumes and the heat of stage lights. I have been so lucky to have had these opportunities to develop me into the dancer I am today and the dancer I aspire to be."
Jordan said while his schooling presented significant challenges, it also equipped him with the skills and determination needed to perform on an international stage.
"My message is that now is only temporary and that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Troubled times or a series of them is never the end point, stay true to yourself and remember why you decided to start your journey. I'm sure if you stay on your path, when you do reach the light you will have made it and you would have quite a journey to look back on," he said.
Corps de Ballet will take to the iconic St James Theatre in Wellington in late August before touring New Zealand.