A DUNSBOROUGH dancer had a well-deserved break last week after a hectic few months which included performing to a crowd of 20,000 with an Australian pop legend, and working alongside a Hollywood great.
Austin Chandler, who danced on the set of The Great Gatsby, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, performed as part of Kylie Minogue’s show at the Sydney Mardi Gras in March.
“It’s what I always wanted to do,” Austin said about dancing back-up for Kylie.
“She (Kylie) was a little timid. Not snobby at all.”
Austin said he was also surprised at the star’s small stature.
“Even wearing big high heels, she only came up to my shoulder.”
The show was a huge success, but the follow up tour to Kuala Lumpur was cancelled a day before Austin was set to fly out.
Not to be left idle, Austin was back into a busy schedule straight away, filming a video clip for Sydney-born musician Cam Nacson, and dancing in various commercial and corporate performances in Sydney.
Austin is currently part of the Telstra Netboys, an all-male netball cheer squad, until the end of July, when he will travel to the US for classes to expand his repertoire of dance styles and technique.
Late last year Austin finished working on Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest venture The Great Gatsby, due out this year, which is directed by Baz Lurhman and also stars Casey Mulligan and Tobey Maguire.
“Tobey was also really short – for some of his scenes with Gemma Ward he had to stand on a box,” Austin chuckled.
He is set to begin rehearsals on his next project “Ivy League”, a production to be performed at corporate events.
Austin also teaches “Dance Intensity” workshops for kids every January at Busselton dance studio, Jazz Attack.
Austin and fellow dancer Jessica Newell started the workshops in 2009, just before Austin moved to Sydney.
When he first moved to Sydney, Austin started out by going to as many auditions as possible to secure work.
His commitment paid off, and Austin now gets work based on the reputation he has built through his dedication and experience.
The stakes are higher at the level he has reached, with some shows only having one rehearsal, before the dancers are expected to perform.
Despite his busy schedule Austin will return home to teach at the next workshop in January.
“My advice to prospective dancers is to just keep pushing to where you want to get,” he said.
Austin still remembers when someone left $500 at the local butchers in Dunsborough, with a message that the money was “for Austin’s dancing”. “I really appreciate the community support, and enjoy being home for a break, and giving something back through the workshops,” he said.