Successful freelance dancer and choreographer Villa says the Bachelor of Dance Studies taught him how the craft involves much more than just cool moves on stage.
Career: Freelance Dancer and Actor, Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland
Programme: Bachelor of Dance Studies
“I’ve been freelancing as a dancer and choreographer since 2016, even while I was studying. I find creating my own works really rewarding as well as challenging. I have all of these tools now and I can just go and create something however and whenever I want. As a creative, there is nothing more freeing than being able to create something that is yours.
“I’ve performed as a dancer for the World of Wearable Arts 2019 (choreographed by Sarah Foster-Sproull), and Mea Tau (Elijah Kennar), among others. I’ve also created my own works for the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab (Gagana Leiloa) and a mini dance series, The JUKEBOX Series, vol. 1.
“My own works are drawn from honest and personal topics that I want to share. Every creative practice involves a lot of critical thinking. Studying dance has opened my eyes to intellectual discussions around the craft of dance, which has helped me understand that it’s more than just cool moves on a stage. It can be an analysis of ideas, themes, inspirations and politics. Artists are smart. Great art has layers of conversations behind it.
You pick up so many transferable skills during your study, like collaboration, discipline, time management, and how to research.
“If you are serious about dance and curious as to how to take your craft further, both physically and intellectually, then study it thoroughly. There is a power in all art forms that can invoke something, depending on how you wield it, be it a message, an old tale or movement. You pick up so many transferable skills during your study, like collaboration, discipline, time management, and how to research.
“It’s important to come into the programme with an idea of where you are wanting to go, but don’t get too caught up about it. You learn about other opportunities that dance has to offer. You just have to work for it.
"I came in wanting to be a high school teacher, but I learned more about the dance world, and my career interests then guided me to the path I’m on now. I think I’d be ready to teach in the long term, but for now, I want to gain more experience and develop my craft dancing and acting in projects, because I genuinely enjoy it.”