FROM BILLY ELLIOTT TO ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET: Q & A WITH RHYS YEOMANS
Imperfect pointes: favourite items of studio or rehearsal gear?
Oh I love a bit of Imperfect Pointes! I’ve become totally obsessed with the men's tights. I have so many different colourways now, I just love how confident, reliable they are and how well supported I feel in them. I spend all day long in tights and they make me feel fabulous when I'm rehearsing in them.
Rhys Antoni Yeomans showing off Imperfect Pointes black dance tights. Photo credit: George Liang
What drew you to Imperfect Pointes?
It is a Manchester startup brand and I am a fellow Mancunian - a match made in ballet heaven! I think it's so important to support brands from your hometown. When I found out about a British brand coming out of Manchester, I really wanted to get involved and even better that the brand is sustainable.
What do you look for in your dancewear?
I really like the fabric to be supportive and fit my body well. I like a pop of colour to make me stand out in auditions or in a rehearsal and I feel Imperfect Pointes has a lot of options that cover that and allow me to express myself when I’m dancing. Imperfect Pointes Men’s dance tights have a front seam and usually I chose tights without the seam, so Imperfect Pointes is developing a front seam free option and I’ll be getting involved in the fit for that, and wear testing the new tights in the studio. That way I can help make sure they have the best possible fit.
Who’s ballet style do you admire and why?
I absolutely love the ballet style of Maria Kochetkova. She is a Principal Dancer with the English National Ballet, she has got such a funky way of dressing, she pulls it off and makes it look really cool. If I was to wear it I would probably just look like a Marshmallow! I really love her style!
If you were to design a piece of dance wear what would it be?
I prefer a long sleeve top, so I would probably design a long sleeved top or long sleeve leotard for guys, as usually dancewear for guys comes with cap sleeves. So I’m hoping that Imperfect Pointes will be able to make me some long sleeved leotards and unitards for the new season in their recycled ECONYL fabrics
Rhys Yeomans, Artist of the English National Ballet Company styling it out in Leeds, while rehearsing for Emerging Dancer
You won the People's choice award in 2019 at the Emerging Dancer Competition for English National Ballet. How did it feel to be recognised by the public at such a prestigious and highly regarded ballet competition?
Winning Emerging Dancer’s People’s Choice Award (2019) was ……(sighs) so amazing, and very unexpected. It made me feel so proud of myself and for the work that I had done throughout that entire year, to be recognised by those people watching me up on stage, and voting for me. I thought it was very special. It was the cherry on the cake after the end of the season to be recognised. For the public to collectively say ‘Well done, Rhys, you were recognised for all your hard work.’ It is very rewarding.
Does performance confidence come naturally to you or do you have to work for it?
From an early age, I wanted to be on stage, and because I was appearing in and playing the part of Billy Elliott in the West End hit musical from the age of 10, I had it ingrained in me. On stage so performance confidence does come quite naturally to me and being on stage is my favourite part of the job. Yes, it is really hard work, being a ballet dancer with all the rehearsals and heavy schedules. But when I get out there on stage, I know it is all worth it …..to go out there be confident and just do me.
Rhys wearing sustainable ballet tights by Imperfect Pointes. Photo credit George Liang
What are your tips for getting game ready?
Before an evening show, I like to recharge with a powernap- just 30 minutes so that I feel super fresh. Also, I must admit that I like to indulge in a strong coffee before a show and really enjoy that coffee kick. I'm so fitting in with the imperfect vibe!
What are your hopes and aspirations for your dance career?
Of course, it would be great to be a Principal Dancer one day, but for me, I want to do everything I possibly can, embracing all the opportunities that come up in my ballet career so that when I look back, I don’t say to myself I wish I had tried this, I wish I had done that… and keep pushing and achieving my goals step by step. But feeling happy and feeling fulfilled are really important to me in what I do as a dancer.
If you could tell your younger self anything what would it be?
I would tell little Rhys to keep going, don't doubt yourself. You can do it and all the hard work will pay off.
Rhys performing as Billy in Billy Elliott the Musical, at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London's West End
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