CRATER CREATIVES: DARSHAN GEER
Welcome to Crater Creatives, a monthly artist profile series offering a unique look into the artists that call Sudbury home! There’s certain type of creativity that’s born up here in Northern Ontario, maybe it’s the wilderness that surrounds us, or maybe it’s just our resourceful spirit. Whatever the case may be we’re here to shine a spotlight on the innovative artists of all sorts in this big old crater! Have an artist you’d like to recommend for a future Crater Creatives profile? Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us all about it!
Darshan Geer is the young dancing sensation bringing Billy Elliot to life in YES Theatre’s eighth season! During a summer when most teenagers would be nervously preparing to transition into high school Geer has jumped head first into his very first role in a theatrical production, and as the title character no less! Billy Elliot tells the story of a young boy living in a mining town with a love for dance, a strikingly similar scenario to the performers real life. His years on the Extreme Dance Studio competitive team have prepared him for just this challenge, and in September he’ll be starting at Sudbury Secondary School majoring in dance (naturally). You can still catch Darshan and the rest of the YES Theatre Billy Elliot cast until August 20th, get your tickets before it’s too late here.
Tell us how you first became interested in dance?
Well when I was very young, say about two or three, I used to put my baseball cap on sideways and tell everyone I was a dance mover. So I guess I always really loved dance. But I also remember when I was about four going to the studio with my mother to watch my older brother dance. And I remember watching the girls stretch (outside my brother the class was all girls) and being astounded at how flexible they were and going through their routines, and I just really wanted to try it. I started dance class soon after that.
There’s an obvious comparison to be made between yourself personally and the character Billy Elliot. Tell us a bit about your connection to the role and how it has helped you bring it to stage?
I’ve grown up in a mining town, and I’ve been dancing since I was little. All my friends wanted me to join soccer and hockey and couldn’t understand why I had no interest. My dad runs a taekwondo school which is similar in a way to boxing. I did it for a long time. And unlike Billy I didn’t hate it, but as my dance schedule grew more demanding, I had less time for it. Dance was my choice. So I guess when it comes to bringing the character to the stage, I really understand Billy. I know why he loves to dance. And just like me, in every other way, he’s just this really regular kid.
The cast of this show spans a huge range of experience levels, from first time performers to Stratford veterans. What has it been like learning and working with so many different artists?
Its great working with professionals, to see how they do things, and to see what I could potentially become. They are also really encouraging and positive.
You’ve already accomplished so much and you’re only 13! What goal do you have your eyes on next?
I don’t have any particular goals. I just want to keep improving as a dancer, actor and singer, and see what comes along.
What artists locally or beyond keep you inspired?
My dance teachers keep me inspired to this day, especially Amanda Tessier, owner of Extreme Dance Studio, who has taught me since I was little. She’s like my Mrs. Wilkinson. I’ve met so many amazing people at YES theatre who have really helped me with my acting and singing. I am very new to both. I was a bit afraid at first, when I first learned I had the role of Billy. But my director, Alessandro Constantini was so great and so encouraging, he really helped give me confidence in myself that I could play the part.
What is your favourite thing about being a part of Sudbury’s creative community?
Just being free from all the hate and judgment in the world. Being able to express yourself and not be judged by one person. It’s a breath of fresh air.
What would be your best advice be to a newcomer looking to get involved in the community?
Get out of your comfort zone and explore as much as you can while you can. You never know what you can accomplish if you don’t take a risk.
Where can we follow you work?
I have nothing official set up, right now. But maybe in the future.
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