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THERE IS SOMETHING very fine about
young dancer James Farnham of
Belmont. He speaks in finely chosen
words, he dresses with attention to fine
detail and he moves with grace and
strength beyond his years.
Fifteen year old James has only been
learning contemporary dance for the last
two years, although as a child he learned
tap, jazz and gymnastics, and their legacy
remains. He performed in Dio Sounds,
the Catholic secondary schools annual
performance event, in 2010 and 2011,
this year opening the show!
While it's obvious that a dancer of
extraordinary ability requires great
discipline, it's something of a conundrum
that James' forte is improvisation, inspired
by music and mood. His preference, as
a soloist, is not to be choreographed,
although he looks forward to a time
when he might choreograph for others.
While there may be nerves as he waits
backstage, once he begins to dance, he is
oblivious to everything but the music.
"I'm with myself and only with myself. All
the energy around me is amazing - I feed
off that energy and excitement. I love it!
It's magical really."
Watching him perform, it is easy to see
that he is in another place, and while
most performers respond to applause,
James remains in that other place until
the curtain falls. When I ask if this is
something he has been taught, he says,
"No, it's an instinctive thing, definitely."
James readily acknowledges the culture of
St Mary's High School Gateshead which
"really supports performance and creativity.
We have a wonderful music teacher, Ms
Lia Pati, who provides great opportunities
for us to learn and develop our talents."
James is a young man of many talents and
he is unfazed by challenging stereotypes.
With the full support of his parents
Anthony and Fay, he not only follows
his bliss on stage, but is a dab hand at
designing and making costumes, and a
sharp dresser too. He is more than happy
to assist his much loved grandmother
Joyce in the kitchen. He is drawn to
calligraphy and his handwriting is unusually
fine in this digital age.
Last year James visited Japan for two
weeks with other students of Japanese
from St Mary's. He was enchanted by the
culture and looks forward to returning, and
perhaps becoming a teacher of Japanese.
"You have to embrace the culture and
immerse yourself in it," he says. James
looks forward to the return visit of
the Japanese students next term and
especially to performing for them.
While he has enjoyed success in
eisteddfods and in his classes at Belmont
Dance Centre, competition is not central
to the experience for James. In fact, it's
less about performance than the sheer joy
of dance for this true gentleman.
"I'd love to keep dancing for the rest of
Watch this space...
in my head"
n mood His preferenc
By TRACEY EDSTEIN
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