Duncan Lyle, 20, journeyed from Melbourne, Australia to London to study classical dance at the prestigious Royal Academy. His next stop: the Boston Ballet. Blast asked Lyle about pursuing his dream across oceans.
BLAST: What was it like growing up in Melbourne? What made you want to dance overseas? Why America?
DUNCAN LYLE: Melbourne is a very, very beautiful city. People in Melbourne are very kind and open-minded and Melbourne has a wonderful dance company. I think Melbourne was the perfect place to grow up! But I’ve always wanted to dance overseasâ€”I think it’s the ultimate validation for an Australian dancerâ€”and America has always had a great appeal to me. It’s such an exciting and diverse place offering so many opportunities. America really is the place to be.
BLAST: How did ballet become your passion and why?
DL: I have no idea how my interest was initially sparked in ballet. For as long as I can remember it is always what I have wanted to do. I don’t think there’s ever been any other path.
BLAST: Have you encountered much resistance?
DL: I went to an all-boys school so some of the guys gave me a pretty hard time and I decided to keep it a secret. When I got older I decided to let it be publicly known which surprisingly gained me quite a bit of respect from my peers.
BLAST: How did tell your friends? Is there a story there?
DL: One day I just decided that my mates should know. At lunchtime I gathered them all together and made the big announcement. They didn’t even bat an eyelid. I almost got the impression they were thinking, “So…? What are you making such a big deal about?” My friends were so accepting and a great support network. I realized it didn’t matter what anyone else thought if I had friends who were going to stick by me, and when an opportunity presented itself to perform for the whole school I decided to take it. I was surprised at the reaction I got. After performing a pas de deux with a (very attractive) girl, I got quite a lot of respect and admiration from my peers. Especially the older students.
BLAST: What are some favorite roles you’ve danced?
DL: I performed the Pas de Cinq from "The Sleeping Beauty" with the Royal Ballet School on our graduate tour to Japan. It’s a very challenging and exhausting piece but the solo plays to my strengths and was very fun. I performed Franz from "Copp©lia" as a guest artist with the Russian Choreographic Academy in Melbourne. It was great to perform a principal part, doing a grand pas de deux.
BLAST: What kind of music and dance do you enjoy outside of Ballet?
DL: My taste in music is incredibly eclectic. If you put my iPod on shuffle you would find some very random things! I have everything from Britney Spears, to Sergei Rachmaninov, to "Avenue Q," to Arcangelo Corelli!
BLAST: What made you want to work with the Boston Ballet?
DL: All the American students at the Royal Ballet School have been telling me that Boston Ballet is an amazing company and certainly one of the best in the US. After seeing a few clips on YouTube I have to say I fully agree and I’m quite in awe of how high the standard of the company is.