The Royal Danish Ballet's Ballet Festival in Copenhagen this June could have doubled as a showcase for corps dancer Liam Redhead, 23. On opening night, Redhead demonstrated his Bournonville mettle with a floating ballon and effortless charisma in Napoli's Act I ballabile. Then he delivered dazzling jumps as the Jester in artistic director Nikolaj Hübbe's Swan Lake, and later unleashed visceral power in Akram Khan's Vertical Road.
Redhead in "The Nutcracker." Photo by Henrik Stenberg, Courtesy RDB.
Trained in tap, jazz and hip hop in his hometown of North Bay, Ontario, Redhead joined Canada's National Ballet School at 12. The turning point came two years later, when he was cast as Billy Elliot on Broadway. "All of a sudden I had to perform at a high level, regardless of how I was feeling that day," he says. It whetted his appetite for a professional dance career, and after graduating from NBS, he joined RDB in 2014.
Mastering the Danish style (and learning the language) is an ongoing process, but Redhead thrives on the challenge, and on the varied rep. "I feel the most stimulated and fulfilled when I'm pushing myself," he says.