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All Men Can Dance - Really!

All Men Can Dance - Really!

Travis Khan used to watch music videos and try and work out hip hop moves. Now he's a dancer and choreographer training at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington.

Travis never intended to be a dancer. "I always wanted to be an actor, I had no idea what contemporary dance even was."

"I was completely into my squash and gymnastics and acting, the only dance I'd done until I started training as a dancer was the Stage Challenge and a bit in my local theatre company," he says.

Travis represented Rotorua in gymnastics and really regrets giving it up after he broke his arm. "Now that I'm a dancer keeping on with the gymnastics would have been so useful because it's fantastic training, but there were no guys in my gym class after Intermediate School and I decided to concentrate on acting."

Although many people think men get hassled for being dancers Travis says that all of his friends have been fine. "Everyone's been really positive and encouraging. I got hassled far more for being a gymnast!"

Travis is a contemporary major at the NZ School of Dance and wants to get into a company like The Australian Dance Theatre or with Douglas Wright. "I really love the physical challenge of contemporary dance, and the way you get to mix styles from hip hop to ballet. I'm really into hip hop."

Travis got into dance by accident, after supporting a friend through her audition for the dance course at Unitec in Auckland. He wasn't accepted into the acting course he'd applied for but was accepted into the Unitec Contemporary Dance degree.

"The first year was tough because I had no formal training, but I really enjoyed it and just kept at it for the next two years. I got a good grounding in choreography there. But at my Unitec graduation Raewyn Hill, who is a well-known NZ dancer and choreographer, gave me advice to further expand my technical skills and she recommended the NZ School of Dance."

Travis was accepted into the second year of the NZ School of Dance in 2003. "In the short time I've had here I've learnt so much and improved my technique in a big way."

The NZ School of Dance is currently accepting applications from guys who want to be professional contemporary dancers."

"You don't need to have done any dance at all. If you've done gymnastics, capoeira or aerobics or if you were in the Stage Challenge you've got a chance. I recommend you go for it, because you get to spend your entire day doing sporty stuff and you're constantly surrounded by girls," says Travis.

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