Meet RNZB Dancer Nathan Mennis
Nathan joined the RNZB in January 2018. He made his New Zealand debut as Alisdair Stewart in The Piano: the ballet. We asked him a few questions about life, dancing and chocolate biscuits, to get to know him better.
Nate. When I danced with Queensland National Ballet School I had the nickname Twiggy.
I love both. I grew up with lots of animals.
It would definitely be London. I really love that city. I spent time there last year with my sister when I went on an audition tour to find a new company to dance with.
When people ask a question and answer it themselves straight after. Or people who walk slowly! I’ve got a lot of leg so I walk fast.
Depends on the city. Depends on the beach. I love the country too, so maybe farmland.
Squiggles. Caroline (Wiley, another RNZB dancer) introduced me to the extreme chocolate ones. I am addicted to them. I eat a packet a day. They’re better than Tim Tams and that’s hard for me to admit as an Australian!
I love music and I’m always looking for new music. I’ve just found this song, a cover of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers song Porcelain, by Miguel. That’s stuck in my head at the moment, I listen to that song 5 times a day.
I wasn’t always this tall.. (Nate is 6 foot 7). My growth spurt didn’t hit until I was 14. I grew a foot (12 inches) in the span of 4 months – the growing pains were excruciating, they would wake me up at night. I actually just found out that I may hold the Guinness World Record for the tallest professional ballet dancer. The current record holder is at Joffrey ballet, he’s 198cm, I’m 203cm.
People always admire how fast and co-ordinated I am for a tall dancer.
I’d like to be a photographer or a psychologist. Psychology is a big one for me – I’ve been to psychologists in the past and I’ve always found they don’t know the right way to handle people. Asking ‘how does that make you feel?’ 50 times is not going to help anyone. I feel like you can’t really help someone unless you’ve been through something similar to what they’ve been through, otherwise there’s this barrier and you can’t connect with them. I think I could do a good job as a psychologist. Photography was something that just started, I love taking photos. (Follow Nate on Instagram at _nate_mate_)
The photos I take tend to depend on what photographer I’m taking an interest in at the time. But importantly for me it’s also about how I edit them. I can set the mood however I want with the way I edit my photos which I really like.
I really like Balanchine. I think his work is beautiful, powerful, it just looks so cool. That’s why I was excited about coming to the RNZB with Patricia as Artistic Director. I’m so excited about the Bold Moves programme in 2019 – to dance both Balanchine and Forsythe works will be incredible.
Yes, I did pointe work when I was 11 or 12 as it strengthens your ankles. I know heaps of boys that work en pointe. I was a bit of a wimp though, I couldn’t stand the pain, I only lasted about 2 weeks. I don’t know how women do it.
I love Napier’s 30’s Gatsby vibe. And it’s right next to the beach.
I’m really excited about the New Choreographic Season. It’s a great opportunity for us to have new choreography designed on us as dancers and a really fun challenge.
You can find out more about Nate here (http://rnzb.org.nz/backstage/dancers/nathan-mennis/) and catch him next on stage in the Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcracker, touring 31 October – 15 December.