JOHNATHON Brown has been dancing on air since being accepted into the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) Dance College last year.
The 17-year-old former Armidale High student recently started studying there, earning his place during an intensive five days of auditions.
“I cried, because I’d been so surprised; they caught me on a very lazy day,” Johnathon said. “They rang me up and I was like ‘wow’.”
Armidale High School teacher Rowena Teege said the school’s staff were “delighted” and happy for him that his talent had been recognised.
Johnathon began dancing at the age of five after being introduced to the performing art by family members Bianca Cook and Chris Davis.
He started off in Aboriginal dance but when he entered high school he became interested in hip-hop, which he said was “more of a stronger dance” and also really fun.
He also had some help along the way in the form of Nicole “Lamb” Iovine, a well-known dancer and contestant on the TV reality show So You Think You Can Dance, who held workshops in Armidale.
Johnathon thinks his future lies in hip-hop, but he still enjoys returning to his cultural roots.
“Aboriginal dancing is one of the main dances I like to do, to represent my culture and where I’m from, and to represent my family,” he said.
While at NAISDA he will also dabble in other forms, including contemporary, ballet and jazz.
But being accepted into the college is far from his only achievement.
Last year Johnathon appeared in many performances with the Armidale High School Indigenous Dance Group, and was involved with the New England Regional Indigenous Boys Ensemble.
He was also accepted in the NSW Public Schools Aboriginal Dance Company, an initiative of the Department of Education and the prestigious Bangarra Dance Company, and performed at the Schools Spectacular in Sydney.
Dancing takes up most of his time at the college, but Johnathon fits in a bit of schooling in his spare time.
Once he finishes – in four years’ time and with a diploma under his belt – he plans on joining a dance company or becoming a back-up dancer and hopes to travel the world.
He also said he would like to be a teacher, having taught hundreds of kids during the Schools Spectacular.
But for the time being he is enjoying his time at the college.