Meet Nathan Bartman, TEN Company Dancer


Nathan Bartman

Where are you from and what is your professional background?

At the age of 16 Nathan started dancing with a local Hip Hop crew in Eersterivier, Cape Town, South Africa. In 2011, following 3 years of training in that genre, Nathan received a dance scholarship for a senior bridging programme during which he received 2 years’ formal classical dance training under the direction of Phillip Boyd and Christopher Kindo. In 2013 Nathan was awarded a scholarship to study performing arts at the Cape Academy of Performing Arts under the direction of Debbie Turner. There he was trained in multiple performing arts disciplines and took advantage of the great opportunity to learn and perform the repertoire of the Cape Dance Company (CDC). Nathan completed three years of studies and graduated with a Senior Diploma with Distinction in 2015.

In April 2016, Nathan was given an opportunity to work with the ACE Dance and Music company in Birmingham, U.K., in a research and development programme for ACE working with choreographer José Agudo. Following this, Nathan was awarded a 9-month contract by ACE in September 2016 to perform in the company’s latest work, TEN.

When did you know, you wanted to dance professionally? What drew you to dance?

I knew I wanted to dance professionally from the age 18. The discipline and excessive use of positive energy drew me closer to it, as I desperately needed to use my energy and time in a positive way at the time to distract myself from my circumstances.

What made you want to work with ACE dance and music?

I met the directors of ACE at the National Arts Festival in South Africa in 2013. Since then I was curious about the company and I started doing research about them and who they worked with. I wanted to be a part of this company because I wanted to grow as an artist and also contribute to the company what I have learnt.

During TEN tour, which performance has been your favourite and why?

My favourite performance was in Gloucester for the Strike a light festival. I had the privilege to work with some of the students 2 weeks before the performance and I had built relationships with them, so it felt like I could feel their energies in the audience.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

I have no pre-show rituals. I like to try and experience different energies and use it to the best of my ability during the performance.

What are the key things to remember whilst performing?

The one key element for me is to keep my mind clear and to stay present during a performance.

What is it like to be in a professional company?

Being in a professional dance company is like being in a professional family, it’s constant, passionate, frustrating, caring and you always have your back covered.

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers who are beginning their journey?

Aspiring dancers who are beginning their journey should expose themselves to every art form they can, absorb what is good and discard what is not.