By Angela Crompton
June 11, 2013
[Marlborough, New Zealand] – A Kiwi boy with Marlborough roots has been awarded the “most outstanding citizen award” after three years’ study at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, northern Michigan.
Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, 17, graduated as an honours student after completing a three- year scholarship at the prestigious American arts academy, says his Blenheim grandmother, Barb Guillemot. “All faculty and staff nominate a senior and he got the most nominations ever in the school’s 51-year history,” Mrs Guillemot said.
Born in Christchurch, Joshua spent his early childhood years in Blenheim, home town to his mother, Mrs Guillemot’s daughter Dee Guillemot-Rodgerson.
Joshua later returned to Christchurch and was at St Andrew’s College when he received a US$70,000 (NZ$94,000) a year scholarship for three years’ study at Interlochen.
Days there started at 7.30am for four and a half hours’ of academic study, followed by eight hours’ contemporary ballet tuition with some contemporary dance. “Then he would go back in the evenings to practise on his own,” Mrs Guillemot said.
For the past two years, Joshua has had a lead role in the academy’s annual ballet production and is one of two Interlochen dance students who will study at The Juilliard School, New York, next year.
Academy director of dance Cameron Basden says Juilliard is a school all young dancers aim for. It takes 12 male and 12 female dancers from around the world each year. “And New York offers so many opportunities for dancers to begin their careers,” Mr Basden says on an Interlochen website.
Mrs Guillemot said Joshua has attended dance competitions in Blenheim for the past 10 years. He returns this month to run some workshops and do some relief judging during three days of competitions at the Marlborough Floor Pride Civic theatre, from June 21.
Blenheim audiences can see Joshua on stage when he performs in Swan Lake with the Marlborough Dance Centre. Directed by Jeannie Mark, it will be staged at the civic theatre on July 5, 6 and 8.
© 2013 Fairfax New Zealand Limited