Young Northern Rivers dancer cracks the big time
A FORMER Alstonville boy has landed a coveted role in an acclaimed UK dance adaptation of the famous William Golding novel, Lord of the Flies.
Patrick Weir will play the role of Simon, the spiritual leader of the band of schoolboys whose ordeal as castaways on a tropical island reveals the thin line between civilisation and murderous anarchy.
The Melbourne-based 22-year-old scored the part even before graduating from the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts in December.
He's one of just six Australian dancers chosen for the core nine-member cast, with the other three drawn from the production company's London headquarters.
Lord of the Flies is choreographed by Sir Matthew Bourne, the only person in the dance world to receive a knighthood outside of traditional ballet.
The production is playing a month-long season in Melbourne during which time Mr Weir will perform with some of the best young dancers in Australia.
He described his character, Simon, the "epitome of human goodness" whose attempts to shed light on one of the island's mysteries ends with his tragic, bloody demise at the hands of his fellow castaways.
Despite only graduating last month, this isn't Mr Weir's first role. In 2015 he was working in Perth performing a work called Decadance with world-renowned choreographer Ohad Naharin.
"I've been really lucky," he said.
But it's not just luck - the passionate dancer has been dedicated to his art since he was five.
"I first started because my cousin showed me a video of his end-of-year concert, and when I saw the dancing I thought 'that's really what I want to do'.
"And for the next year after that I pestered my mother to take me to a ballet school."
"Eventually she gave in and I started then.
"I never really considered doing anything else.
"That feeling of being able to move your body and being able to express yourself in a different way, is just amazing."
Local instructor Monique Feain, who taught Patrick for a decade, said his attitude was phenomenal.
"Patrick was not necessarily a natural talent but he gave everything he had to it," Ms Feain said.
"And in dance you need passion, drive, determination - and that's what Patrick has in spades."
Mr Weir's long-term aspiration is pretty simple: to land a "stable full-time job" in a dance company somewhere in the world.
He hopes the next chapter in his career will involve visiting the UK to audition for some of the world's leading international dance companies.