I had the pleasure of sitting down with Canadian choreographer, performer, entrepreneur, actor and philanthropist Nico Archambault. We talked with him about how it all started, and what he’s learned along this exciting journey.
When did you know you wanted to be a dancer?
I started dancing quite young, at seven years old. But I believe I was fourteen years old when I realized that there really was nothing else I cared for as much as dance. It’s also around the same period of time that I started seeing a path ahead, a sort of blueprint of how I could possibly become really good at this, and make it work for me, professionally.
Was it hard to find work in the beginning?
It sure seemed hard enough back then! I had little to no insight of how one could actually “break” into the industry. I believe that part of the problem comes from this specific word: break. As young dancers, it is hammered in our psyche that dance industry is something you will need to “break” into, a feat seldom achieved considering the small number of dancers who actually get to enjoy a career. What most forget to teach is that the dance industry is composed of individual human beings. While it is important to be good – at the very least good enough – it is just as important to make sure people enjoy your company and will want to repeat the experience.
Looking back at it though, I can see that I also got quite lucky. While training my body and mind in an attempt to reach a level that was up to, or above professional standards represented indeed a lot of work, effort & discipline, I now see that I also benefited from a lucky conjunction. I was a boy dancer, in Montreal, in the early 90’s and early 2000’s. A rare thing back then. I also was tremendously lucky, in that I had a very supportive family. All things considered, I had it easier than most.
How did winning So you think you can Dance Canada change your life?
It changed everything, for better or worse *laughs*! Overnight, everything that I was doing seemed to be of public interest. It took a lot of adjustment, given that I had never desired to be in the public eye. I am incredibly thankful though! To this day, everything that I do is directly related to this win; It empowered me. It also forced me to grow and adapt quickly, in order to make the most of this opportunity.
What have you learned about yourself along that way?
Everything, it seems! For one thing, that we should never cheat or take shortcuts would they be mental, physical or else. Especially in our formative years. I’m still struggling with some aspects of my dance or education that could’ve been dealt with years ago. That it is of the utmost importance to put in the work early on. It is the only way to be prepared and truly benefit from all the opportunities that will present themselves to us along the way. That it is ok to say No. This last one is a bit of a classic, but true nonetheless – learning never ends. Not only in order to evolve but also and simply, to keep what you’ve already got. It’s the Red Queen’s hypothesis: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place” (Lewis Caroll, Though The Looking-Glass)