gravitypope Community Series
Juan Duarte's love of movement brought him from Brazil to Vancouver in 2015, where he has thrived as a professional dancer with Ballet BC, developed a modeling career, taught multiple disciplines of dance, and explored the nature out his backdoor. We caught up with him recently to hear about the evolution of his unmistakable dance style, how he likes to spend a sunny day off and what pair of On’s he’s currently wearing.
Hi Juan, could you give us a quick introduction, where are you from and what are some of your passions?
My name is Juan Duarte, I am a Brazilian professional dancer who moved to Vancouver in 2015, besides being a professional dancer I teach dance and work as a model, which is something that I love to do. When it comes to my passions, anything that is related to the outdoors really gets me going, I love snowboarding, cycling, playing beach volleyball and enjoying the sunshine with friends and drinks.
How did you get started with dance? What were some of your first inspirations for movement and what is inspiring you currently?
I started dancing quite young, after an elementary school's principal mentioned to my mom that I had the talent to be a dancer. I was 10 at the time and then I started taking Jazz classes at the elementary school I went to back in Feira de Santana, where I was born and raised. The first memories that I have as a child is dance related, I remember dancing around the house... Though there is not really anyone in my family that has a dance background, so I don't really know who influenced me to love dance so much. Some of my first inspirations were definitely some of my instructors as well as some of the older dancers I got to share the studio with or watch around the small city I am from, currently what really inspires my movement is what I have to bring to a dance environment, some days it is related to my strong and bubbly personality... Other days I find inspiration around the super talented people I get to dance with and the clients I get to teach.
How would you describe your personal dance style and what are your favourite disciplines or classes of dance?
My personal dance style really represents who I am, my personality, how strong and unique I can be. I would say for the past three years I have been developing and finding the kind of movement that showcases Juan. I like to play with the idea that men can be sensitive, but still rigid and strong. My favourite styles of dance are Contemporary Ballet, which is what I went to school for, and what I have been doing for quite a long time, as well as heels. Yes! I dance in high heels, and honestly this style lately has been really busting my confidence and the sensual part of myself which I don't get to explore as much as in other dance styles, such as Ballet and Contemporary.
Can you tell us about how dance and modeling intersect for you? How do they inform each other?
Well, that should be easy. One of the skills that I believe a lot of dancers have to develop as they decide to head towards becoming a professional performer is to get to know your body really well. Dancers need to be fast learners, confident on stage to deal with unexpected situations... And there are other layers behind being a dancer, and those layers just give me confidence to go behind the cameras and do a really strong job. Dance has also taught me to be a good listener, so I believe that is super helpful, since when you are modelling you are not necessarily representing who you are, but the brand, the product that is about to be sold on the market. So what I am trying to say is that when I am modelling I am basically performing, I am trying to deliver all the confidence in movement that dance has given to me.
"My personal dance style really represents who I am, my personality, how strong and unique I can be"
When you aren’t teaching or practicing dance, what are some other ways you like to spend your time? Any hobbies or creative outlets?
I really enjoy doing different things, trying new stuff. I am an adventurous person, and I love being spontaneous. Lately I have been extremely busy with my work life, so I spend most of my free time with my dog, Norman, seeing some close friends (Covid safe), or going to the slopes during the winter season. I really enjoy taking time with myself in nature, it makes me feel recharged. Some of my hobbies and creative outlets are outdoors activities, listening to music (music, as a dancer has such a big role in my life), watching Rupaul Drag Race, and putting killer outfits together haha.
What On shoes are you currently wearing and what drew you to this specific style?
I am currently wearing the Cloud Nova in black and white. What really drew me to this style is the design of the shoe, the attention to small details such as the strap on the back, the laces. And honestly how good, comfortable and easy to wear they look. Having a "life on the go" I need shoes that I can just slip on and move on, and the Cloud Nova has definitely given me that.
What are you most looking forward to this summer? Do you have any exciting plans or upcoming projects?
I am really looking forward to warm days! Biking to the beach, laying on the sand, playing beach volleyball, beautiful sunsets, late night dips with friends, road trips to beautiful lakes in BC. I am such a summer boy and I can't wait to be wearing swim suits all day long. As of now I do have some exciting plans coming up, but unfortunately I can't share that yet, but something that I wanted to share is that I have decided to just let things happen and go from there, I am taking it easy, day after day.
Do you have any shout outs or anything you would like to promote?
I would like to promote my instagram, @duartejuan I share some cool stuff there, such as my projects, dance videos, modelling jobs I have done as well as dance studios I teach, if anyone is interested in taking a dance class :)