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Ones to Watch: Jake Callender

Tuesday 16 August 2022 1:44pm

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Jake has been busy dancing with the Otago Dancers.

Following their performance dreams is Bachelor of Arts (Theatre and Dance) graduand Jake Callender who took a less direct path to his chosen field.

“Originally I didn’t, I jumped between different degrees and constantly felt unfulfilled. It wasn’t until my dad told me to follow my passions that I switched to a BA.”

The Dunedin-born, Christchurch-raised dancer says there are so many important takeaways from his time at Otago. He’s open about some of personal obstacles which have shaped him into the performer he is today.

“The dance community can be filled with a lot of self-doubt and criticism. I definitely struggled with a lot of self-sabotage about my abilities as well as body issues. Luckily through the University, I met a lot of amazing people and friends who helped me along the way.

“I had to overcome the fear of studying a degree that doesn’t have a lot of guaranteed employment. Luckily though there are a lot of opportunities to perform, you just have to know where to look.”

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Jake has taken every opportunity to dance.

Over his time at Otago, Jake has taken every opportunity available to him, including being on the executive team for Otago Dance Association in 2020 followed by Vice President in 2021.

“I have been performing for the Otago Dancers this year where I have gotten the chance to dance at all the home games of the Otago Nuggets and got to perform at the All-Blacks vs Ireland test match last month! Oh, and I got to be the KFC dancing chicken at the Rugby a couple times,” he laughs.

For now, Jake is counting down the days until he collects his degree and starts the next part of his journey as a performer. On the cards is more experience and eventually a Master of Learning and Teaching so he can continue to make a difference to other young performers.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Adviser Chelsea McRae