Tag Archives: Australian Performers

Performer Jasynda Radanovic Achieves Success Across Mediums

Jasynda Radanovic
Actress Jasynda Radanovic

The world’s most successful artists, actors in particular, often source their creativity from a diverse set of experiences and lives that are not like any other. Jasynda Radanovic, with a rich cultural background that has placed her ancestral roots in Croatia, a childhood in Australia, work in the UK and now a successful career in the United States, is a clear example for how a unique biography endows an actor with an ability to excel and breathe life into a wide-range of high-profile roles and projects.

As she continues to build a successful screen career by stepping into a critical role in the American television series “Emergency: LA” starring “Warrior” actor and WWE superstar Kurt Angle, we look to Jasynda’s complex technique, expertise and successful career in live theatre as a driving force behind the powerful place she holds in the entertainment industry today.

The most obvious project which speaks to Jasynda’s excellence as an actor are her roles with one of the most well-known mass media companies in the world, Disney. Such is the breadth of Jasynda’s illustrious reputation within the entertainment industry, she was asked to perform in a critical role representing the Disney brand at Walt Disney World where she had to entertain the park’s thousands of visitors and ensure their visit was truly magical – a feat not just any actor could achieve but a task that Jasynda took to with gusto.

She tells us how her performance was not only creatively satisfying for her, but was also uniquely moving for audiences. “During the regular meet and greets there was a little girl in a wheelchair who had a disability…she could not react or move…she smile[d].” Jasynda recalled that when the girl smiled, “the family uttered that…it was the first time in the little girl’s life she had reacted to something.”

Jasynda’s outstanding body of work and critical roles in Disney productions extends to the iconic world of “Peter Pan.” In the Australian premiere of “Peter Pan: The Musical,” created by West End producers George Stiles and Anthony Drewe who are also well-known for their hugely successful production of “Mary Poppins,” Jasynda played the seminal character of Tinkerbell. A character somewhat difficult to prepare for, because of the physical challenges of the role including wire work and choreography, Jasynda gracefully stepped up to the plate and drew inspiration from the ‘Tinkerbell’ franchise and original “Peter Pan” films.

Jasynda Radanovic
Jasynda Radanovic as Tinkerbell in “Peter Pan”

Jasynda’s portrayal of Tinkerbell was crucial to the production’s success, as she not only brought the character to life in an interesting way, but Jasynda’s diverse and unique skill set in the areas of dance, choreography and puppetry were put on show and critical in ensuring the show impressed audiences. She mentions how renowned choreographer Mel Warwick and her “worked together every rehearsal to create new steps and [figure out] how to include props…Mel brought in a swing coach to teach us aerial movements, to create the illusion of flight.”

Jasynda’s achievements as an actor in the world of live entertainment have helped her build a reputation to the point where she was asked to perform the lead role in a production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “A Whistle Down the Wind.” As Swallow, Jasynda had to play a fifteen-year-old girl grieving the loss of her mother while managing a distant relationship with her father. On Christmas Eve, Swallow discovers a mysterious man hiding in her family’s barn, bleeding from his hands and feet, leading her to think the man is Jesus. Such an important role and production again called on Jasynda’s distinctive abilities as a triple-threat, using her voice, body and performance skills to entertain audiences in a sold-out UK-Wimbledon season directed by Roger Jones.

It’s rare nowadays to find triple threats and trained stage actors who use their experience treading the boards to lay the foundation for a successful career in film. Jasynda proves that the tradition of excellence – where an actor can refine and expand their skill sets, not just a social media following – is the real key to success.

 

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Dancer Nick Phillips Embraces The Thrill Of Performing Live With Legends

No matter how many times he crosses the boards on stage or hits his mark in front of a camera, nerves and adrenaline are expected and even welcomed in the life of a performer. Still, as dancer Nick Phillips knows first-hand, some extraordinary career experiences go beyond normal nerves and excitement, especially at the start. Performing on stage with Oscar-winning actress Hayley Mills has been one such highlight for Phillips.

“To be honest I was incredibly nervous the first time we rehearsed,” recalls Phillips, “but [Mills] was so lovely and supportive the nerves subsided very quickly and by performance time I felt very comfortable and relaxed.”

Legends, which toured Australia in 2015 is a comedy starring Mills and her sister Juliet Mills as two rival film stars. Phillips, an in-demand dancer from Melbourne, stepped into the role of Boom Boom Johnson, a high-energy part that called upon Phillips’ remarkable versatility. He had to dance, perform acrobatics, beatbox, rap, and deliver dialog with comedic timing that held its own opposite two veteran actresses.

Nick Phillips, Photo by Jackson Ross

“To work with [the Mills sisters] was truly a privilege. I learned a lot from them about performance stamina– they were able to hold the audience’s attention for two hours while on stage practically the whole time.”

To wow a seasoned actress like Hayley Mills, is surely a noteworthy accomplishment. However, that’s exactly what Phillips achieved when he took on this character with the cheerful enthusiasm of one who lives for the challenge of live performance.

“When he had to step in and fill the breach left by a fellow actor,” remembers Mills, “he did so with alacrity and total professionalism, was word perfect, and danced brilliantly– we were all thrilled by his performance and very impressed.”

High praise aside, touring a show can be grueling. According to Phillips, traveling between cities is frequently lonely and it is common to experience some homesickness. Not to mention, the challenge of keeping the show fresh.

“When you’re doing eight shows a week, it can be hard to give the same high energy performance every night, especially with a character like Boom Boom,” says Phillips. “It can also take quite the toll on your body. I had to make sure I was always warmed up properly.”

Fortunately, a well-trained professional is accustomed to hard work. Phillips, who has gone from a young breakdancer with a relatively late start in any formal dance training to a sought-after performer for stage, television and commercial events, has shown great mastery of both the physical and mental challenges of the work. This natural ability may have much to do with his attitude.

“[Phillips] is a great company member, being positive and enthusiastic,” says Mills, “qualities that enhance the experience for everyone.”

Australian Dancer, Actor Nick Phillips

Though playing a very specific role as opposed to performing in an ensemble was different for Phillips he looks forward to tackling more roles that stretch him as a dancer and performer. And, though he loves the accessibility and experience of film and television, he enjoys the unpredictable response and instant validation of live performances like the one he gave in Legends.

“My favorite part was most definitely the surprise element. From the moment Boom Boom first storms onstage to the firing of his confetti-filled gun before he busts into a strip dance, the audience reactions are absolutely priceless.”

Versed In Contemporary and Street Styles, Dancer Renee Ritchie is a Chameleon of Dance

Dancer Renee Ritchie
Dancer, Renee Ritchie; Photo by Chris Tsattalios

 

Professional dancers who have the ability to adjust and adapt quickly to changes in style are prized in the dance world.

Renee Ritchie, a former contestant on Season 3 of Australia’s So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), celebrity teacher, choreographer, and dance assistant, is one of those versatile dancers colleagues are happy to work with again and again.

“Renee has a very strong technical background, including contemporary. She makes beautiful shapes and lines with her body,” says Cat Rendic, a former NBA Miami Heat dancer who has toured with artists like Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Iggy Azalea, has worked with Richie on multiple projects. “As if that wasn’t enough, she [Ritchie] has also trained in various street styles, making her a chameleon of dance.”

Ritchie has spent many years developing her talent and abilities through hard work and commitment to growing in her art and skills in the dance industry. A dancer from the age of five, dancing gave a shy child like Ritchie confidence.

“I loved dance so much, it was all I ever wanted to do.” she says.

Ritchie’s journey from Top-12 SYTYCD contestant has been filled with successes that have taken her on tour throughout Australia and the United States. In addition to working as a dancer for major recording artists like Kylie Minogue and Kelly Clarkson, she was selected to be part of the Nigel Lythgoe and Brian Friedman-produced Go90 series, Every Single Step, making it to the top 6 in this talent search for young, fresh choreographers. Richie currently travels the convention circuit with Hollywood Vibe, working with all of its celebrity choreographers as a dance assistant, demonstrating their work for thousands of young dance hopefuls.

The work is demanding but also very creative. Ritchie must be able to quickly learn new choreography and execute it with a high level of performance immediately. Getting to know each choreographer, all of whom work very differently, and deciding when to offer creative input is a big part of the job.

“You’re always working and pushing to be better,” explains Ritchie. “To work at a high level with these choreographers and others around you is rewarding. It’s nice to be appreciated and know your hard work has paid off.”

 

Renee Ritchie, dancer
Renee Ritchie, professional dancer; Photo by Chris Tsattalios

 

In addition to her work with celebrity dancers like Alexa Anderson, Caitlin Kinney, Kent Boyd, and Allison Holker–all of SYTYCD fame– Ritchie collaborates frequently on creative projects with choreographer Kevin Maher, including his work on Jennifer Lopez’ Las Vegas show at The Axis at Planet Hollywood Resort.

Ritchie also co-choreographed the Paula Abdul award-winning music video, “Check Yourself” which raised awareness of breast cancer and was assistant choreographer to Lucas Newline on the show Absinthe in Las Vegas, choreographing one of its numbers in 2013. Ritchie is excited to soon tour with KAR Elite Dance Competition as one of their celebrity judges and choreographers.

Ritchie knows that when things get tough, she always has dance as a kind of cure for life’s difficulties. She is inspired most by mentors Kevin Maher, Jason Winters and Tony Tzar who she says stay true to who they are as creators and teachers and give selflessly of their time and advice.

Ritchie seems to follow their example well. Aside from the positive, contagious energy that she brings to the room, Rendic describes Ritchie as someone consistently willing to step in and offer help.

“Renee is always going the extra mile,” says Rendic.

This habit is why a dance chameleon like Ritchie will go the distance. She plans to continue to work behind the scenes on tours, hoping to someday work with artists like Beyoncé and Nick Jonas. She also wants to share her talent and knowledge with a younger generation of dancers as a faculty member of conventions traveling America. Well on her way toward these goals, Ritchie’s future in the dance industry looks bright and multi-colored.

The New Face of Entertainment: Adam Pedicini

Adam Pedicini
                                                           Adam Pedicini shot by Andrew Raszevski

Australian entertainer Adam Pedicini has displayed a rare talent — the ability to seamlessly take on the roles of television host, model, dancer, and actor in a multitude of genres from drama to horror to his personal favorite, comedy. Pedicini’s strikingly good looks also put him among the ranks of such Aussie heartthrobs as Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.

Pedicini has been an avid fan of the theatre his entire life, and when he began acting on stage as a teenager he immediately proved to be a natural. His first performance was in a play called Patrick’s Hat Trick, which was aimed at a young audience. His role as a struggling magician was so popular it earned the play tour dates across much of New South Wales and Victoria in south Australia.

His theatre experience is impressive, and his prolific dedication to the stage stems from his love of the art form. In addition to Patrick’s Hat Trick, he’s played the famous role of Puck in the Australian Shakespeare Company’s production of the classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a prestigious role in itself. In his roles in the double-billed productions of writer Mark Dunn’s Judy Garland Slept Here and Full Frontal Male Nudity, he showcased his comedic talent, while also shining a spotlight on issues facing the LGBT community.

“The first play dealt with the homophobic issues of a small country town in Southern America,” said Pedicini. “The second looked at the body image of gay men. Although both were rather funny plays, they also had a strong message about gay rights and issues.”

With his incredibly outgoing personality, and being an avid supporter of LGBT rights, Pedicini also had the privilege of hosting the televised Sydney Mardi Gras parade. The parade was organized in part by Academy Award nominated actress and comedienne Lily Tomlin, and earned more than $30 million for the state of New South Wales, making it the second-largest event in the state in terms of its economic impact.

An entertainer with no boundaries to his medium, Pedicini is incredibly proud of his work in film. His feature film projects include True Face and Cold Feet. In True Face, he actually plays two characters with vastly different personalities, and it isn’t until late in the film that the viewer discovers the characters are actually the same person. Cold Feet is a comedy-horror film about a bachelor party, where Pedicini’s character Barry is playing the “bad influence” on his betrothed friend Freddie.

The director of True Face, Lauren Batschowanow, spoke highly of Pedicini’s devotion to his craft, and of his chemistry with his co-stars.

“Adam’s charisma and confidence made it easy for his co-stars to be natural in the scene,” said Batschowanow, “and it certainly created electricity on screen, which is what every director dreams of!”

Passionate about traveling the world, Pedicini has done a great deal of jet-setting. At the beginning of his career as a dancer, he performed on cruise ships as a way to see the world; within a few years his immense talent earned him a place dancing onstage across Europe with Cascada, the gold- and platinum-certified German dance-pop trio.

“There’s a special bond that a performer has with a crowd, and I really feed off that,” said Pedicini. In addition to his tour with Cascada, Pedicini has also performed in the Britain’s Got Talent, UK X Factor, and Australia’s Got Talent.

With such a multi-faceted and rare set of talents, Adam Pedicini is certain to become the new face of entertainment.