On Friday, BTSCelebs was given the golden opportunity to interview Joffrey Ballet dancers Jameson Keating and Derek Drilon in the Joffrey Tower in Chicago
They were two handsome gentlemen with a refreshing zest for life. During the interview, Derek radiated by being patient and humble, while Jameson shined with his openness and enthusiasm about his craft. The two dancers’ personalities were as different as night and day, but their differences made them special.
Following the guys’ amazing “Winning Works 2016” performance, BTSCelebs learned a little more about the talented dancers and their journey to Joffrey.
BTSCelebs: Who is Derek Drilon and Jameson Keating?
Jameson: I’m an aspiring professional ballet dancer currently with the Studio Company of the Joffrey Ballet.
Derek: I’m currently with the Joffrey Studio Company. This is my first year. I come from Washington State.
What piqued your interest in dance?
Jameson: Growing up, I started off as a martial artist (Taekwondo when I was four years-old). But, my body was very uneven, my right side was alot stronger than my left.When I was about 10 years-old, my instructor said I should look into ballet classes to get my balance better and even out my muscles. From there, I started taking classes and fell in love with it. It sort of transferred form martial arts to ballet. Now, my whole career is just ballet.
Derek: My mom as a ballet school back in Washington State. I just grew up there and went everyday. When I was about ten, I started taking classes and fell in love with it. I kept on going. Now, I’m here.
Tell us about your journey to the Joffrey Ballet.
Jameson: I was with Ballet West last year, and I got very late notice that I wasn’t going to be welcomed back there for a another year. Usually they let you know in February. But, I had my meeting in April because the director wasn’t sure. I was frantically auditioning for companies. I almost ended up going to Nevada Ballet Theatre in Las Vegas. One of my hometown friends in Santa Barbara (who teaches at State Street Ballet” said, “you should send a video to Joffrey, I can get a word in for you.” So, I did. Alexei had me come in for the summer and he said, “you can be in the studio company”. That’s how I got here.
Derek: I’m from a very small studio. That’s where I was up until last year. This is the only place I auditioned for. But, I’m really glad it turned out the way it did because Anna and Alexei have been great towards me. They have let me guest during Nutcracker season so we can go to different studios. They also let me compete and represent Joffrey. That turned out to be great.
“The Sound of Music”, “Peter Pan”, “The Wiz” and “Grease” have all been resurrected in live TV broadcasts. If you had the opportunity to dance in a classic play, which one would it be and why?
Jameson: I love “Newsies”. That’s like one of my favorites. It’s a great one. It is a Broadway show, but it was also a Disney movie with Christian Bale when he was really young. It’s just so much like boys dancing. Whenever I saw that when I was younger, I was like “yeah, those guys look super cool!” It’s set in the 1920s. I like that time period as far as like costumes go, and I think the story line is cool and the dancing. …it helped push my interest more towards ballet. So, “Newsies” for me.
Derek: I’m probably gonna say “Peter Pan” because he can fly. The one I understand the most.
Which current recording artist would you love to tour with?
Derek: I’m gonna say Coldplay.
Jameson: There is this guy from Ventura, California. His name is Super Duper Kyle, and he is like a hip hop rapper kind of guy. Super in love with his music right now. I really want to choreograph for him. It would be really cool if I could go on tour with him and choreograph routines to do during his shows. That would be awesome for me. Shout Out to my boy Super Duper Kyle for sure!
You both did a very good job at Winning Works 2016. How did it feel to be apart of the special event this year?
Jameson: Thank you. Pretty cool experience getting to work with people like Jeffery Cirio, getting to meet a bunch of new choreographers you haven’t seen work from before. It’s amazing to work with people like Wayne McGregor or Christopher Wheeldon really famous names. I like working with new people because you get fresh, new ideas. You get to be apart of the process of making the piece. You have something set specifically on you.
Derek: I really enjoyed being part of it. All of the really unique and different works that came out of this year’s Winning Works. It was nice being apart of something new.
What are your plans for the 2016-2017 season?
Jameson: Right now, It’s audition season for me. I have 5 or 6 auditions coming up. I hope to stay at Joffrey, because it’s fantastic here. I’ve got quite a few lined up so we’ll see where that goes.
Derek: I’m still auditioning, but I really do enjoy it here at Joffrey.
*BTSCelebs sends a special thanks to Jameson Keating, Derek Drilon, Caitlin at The Silverman Group and The Joffrey Ballet for the exclusive interview. *