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You are here: Home / Admissions / Undergraduate / Stories / Joel Walsham

Joel Walsham

To come to Dominican from New Zealand for Joel Walsham has been an exercise in promotion and persistence.

The lifelong dream of the BFA in Dance freshman has been chronicled on New Zealand television and in newspapers and his motto of “Think Big, Dance Bigger” have fueled his own website and other social media outlets including Facebook, where he launched a crowd-funding project that raised nearly $8,000 toward his Dominican education.

And now he is finally here.

 “It’s like being in a movie,” Walsham says.

Walsham knew he wanted to be a dancer from the age of three when he first started training. His aspirations grew at the age of 11 when he saw the 2000 dance film “Billy Elliot.” It helped fuel his goal and take it one step further.

“It’s really hard to make a living out of dancing in New Zealand so lots of people set their sights on going to Australia,” he says. “But I thought if I was going to go through the process of moving overseas and being away from home I might as well go really far and go to America and do it right.”

Following two years of meticulous research and after being accepted to three dance programs in the United States (including the Tisch School of Arts at NYU), he picked Dominican.  Walsham was swayed by recommendations he received from people in the dance industry about Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet/BFA in Dance program. He was amazed at how quick his Dominican admission counselors responded and how smooth the process went.

This is a dance environment that is so healthy mentally. It’s a really enriching program that is about building a whole artist that’s not just a little replica.

The goal now is to make an impact at Dominican that can have far-reaching implications.

“I want to be able to take the things I learn here and improve the dance industry in New Zealand because it’s not feasible that everyone who wants to dance there can go and live in America,” he says. “But I also want to use this journey to America to dance in the industry here and in Europe.”

Walsham got off on the right foot. In one of his first bus trips into San Francisco to the LINES Ballet studios, he saw its founder, Alonzo King, and also Irina Hamilton of the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles.

 “I’m not a particularly mystical person, but there was really this weird thing,” Walsham says, “like even when you are so far away from home, it just feels so right.”


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