Published: July 28, 2011
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Meet SBF Member Bradford Rahmlow, the Assistant Dance Captain and the Flight Captain onboard the NCL Jade.
Bradford began dancing as a B-boy studying the moves of Rock Steady Crew, Michael Jackson and Usher from late night music videos he recorded from MTV. He has performed internationally and in the United States for such choreographers as Rennie Harris, Adrienne Clancy, Patricia Wilcox, Alex Ossadnik, Esther Balfe and Laurie Anne Gibson. He currently splits his time between Urban Ballet Theater - a contemporary ballet company based in New York City's Lower East Side - and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Read his interview and find out about how his career has evolved to be part of the productions onboard the NCL Jade...
Bradford Rahmlow

  • New York City, Brooklyn Bridge
Bradford in a photo shoot by Ashley Marinaccio
2010 How old were you when you started dancing and what made you take it up?
    Bradford Rahmlow: I first started dancing when I was about 15 or 16, taping music videos which I had recorded off MTV, late at night, when I visited my grandmother, because my parents wouldn't let me have cable television, so I had no access to dance at home. I lived in a small town out in the country in Oregon. One style of dance that I got really hyped on was hip hop - the early stages of it - Usher, Michael Jackson, etc.
    Quote ...this has been a great learning experience for me, to step out of my dancing shoes and start looking at the stage as a whole, looking at the pieces and paying more attention to the production value as a whole...
    So I basically learned how to dance hip hop from videos and then I learnt more about who was training these dancers and I found out it was groups like the Rock Steady Crew, guys like Mr Wiggles and Buddha Stretch. The more I read about hip hop and the culture behind it, I realised that I was only scratching the surface of what dance was. At that point I was a senior in high school and I didn't really know where to go. I did a play in high school and took my first dance class when I was 18. Then I went to college at the University of New Mexico to study dance and I was there for 4˝ years and got a degree in dance and a degree in American history. I used my time there, as the experience one would get growing up as a dancer in a theatre.

  • How did you first break into professional dancing?
    BR: I didn't have a theatrical influence when I was growing up. I was very much into soccer and other sports. So hip hop is what first attracted me and it kind of fed into my studies in college. I started teaching hip hop in studios around New Mexico and I really started focusing on ballet technique and I started to realize that even though I loved hip hop, the jobs out there are very specific and I wanted to do more than that. New York, Abrons Arts Center
Urban Ballet Theater's Nutcracker in the Lower
Bradford, Ana Hernandez, Edward Spots, Chelsea Rittenhouse, Andres Gonzalez, Jennifer Davis
2010 So at university I studied ballet, flamenco, modern, tap, salsa and all the social dances. In 2005, which was my senior year, I met Daniel Catanach, the director of the Urban Ballet Theater, when he bought the company on tour to New Mexico. UBT had everything that I imaged the company I would dance for would have. It had a raw, gritty character to it. The female dancers were gorgeous & powerful, with long lines and the men were so masculine, with power and seduction. At the end of the performance, I went up to Daniel and told him how much I loved his company and that I wanted to work for him. He gave me his contact details and said to stay in touch. So I went to New York on break, I followed him to a class with the company and returned again on another break. Two months later when I graduated, I moved out to New York and I've been dancing with them since February 2007.

  • Where else have you worked?
    BR: I spend half my year performing with Norwegian Cruise Line and the other half performing with the New York contemporary ballet company - Urban Ballet Theatre. It's a small company with five men and six women and we work on a rotating schedule. When there's money, we perform. The scheduling of the two jobs has worked out really well and I can go to New York and do my 'artistic work' - I use that term very loosely - and then come here and work on the ship in these fabulous shows, travel and earn money. It's been great and I hope that I can continue with it. I've also done some industrials for companies such as Capezio, I've done some music videos and some choreography.

  • Albuquerque
Bradford in 'Rainbow 'round My Shoulder'
Photo by Pat Barret How long have you been working for NCL?
    BR: In January 2010 I auditioned for Patti Wilcox, when she was looking for the first replacement cast for Elements to work on the NCL Spirit. I had thought about working on a cruise ship in the past and I'd done some auditions and got the jobs, but up until that point, I hadn't taken them. But there was something about Patti and the way she ran the audition that really inspired me. These days, you don't usually see choreographers running their own auditions. They have their own assistants come in and teach dancers and then they come in later and make the final decision, but Patti was there. That made me think, that this one was different. So I did the NCL Spirit until November 2010, went back to New York and did the UBT winter season and then went to Tampa and stared rehearsals for the NCL Jade in February 2011.

  • What is your role there?
    BR: I'm the Assistant Dance Captain and the Flight Captain. With regard to Elements all the aerial work that is done - the Spanish web and the bungee segments, is my responsibility, as far as safety and tricks go. Part of the reason that I was assigned to that role was because I had aerial experience and I've done acrobatic work. I'm kind of the Dance Captain for Shout!, because Laura Golcman, the Dance Captain, is in the show, so I'm the one who is always watching and projecting information. I've never been in that role before, so this has been a great learning experience for me, to step out of my dancing shoes and start looking at the stage as a whole, looking at the pieces and paying more attention to the production value as a whole.

  • Where did you learn the aerial work for the shows?
    BR: We flew to Toronto and rehearsed at the School of Circus Arts. We had a fabulous coach, Decca, who taught us so much, in such a short time. Hopefully in the future, when the new rehearsal studios are ready in Miami, we won't have to break up the rehearsal process and he can come to us in Miami.

  • NCL Jade
Bradford in a 'Tribute to ABBA'
2011 How much rehearsal time do you put in each week?
    BR: It varies on the length of the cruise, if you have injured dancers or if there is a new member of the cast joining mid contact. On average we work 25 - 35 hours a week, but that includes performance time and rehearsal time.
    Quote ...I would like to think that I've inspired my mother a little bit, in a small way to enrich her life through dancing. To me, dance is the fountain of youth. There is so much vitality that can be gained from moving...
    Basically for every show that we do per cruise, we have two note sessions and a tech rehearsal on the day of the show. The tech run is about an 80% run, which is a full run of the show, with lights, sound, but no costumes, to make sure that the choreography in still in our bodies. Before the tech run we have a note session to talk about that show on the previous cruise and any problems we might have had and fix them and then we have another note session at the end of the tech run. So the tech run is sandwiched between two academic sections. That's really good, because it gets the brain engaged before the performance, so that once you are in performance it's like taking a back sit and you can enjoy the experience of performing. That process, with this cast came about through trial and error, but it really works for us.

  • What's your favorite show on board the NCL Jade?
    BR: Cinema Italiano has been incredibly enjoyable process. Like I said before, the creative process is my favorite part of being an artist. Learning, getting somebody's artistic vision handed to me and being shaped around me - that's just fantastic. Then I do love performing in Elements.

  • Do you have to sing in the show?
    BR: Yes, I do. I love playing my character in Showdown, as I get to sing. It's all Motown and 70s and hip hop dance is very connected to the funk movement, so there's a real sense of familiarity with that music and style, that I really appreciate. It's rekindled my interest in singing as a performer. I also join the production singers one night in a Broadway set in one of the lounges.

  • NCL Jade
Bradford in the opening number to Duo Volgyi Act
2011 What has been your most challenging show?
    BR: My first show as a performer was in High school. We did Fiddler on the Roof and I was cast as a bottle dancer. We restaged the original Jerome Robbins choreography with the champagne bottles, without tricks. At 17 years old, I had no idea of the magnitude of what I was doing. I knew who Jerome Robbins was, but there I was, learning those steps which had been on Broadway and had won him a Tony. I remember sitting there and taking down notes from the Director with my hat and bottles on, to get used to having those bottles on our heads.
    My most challenging show on the cruise, even though I'm not in Shout!, I would have to say that show, as I'm now looking at formations, writing notes and giving notes. I'm not saying that dancing is easy, but it comes very naturally to me. Instead, being a part of the creative process from the outside, has been a challenge.

  • What's been your funniest moment on stage?
    BR: I think my funniest moments have been in rehearsals, not necessarily on stage. You live and you work with these people for six months at a time, in such close quarters and you really become like a family. You hear stories of this all the time, artists that work together, travel together - they develop a really close bond. The jokes that come out of that kind of relationship are where the humor and jest lies. Tech rehearsals are the place for a tickle here or a funny face there. However, when it comes to the product, you have to remember that you are presenting the show and you are professional. That being said, keeping a dance show fresh is a little bit more difficult than when you are acting. With acting you have different lines, you can add different flections and you can play jokes differently. Watching Shout!, you can see that happen and it's really exciting to see the audience making the different choices and their reaction. With dance, especially as it's such a physical art form, you have to be safe. If I joked and made a funny face when someone was turning and they saw it and laughed, they could trip and hurt themselves.

  • NCL Jade
Bradford in Showdown
2011 Do you find the audience is different from working on a cruise ship to working on land?
    BR: I find that they behave differently. There is something about paying for a ticket, getting a paper ticket, being excited about going, planning your time around it, walking into a theatre and looking for your seat, that lends to a more 'professional' audience. Quite often on a ship, people will turn up 20 minutes late and stumble over people to get to a seat - any seat. Though, there certainly isn't a lack of appreciation. There are so many people that come up to us afterwards and say we were amazing and want to know everything about the show. Also performing in a 1200-seat theatre, twice a night is completely different from when I'm performing for the Urban Ballet Theatre and we perform at one of the oldest theaters in New York City, which seats 460 people. So the intimacy of that space is in a total just position to the lights here, the budget here. When I'm lit here on the ship, I have four lights on a digital track, programmed to hit me at a certain spot and then I go home to New York….

  • Do you have a special memory in your career that you would like to share with us?
    BR: Seeing my parents face after my first shows. My mother was always interested in dance, she took lessons in her 20s and she wanted to put me in ballet when I was a kid, but I said I wasn't interested and my father said: "absolutely not!". So, as I mentioned before, I found dancing on my own, many years later. My mother came to New Mexico and saw me perform in The Nutcracker, where I had the principal role of The Nutcracker. When she saw the show she looked at me in a completely different way to how she had looked at me before. NCL Jade
Bradford with Cast
2011I'm a mum's boy at heart and the fact that her affirmation of what I was doing was just spilling out of her, was probably my most special moment.
    Quote ...getting somebody's artistic vision handed to me and being shaped around me - that's just fantastic...
    My mum never had the chance to dance professionally, so seeing her son do that, after finding the love on his own and not being pushed into it, it was almost like she was living her life through my life. Since then, she has picked up hula dancing and she dances with a dance group in Oregon. I would like to think that I've inspired my mother a little bit, in a small way to enrich her life through dancing. To me, dance is the fountain of youth. There is so much vitality that can be gained from moving. To have an art form that glorified that and now to have a culture that is really starting to embrace it, makes it a really exciting time to do what we are doing.

  • Do you think that dance has become much more important to the general public?
    BR: It's interesting to see how much exposure Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake got after the Billy Elliott film and how in the last few years we've started to see more serious dance films become attractive not only to dancers in the world, but to the whole world in general. Black Swan was nominated for Best Picture this year. Dance reality shows have really exploded and I think that dance has become much more important to the general population.

    Thank you Bradford for this great interview and best of luck with your career!

    Meet the other boy dancers...

    Cameron Bull
Dancer/Company Manager onboard NCL Jade
    Cameron Bull
    Dancer/Company Manager onboard NCL Jade

    Cameron joined the NCL Jade all the way from Melbourne, Australia. Cameron has performed extensively in stage shows, video clips & fashion parades throughout Australia and Asia over the past 7 years. He has also danced for the Royal Palace Cabaret, France and was lucky enough to perform on the beautiful NCL Spirit last year.
    Cameron wishes to thank his amazing family, friends and partner for their love and support.

    Pali Udvarhelyi
Dancer onboard NCL Jade

    Pali Udvarhelyi
    Dancer onboard NCL Jade

    Pali is a graduate of the Hungarian Dance Academy and has been performing with major Ballet and Opera companies around the world and toured in Europe, Japan, Mexico and the United States, before joining Norwegian Cruise Line.

    Jason Campbell
Dancer onboard NCL Jade
    Jason Campbell
    Dancer onboard NCL Jade

    Originally from Philadelphia & now resides in New York City. Jason studied at the Settlement Music School for voice and then came into dance when he was 19. Past shows include, Beauty and the Beast, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, The Wedding Singer, Footloose, 42nd Street, Le Cage Aux Folles, etc. This is Jason's 7th contract on a cruise ship.

    Krzysztof Swaczy
Dancer onboard NCL Jade

    Krzysztof Swaczy
    Dancer onboard NCL Jade

    Krzysztof has been a featured professional performer at the National Ballet Theatre, and ROMA Musical Theatre in Warsaw, Poland; the Las Vegas spectacular Le Reve , and part of the cast of America's Got Talent.