I WANT YOUR JOB: JEFFREY TRINIDAD, DANCER
By Kate Iselin @kateiselin
We chatted to Jeffrey Trinidad, a touring ensemble dancer with The Lion King; about refusing to get lazy, keeping a good attitude, and what it's like to play the role of grass.
Hello Jeffrey! Tell me about your job.
I am an ensemble dancer in the Lion King, which is currently playing at QPAC in Brisbane. As an ensemble dancer I play various roles in the show, from a gazelle (my favourite animal that I play) to grass!
How did you get started in the dance industry?
I was first introduced to the industry by my dancer teacher, Kerrie Power. She let me have my very first taste of a professional dance gig at the age of sixteen, and it was once I performed in front of an audience that I knew it was for me. Once I graduated from high school I went straight into a full-time dance course at Isolation Performing Arts School, where I trained in jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary dance, musical theatre, acrobatics, singing, and acting.
Once I graduated from my course I started to audition for various shows, theme parks, and cruise ships. At the age of nineteen I landed my first big contract with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. I was with RCCL for five years, then decided it was time for something new. I auditioned for the Lion King, and here I am today!
When you first got in to the industry, did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do?
In the early stages of my career, I had no idea which direction I wanted to take, which is why I tried so many different things! In this industry there are so many roads you can do down and in fact, even to this day, I don't know what path to take! I like to have my options open, though, so if something really isn't for me I can move on to something else.
I've tried out different things so that later on down the track, if I feel like musical theatre is not for me, I can go down a more commercial/contemporary road, or even try teaching. But for now I'm really happy in the musical theatre scene.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I absolutely see myself still in the dance industry, whether it's in another show or teaching, where I can pass on my knowledge to the up-and-coming talent! On a personal level though – married to my partner!
How do you make yourself stand out in your industry?
Making yourself stand out in this industry is so hard. Just having a good reputation is a start. I try to be humble and help out fellow dancers where I can, and also just being nice to people in general helps. There's nothing worse than not getting hired because of a bad attitude.
What's the best thing about your job?
The best thing is seeing the smiling faces in the audience. When I see people watching and smiling, I know I'm doing my job right. Of course, there's also the costumes – and the amount of travelling I get to do!
What's the worst thing about your job?
The worst thing about this job would have to be the long hours that go in to putting on a show like The Lion King, but in the end of course it's rewarding.
What advice would you give to people wanting to take the same career path as you?
The advice I would give to aspiring dancers would be to never ever give up. Don't let one rejection get you down – just brush it off and try again. Also, never get lazy. Always push yourself harder because there's always someone out there who's better than you.
What advice would you give to yourself, five years ago?
Honestly, it would be the same advice I'd give to anyone else. Don't get lazy, don't let anything get you down, and don't give up.