In 2011, a 16-year-old Arcadian Broad was the youngest dancer to be hired by the Orlando Ballet. By 2016, under the guidance of Artistic Director Robert Hill, Broad had already expanded his talents into choreography, even going as far as to debut his own performance of “Arcadian Broad’s Beauty and the Beast” this month.
“This entire production has a bit of myself in it. I took inspiration from the Brothers Grimm, the French folktale, even a Japanese haiku version,” Broad said. “To me, it always came back to looking beyond the surface to find that inner beauty and to treat others like you want to treated.”
When asked about some personal details we can look for in the performance, Broad promised that Belle, the Beast, and Gaston are still at the forefront of the production as are new additions such as the comedic duo Bartholomew and Milo and Belle’s sister, Peatunia.
“This show has humor, grief, happiness, anger but most importantly, heart,” Broad said. “That’s what drives this show, the human aspect that every viewer can connect with, whether you’re 5 or 50, beauty or beast. That’s the true magic!”
Recently, the composer/choreographer/dancer was the first person to be named as the company’s Artist in Residence, responsible for creating new content, breaking boundaries for ballet, and acting as an ambassador to the City of Orlando.
For Hill, who has been a mentor to Broad since his first days at the Orlando Ballet, the position was an obvious fit.
“Arcadian stands out because he has a consistent technique and reliable execution of choreography as a dancer,” Hill said. “He is very musical, and his work ethic sets him apart. His ability to compose orchestral music is a huge talent for someone so young. His choreography is very mature in terms of understanding how to structure the flow of movement with both narrative and non-narrative ballets.”
Those skills have already worked their way into Broad’s next production, “Arcadian Broad’s Wonderland: Mad Tales of the Hatter,” a take on the popular tale from the eyes of the Mad Hatter.
“By making the Mad Hatter the protagonist, I saw a massive potential for a riveting story and experience for the dancers and audience,” Broad said. “We delve into his origin, his connection with Alice, what sparked his madness, and the age-old question since Alice went down the rabbit hole: ‘What is Wonderland?’”
With so much creativity to share, Broad’s future is promising. From the preview of Wonderland in May to the full-length version next April and to choreographing a piece for “Bailamos!” in February 2019, Broad’s goal is to continue the connection between artist and audience.
“Every performance is a chance for a fun, memorable experience, so I capitalize on that every time we step on stage,” Broad said. “Because for at least one person in that audience it is their first ballet experience. Make it one they will never forget, and they will come back for more!”