Interview: Harlan Rust, Dancer with James Wilton Dance

Meet Harlan Rust, a dancer with James Wilton Dance

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James Wilton Dance’s LEVIATHAN, based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, heads out on the road this Autumn. Ahead of the show’s tour coming to Gulbenkian, Canterbury, check out our interview with one of the dancers, Harlan Rust.


How did you get into dance? What training did you do?

I started youth dance in wales with Powys Dance. Before going on to do RAD syllabus. I always enjoyed drama and performance.


How long have you been with James Wilton Dance?

Two years before starting LEVIATHAN.


Tell us about your experience of LEVIATHAN?

It is an exhilarating piece to perform because of the nature of its duality -ego and eco- which is reflected in the two halves of the show. Trying to understand the complex nature of the iconic story of Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ is both as daunting as it is rewarding, and spending the time in rehearsals to refine that complexity into physicality was a real challenge that I have immensely enjoyed.


How do you prepare for shows?

After finishing the final preparations, costume etc. for the performance I will listen to my pre show playlist on my headphones to get me focused and pumped for the show. I start with having a gentle mobilize and then work up more intense movement to really ready my body and mind for what’s about to happen. Being diabetic, I also test my blood sugar levels half an hour before go time to make sure they are okay.


What has been your favourite moment in dance?

I have been blessed with so many great moments, but one that sticks in my mind, being a Welshman, was getting to perform in the Wales Millennium Stadium in Cardiff for the opening ceremony of the Rugby League World Cup.


What do you do when you aren’t dancing?

When I’m not dancing I try to spend as much time with friends and family as possible, as being on the road all the time is hard. My true love is teaching, however, and when I’m not performing I am generally off teaching dance or gymnastics somewhere.


You can catch LEVIATHAN at Gulbenkian, Fri 21 Oct, 7.30pm. Tickets are available here.

Got more questions about the show and it’s development? We’re holding a post-show conversation after the performance! Email us your questions in advance, to