Nathan Ryan’s love of music moved from his voice to his feet as he took up ballroom dancing when he retired from the Choir. Nathan has been dancing eleven years, nine of which have been at a competitive level. “I took up dancing two years after I left choir to fill the void.”

Nathan’s dancing partner, and girlfriend, has been dancing with him for the last two years. Elise Drummond has committed to dance at length for six years and calisthenics and ballet for 15 years. They dance New Vogue (Australia only), Latin (Samba, Rumba, Jive, Pasodoble, Cha Cha) and Standard (Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep). Recently the pair excelled when they won the Adult (over 21) B grade new Vogue style at the National Championships at Hisense Arena after competing against 20 couples across Australia and New Zealand. “We train 12 hours a week and have three hours of lessons all outside of work hours and weekends. It’s a tiring and gruelling schedule especially since we both have full-time work. The competition was fierce, particularly between us and one other couple.”

It seems that the couple came together through a stroke of serendipity. “Elise and I actually went to high school together but we didn’t know it back then. We met a few times throughout the years (passing at studios or dance shops) but we only connected that we went to the same school back in 2015. After I split with my previous partner at the end of 2015 I quit dancing. My coach called me three months later and asked if I’d be willing to give it another go. I said yes but only for the right girl. Three days later I had a tryout with Elise and everything fell into place. We danced for 12 months together before anything ‘more’ happened between us, but as they say the rest is history and neither of us could be happier with the outcome.”

Nathan and Elise have competed internationally twice at the WDC Penang international in Malaysia, and Nathan is no stranger to the demands and discipline that such a commitment can entail. “Dancing can take over your life like no other [activity] I’ve ever been involved in or seen. You live and breathe it. It captures your imagination, creativeness, intellect, and that drive to succeed and get it right. Finding the balance between full-time work [as a stair builder specialising in hand-carving], dancing and having a life is very hard, but possible. What I took away from the choir was self-discipline; knowing when and where to have fun but also when and where to be quiet and listen. I learnt to be patient and responsible which I believe have put me in good standing for my life, particularly in my school years and early adult life. But the tenacity to work on something until it is absolutely perfect is probably what has influenced me in all parts of my life the most. I use this at work and dancing every day.” So, what advice does Nathan have for current NBCA choristers? “Listen to Peter, Philip and Robyn. They’re working hard to provide you with many a wonderful opportunity in life and you’re very lucky to have them. Be disciplined, work hard, inspire other boys to be like you and always try to be the best version of yourself.”


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The National Boys Choir of Australia acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which we rehearse and work. We pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging.


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