Technique en pointe: Barrett’s decade-long dance journey

Courtesy of Barrett.

Courtesy of Barrett.

Sydney Fung, Staff Writer

At eleven years old, Luke Barrett’s ballet teacher teaches him a skill more challenging than anything he’s ever done before. It’s a 540 jump – three full rotations in the air, landing back on the same foot that kicked off the ground. It will be another three years before Barrett can fully master this trick, but through consistent practice, he’s able to jump high enough and rotate fast enough to execute it expertly. 

“I’ve been dancing since I was six. I started with my brother… for nine years I’ve been on a team called Dance Attack,” Barrett, a sophomore, said. “ I’ve been dancing around my whole life. I couldn’t keep my body still… she thought it was a good idea to sign me up, and I just fell in love with it.” 

Courtesy of Barrett.

Barrett enjoys exploring a variety of dance styles, but has a particular affinity for hip hop and contemporary dance.

“Hip hop is really fun, a good way to express yourself, and hard hitting,” he said. “I like dancing to rap music. Contemporary is also very interpretive and a good way to express myself with my emotions and movement.” 

He continues to sample other genres of dance like ballroom and Latin styles, which he has been experimenting with over the past three years. 

“It’s fun to get to know different countries and how they interpret dance and their styles,” Barrett said. 

The most intensive and challenging style of dance for him is ballet, he explained, even though it may seem like the easiest. 

“It’s so much work, time, and attention to detail, because you have to know how to work your body. It’s all about placement, as opposed to contemporary [dance], where you can kind of do your own thing,” Barrett said. “You have to match a certain position and technique is really important – that’s something I admire about ballet, but it’s also really challenging.” 

In his first year in the MVHS Dance Spectrum program, Barrett said he has found community in the fourth period Advanced Dance class. 

“It’s everyone sharing something they love, because it’s our passion, sharing our experiences and our different levels of talent,” Barret said. “When we all come together, it’s a great production of everyone’s interpretations.” 

Barrett dreams of taking his dance career to a university, preferably in Los Angeles where opportunities to get involved in the dance industry are concentrated, and then eventually into the field of commercial dance. 

“I can go multiple ways with my dance career, but I definitely want to dance in the future,” he said. “I do want to go to college for dance, hopefully somewhere like USC because they have a great dance program called USC Kaufman.” 

Over the course of the pandemic and as a result of being able to dance only through Zoom, Barrett has reevaluated what this devotion means to him. 

“I felt like I sometimes took dance for granted… but during the pandemic I realized that it’s something that I really needed,” Barrett said. 

Barrett’s dance content can be found on Instagram or Tik Tok @lukenbarrett.