In the world of ballet, Arcadian Broad is a one-stop shop: He'll come up with a story, compose its music, choreograph the movement and dance it himself. But then Broad has always been a master of versatility. As a teenager he juggled school, dance and—after the departure of his father—financial responsibility. It was Broad's income from dancing that kept his family afloat. Fast-forward six years and things are far more stable. Broad now lives on his own in an apartment, but you can usually find him in the studio.
Broad joined Orlando Ballet at just 16. Photo by Michael Cairns, Courtesy Orlando Ballet.
Company: Orlando Ballet
Hometown: Titusville, Florida
Training: New Dimensions Dance Academy in Oviedo, Florida; Orlando Ballet School; a year at The Juilliard School
Accolades: Top 10 on "America's Got Talent"
The one that got away: At age 11, Broad was a finalist for the title role of Broadway's Billy Elliot. Although he was only cast as an understudy, the experience taught him resilience. "I was grateful to have the opportunity, rather than beating myself up over it," he says. "Artists can get stuck on their failures, but that only inhibits their future growth."
On to Orlando: Broad was the youngest company member ever hired by Orlando Ballet—just 16 when artistic director Robert Hill offered him a contract.
"He's naturally musical; that especially helps him work with a partner.
They feel the music together." —Robert Hill
A new role: This year, Broad became the company's first dancer named artist in residence, which means he'll create new works, coach students and represent the ballet at community events.
Dancing with character: Audiences are consistently wowed by Broad's athletic whirling and leaping. "He can do anything he's asked to do technically," Hill says. "That's a big part of the reason he has been constantly cast."
Triple threat: After the success of his first full-length ballet—a 2016 adaptation of Beauty & the Beast—Broad is now turning to Wonderland: Mad Tales of the Hatter, an original story based on the Alice in Wonderland character. This time, Broad devised the narrative, wrote the music and is choreographing the piece. The first excerpt from that full-length work will debut in May. How does he do it all? "Time management is key, and I don't sleep much," he says with a grin. "But it's practically magic at some point."