From San Francisco to New York City, Benjamin Freemantle is Exploring New Roles

October 17, 2022

Benjamin Freemantle was just 15 years old when he left his home in Vancouver, Canada, to attend the San Francisco Ballet School. Eight years later, Freemantle had worked his way through the company ranks and earned a coveted spot as a principal. But after a little more than a decade with the organization, the multitalented dancer found himself craving a new adventure, in a new city. “I was always trying to find more in my artistic development,” Freemantle says of his decision to leave the company and move to New York City this past summer. Before he even had time to furnish his apartment, Freemantle had signed with a talent agency, filmed scenes for Bradley Cooper’s upcoming Leonard Bernstein biopic, Maestro, and been invited to perform in Italy and Mexico. “I love Broadway and film and TV, and I just want to explore and see what I’m capable of.”

male dancer wearing black vest and gold necklace staring at camera
Benjamin Freemantle. Photo by Quinn Wharton.

A Rough Kickstart:

“I got my start Irish dancing when I was about 6 years old, because my sister was taking classes. I started following her around the house, asking her to teach me. My parents signed me up, and I remember literally kicking and screaming on the way to my first class because I did not want to go. But the second that I was in the room, I was calm and ready to learn.”

Finding His Place:

“When I went to the SFB summer intensive, I just thought it was the coolest place. There was something in me that just knew that this was the place I was going to be—the place where it was going to happen.”

A Memorable Moment at SFB:

“One moment that will always stick out to me is getting to be the Sea Witch in John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid. I’m very much a happy-go-lucky person, and this role was not that. It was pure physicality, and it’s dark, and it’s gritty, and you really get to sink your teeth into it and become someone else. That role was kind of the seed of my curiosities into acting and performing as characters vastly different from who I am. Pushing into unknown places and finding depth and satisfaction in those moments.”

His Choreographic Process:

“Basically, it’s me going to the studio by myself, putting the music on, and just dancing—seeing what musicality I find, what the movement is. You can sit there and try to figure it out in your head, but actually doing it, you find these pathways and these connections that you didn’t quite realize were there before.”