VMAN Digital: Rhys Kosakowski

VMAN Digital: Rhys Kosakowski

VMAN Digital: Rhys Kosakowski

The ballet dancer speaks on his dancing career and explores his individuality in choreography for VMAN.

The ballet dancer speaks on his dancing career and explores his individuality in choreography for VMAN.


Styling: Isaac Brown

Australian-born ballet prodigy Rhys Kosakowski is breaking boundaries and redefining norms through his impeccable dancing abilities and disciplined practices. Finding clarity and tranquility with each pirouette, Kosakowski prides himself in the confidence and poise he now possesses as he perfects his craft in performances around the world. With an innate sense of coordination and a keen adaptability to fluid choreography, the renowned ballet dancer proves himself a beacon of resilience and grace. Ahead of his January debut with the Sydney Dance Company, VMAN spoke with the dancer on his early career and creative processes.

Read what Rhys Kosakowski had to share with us and indulge in an original video of the ballet dancer below.

What’s your story with Ballet? How old were you when you first started dancing?

My mother put me into tap when I was 4 years old and I fell in love with moving and performing. When I turned 12, my dance teacher told me I needed to train in ballet to ever become a professional. So I started ballet, and after 2 months of training, I landed the lead role in Billy Elliot the Musical here in Sydney. I toured with the musical for 3 years, and then auditioned for the Houston Ballet when I was 16. I joined the company at 17.

What was your childhood like? What’s your favorite memory from the time when you were a child?

My childhood was great! I had supportive and loving parents and a beautiful backyard with lots of animals and flowers. School wasn't so pleasant for me. I got bullied quite a lot for being too feminine and interested in dancing; although, I loved coming home after school and dressing up in my mother's clothes and dancing to the Venga Boys. I would make everyone in the house watch me and told my mum to film it with her camera. That was definitely a great memory, and so are the home videos!!

What does dancing mean to you? Did the way you perceived dance change over the years at all?

Dancing is a much needed escape. Sometimes life is hard, and we all go through stress and ups and downs. When I dance, I forget about everything and tap into another world that I can't really explain. But it's a nice break from the real world. The way the music connects to my body is almost kinetic and makes me feel one with the rhythm. I think when I was younger, I didn't really understand the feeling of performing/dancing, but as I grew older I definitely realized what type of emotions I was feeling and how much taking that break from the world really meant to me. And it means a lot because I can't stop...

Can you walk us through your creative process? What inspires you?

For me, all I need to create or dance improvisation is a piece of music that moves me or has a good beat. And emotions, those two things are really important for me. They both inspire me differently every time but are key for me to come up with something or dance freely. But I also get inspired by other artists and dancers all the time. Especially dancers and artists that have their own style and aura. Uniqueness is very special.

Can you tell us about the toughest moment you had in your dancing career? What have you learned from that experience?

Easy. It's something every dancer goes through at some point in their career. I took a break after my first professional contract in a Ballet Company and had a transition period. Looking back at it now, I definitely needed it, but at the time, not performing really got to me. Plus, on top of that, auditioning for companies around the world and getting a lot of no's. It messes with you, and makes you question yourself and doubt your dancing. Even when you get a yes and a company offers you a job its hard to know if that Company is right for you and I wanted to be happy where I landed. I have learned in this transition period that its hard, and might go for a longer than you intended....but keep going and don't doubt your dancing.

On the contrary, what was the happiest moment in your dancing career?

When I was in The Houston Ballet Company and I had to go on to perform last minute for opening night for an injured Principal. It was my favourite piece I have danced so far in my career. The ballet was called Wings of Wax by Jiri Kylian.

What do you like to do in your free time, when you’re not performing or practicing?

You can find me at the beach with my dog and my sister on my days off! Im definitely happiest at the beach and/or surrounded by plants and animals. I also enjoy a good house party and a dance out with friends. I can dance all night with the right music.

Is there anything you’re currently working on that you’re excited about and want to share with us?

Actually yes! I'm super excited to announce I'll be joining The Sydney Dance Company starting January. Rafael Bonachela is the Director/Choreographer there and has a beautiful group of dancers. I've always loved the company and loved how everything they do is very brave and powerful. It will also be very nice to be back performing in a city that I grew up in and have family and friends see me dance as they were not able to so often when I was overseas for 8 years.

If you could change anything in your career path, what would it be (if anything)? What advice can you give to the aspiring/up-and-coming dancers and artists?

I think I have really learnt from all my mistakes and career choices so I wouldn't say I would take anything back. But some advice I would have is never doubt your self as a dancer, and always put your self out there. Dancing is beautiful, and if you're passionate about it, its breathtaking.

How do you envision yourself and your career in the future (5-10-20 years)?

It's hard to say where I would place myself in 10-20 years... But I just hope I'll be doing what I love and still creating and collaborating. Also, hopefully still dancing in 5 years, haha.

Rhys wears pleated trousers SAINT LAURENT, ysl.com / BLOCH dance shoes, bloch.com.au / FALKE socks, falke.com / His own earring throughout
Rhys wears knitted leotard PALOMO SPAIN, palomospain.com
Rhys wears long sleeve open shirt and corseted high-waist trousers both LUDOVIC de SAINT SERNIN, ludovicdesaintsernin.com
Rhys wears Swarovski crystal mesh eyelet brief LUDOVIC de SAINT SERNIN, ludovicdesaintsernin.com / Falke socks, falke.com
Rhys wears double breasted jacket and trousers with leather belt all PRADA, prada.com
Rhys wears double breasted jacket and trousers with leather belt all PRADA, prada.com
Rhys wears elasticated palazzo pants PALOMO SPAIN, palomospain.com
Rhys wears high waisted pleated trousers with leather horsebit chain loafers both GUCCI, Gucci.com
Rhys wears ribbed singlet, silk camisole with lace detail and medusa head clasps, with tuxedo pants all VERSACE, Versace.com
Dancer/ Choreographer: Rhys Kosakowski @rhyskosakowski Photographer: Isaac Brown @isaacbrown__ Stylist: Alex Bainbridge @alex_bainbridge  Grooming: Joel Babicci  @joel_babicci
Producer: Claire Salter @claireeelizabeth DOP & Editor: Liam French @liamgfrench
Music by AMOK @this.is.amo


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