Evan Strand started dancing at Southland Ballet Academy when he was only 7 years old! When he was 15, he performed in his first official Festival Ballet Theatre production. Today he is in the Disney’s Frozen, the Broadway Musical North American Tour. We chatted with Evan about this exciting new opportunity and reminisced about his days in Southland.
FBT: Congratulations on being cast in Frozen on Broadway!!!
Evan: “Thank you. I will be playing the role of Sven, the lovable, very life-like reindeer for Broadway’s National North American Tour of Frozen. It’s exciting to finally be a part of a Broadway show and a great step forward for my career.”
FBT: Tell us about how you got the job.
Evan: “I auditioned back in February 2019 for an invited call for ensemble performers and while I was there, I was requested to be considered for either Sven or Hans. I proceeded through the following callbacks for singing and partner work (partnering is something I am very grateful to have excelled at SBA). I finally got a call to make my way out to New York for a final call back for Sven, and it turned out I wasn’t able to make it. I had booked another shoot for ABC’s General Hospital and couldn’t pass that up for an audition. I felt terrible, there were a few people really pushing for me and I felt that I let them down. After that week, I wrote an email explaining my sorrow for not making the audition despite being able to progress through and letting them know how grateful I was that they had helped me. They wrote back and to my surprise, they had not found a Sven yet and were having more callbacks the following month! I bought a ticket to New York that day and was there in two weeks. The audition was with 6 other men to find 2 people to fill the role. They put us in some of the rehearsal stilts, as we have to be on all fours for the work, and it all took about 3 hours. It was a lot of work and very strenuous on the body. It wasn’t too long after that my agent received a call and I was offered the role!”
FBT: That’s amazing. How has Southland helped you get to where you are today?
Evan: “I credit Southland Ballet Academy as the foundation of my entire career and the main reason I am able to be an artist. I played a lot of sports growing up and as I got older I kept having to narrow down my interests as each one demanded more and more to excel. Ballet and working with Salwa always won. I wasn’t sure why, I just knew that I love ballet, I love performing and I love working with Salwa. Her expertise and keen eye are what molded me into the athlete and performer that I am.
I remember at an American Ballet Theatre audition when I was maybe 15 or 16, the teacher came up to me and told me that I had the best technique in the room. Training with Salwa gave me strength and control. Performing with guest artists like Julie Kent, Paloma Herrera, Ethan Stiefel, Fabrice Calmels, Gillian Murphy, etc. showed me how to truly perform. The stage was a wonderful classroom and Salwa is an amazing artist and teacher. There are so many obstacles I come across in my work in the performing arts and I often can recall something that happened with ballet, with Southland that gives me the answer. Southland has given me a solid foundation that has provided me guidance in infinite ways.
FBT: Any parting words?
Evan: “Salwa and SBA/ FBT are my home. I have been to many schools in many styles of performing but Salwa will always have a special place in my heart. My journey of falling in love with ballet, finding a new love in acting and singing is all because of the day my parents asked if I wanted to keep dancing and I said yes, and Salwa said, “Good, let’s get you into ballet classes so you can perform in the Nutcracker.” Thank you, Salwa.