From medical school to the Moulin Rouge

Watch this face: Cale Fletcher hopes to enjoy both dance and medicine long-term. “They’re not mutually exclusive.” Picture: Simone De Peak

Watch this face: Cale Fletcher hopes to enjoy both dance and medicine long-term. “They’re not mutually exclusive.” Picture: Simone De Peak

CALE Fletcher thought he had closed the door on his passion for dance.

Mr Fletcher, 24, had spent more than 15 years relishing learning, teaching and competing in tap and jazz, yet had pushed it aside for two years to focus on his medicine degree.

But the night before the world-famous Moulin Rogue held its biennial auditions in Sydney last year, he felt something inside him ignite.

“I thought it would be a big regret if I didn’t give it one last attempt while I was still fit enough and flexible enough to make an impression,” he said. “I had a lot of doubts but went in with no expectations, which meant I had a clear head and could pick up the choreography quickly.”

Mr Fletcher will fly to Paris on Monday to take up a 12-month contract with the cabaret. He will spend up to four weeks rehearsing, before his stage debut in May.

“It feels unreal and hasn’t hit me yet,” he said. “I’m waiting for a tonne of weight to drop any second now.

“Just the historical weight of it and the legacy behind it – it’s the most well-known cabaret show in the world. It seems other-worldly, like a far off fantastical place.”

The University of Newcastle has granted Mr Fletcher a leave of absence that will allow him at the end of the year to pursue six month rolling contracts.

“I’m happy to just go with the flow and see what opens up and what paths I go down,” he said. “Who knows, I might end up at a dance company in Berlin. Medicine is an amazing fallback and I certainly want to graduate, but it will be there waiting for a little while.”

Mr Fletcher, who is six foot, five inches tall, auditioned for the cabaret six and four years ago, but was unsuccessful.

“I never thought I’d get to the third strike – but somehow it’s paid off.”

He was six when he accompanied his sister to lessons at Dance 'n Dazzle at Medowie. He started tap, but soon added jazz to his repertoire. He moved to England Purton Dance Academy when he was 12 and competed across the state.

After finishing high school he spent one year working and another year studying physiotherapy before switching to medicine.

Mr Fletcher also started teaching tap and studying jazz at the Australian Dance and Talent Centre in Cardiff.

But as the demands of his medicine degree grew, his time for dance decreased.

“It fizzled out and I thought that would be the end of it,” he said. “I was really happy to throw myself into the degree and tackle that with as much rigour as I could.”

Mr Fletcher is now considering how to be able to marry his two passions, which he said may include organising hospital revues.

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