Bermudian to take to the O2 Arena stage
London’s O2 Arena has welcomed legendary entertainers like Rolling Stones’ frontman Mick Jagger and pop singer Lady Gaga to its stage.
And next month it’s Bermudian Devaune Ratteray’s turn.
Mr Ratteray will be performing alongside the internationally renown dance troupe Bolly Flex at the Bollywood Showstoppers event, taking place at the O2 Arena on August 3.
Bollywood is a popular genre of Indian film, which originated in Mumbai, India. The choreographed dancing in Bollywood films is usually based on traditional Indian dances.
“We are expecting an audience of 15,000 people, including five artists from the Bollywood industry in Asia, who are coming to London to perform with us,” Mr Ratteray said.
“It’s being billed as the biggest Bollywood event outside of Asia for 2014.”
Bolly Flex is considered UK’s most popular Bollywood dance company and is known around the world for its stunning, high energy performances.
Mr Ratteray admitted he didn’t know much about this genre of dance while growing up in Bermuda, but after signing up for a Bollywood class in London, UK he discovered he had a knack for it.
As luck would have it, the class’ instructor happened to be the artistic director and producer for Bollywood Showstoppers and encouraged him to audition.
“I still wouldn’t say I’m an expert in the dance style that is Bollywood, but I would like to think I’m a good mover and that’s what they saw in me,” he said.
“They are teaching me a whole lot and it would be really exciting to perform beside these amazing performers.
“They are like the biggest acts to come out of Asia today. It’s almost like dancing alongside the Indian Beyonce.”
Mr Ratteray is the only person of Caribbean decent in the group, however the dance company does its best to promote diversity.
Being a part of Bolly Flex has opened up other doors for the young performer.
In February, they made it through the first round of auditions on the popular televised talent show, Britain’s Got Talent. Sadly they had to drop out of that due to other commitments.
Mr Ratteray has been passionate about performing on stage since he was four-years-old.
As a child he was active in the local arts scene, performing in school plays and productions with Bermuda Music and Dramatic Society (BMDS) and Gilbert & Sullivan.
He also modelled a bit and found he was always comfortable in front of the camera. “It was just a natural progression for me to pursue it as a career,” he added.
While studying performance and dance at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Mr Ratteray was cast in a musical production of Annie, starring actress Sally Struthers, from the popular 1970s sitcom All in the Family. She played the part of Miss Hannigan.
It happened to be the first time he felt confident a career in entertainment was possible for him.
“Being cast in Annie was the first time that I worked with someone that I had previously seen on television,” he said.
“I grew to be a huge fan of Sally Struthers because, while the show went off the air before I was born, she was someone that both my parents and grandparents were excited about.
“That was when my family first realised ‘Hey, he isn’t just doing this for fun anymore’. ‘He is playing with the big kids’.”
After that he spent two years living in Los Angeles, before finding a home in the UK.
He currently works as a protocol and administrative officer for the Government of Bermuda’s London office and pursues the arts part-time.
In addition to dancing and acting, Mr Ratteray is also looking to launch a singing career with British label Downtown Artists.
His first commercially released single Shot Down was released on iTunes two weeks ago — and so far the feedback has been “overwhelming”.
“It was hard to take a proper breath for the first two hours after waking up on the morning my single was realised on iTunes,” he said.
“I got so much support on Facebook, Twitter and social media and even had people sending me screen shots showing they were playing my song on their iPod.
“It was just amazing. And the reviews I have been getting as well have been great.”
He said his ultimate goal was to be known as a triple threat like Jennifer Lopez, Jamie Foxx or Will Smith.
“Those are musicians and actors that can cross the genres quite easily and still be respected in both,” he said. “That’s something I would like to see and have for me in the future, so for now I’m busy working towards that and don’t get much sleep.”
For more information on the Bollywood Showstoppers event on August 3, visit: www.flexproductions.com.
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