TV dance-winner Archambault tackles Nureyev

Nico Archambault's dance card continues to be jammed. Besides sharing the stage with Janet Jackson and delving into film, there's his TV role as ballet great Rudolph Nureyev, as well as his pending nuptials.
Nico Archambault's dance card continues to be jammed. 

Besides sharing the stage with Janet Jackson and delving into film, there's his TV role as ballet great Rudolph Nureyev, as well as his pending nuptials.

It's been over a year since Montreal's mega-heartthrob won the first season of CTV's So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and the contemporary specialist is still making heads turn.

Grooving with Jackson — at the recent American Music Awards and in her new video for Make Me (in which he plays her love interest) — has been one of the highlights of his ever-rising career, he says.

"I'm feeling really lucky," the pierced, tattooed and always affable hoofer said in a recent phone interview, just days after the AMAs.

"Life keeps bringing me amazing experiences, one after the other, and it's hard to say what was better. I just appreciate it all."

Archambault can next be seen as the lead in the stirring dance biopic Nureyev, airing Tuesday on Bravo.

Directed by Moze Mossanen, the piece is inspired by the life of the legendary and enigmatic ballet dancer, who defected to the West in 1961 from Russia and became an international celebrity. Nureyev died in 1993 at age 54 after a battle with AIDS.

Much of his life in the biopic is told through choreographed moves on stage. Between dance sequences, actors playing figures in his life — some of them fictionalized — speak in monologues.

Archambault said he initially felt "a great deal of pressure" when he landed the role because he specializes in contemporary dance, not ballet.

But he said he was helped greatly by his co-stars, including Greta Hodgkinson, principal dancer at the National Ballet of Canada.

"In the world of ballet, it's an achievement to get [as] partner Greta Hodgkinson ... so for me to step in, I was putting pressure on myself," said Archambault.

"But at the same time I kind of decided to let go of it and not even think about that aspect of things. Once I decided to take the project I just focused on doing it as good as I could."

Archambault had to dance intimately with many men in the piece, as Nureyev was gay.

But Archambault — who is straight — said he was completely comfortable, noting he comes "from a family that is really open-minded."

"Growing up in an artistic environment and being surrounded by dancers, it's something that was always around me," he said.

"Even as a kid I had to suffer a lot of homophobia because just by being a dancer people assumed I was gay and … when they would call me gay or try to bully me with that, my only answer was: 'Even if I was, what's the problem?'"

Archambault is now involved in an anti-bullying campaign run by a national network called PREVNet.

His other upcoming gigs include a New Year's Eve show in Brampton, Ont., with his dance/rock group the Pinup Saints; a lead role in the Family Channel film Vacation With Derek, set to air next year; and various events through his choreography company Street Parade.

Then there's his wedding with fiancee Wynn Holmes, a fellow dancer.

Although Archambault wouldn't reveal exactly when they'll tie the knot — "that's a secret," he said with a laugh — he did say it will happen soon. 

"I'll be a husband soon and I'm so looking forward to it," he said. "It's going to be amazing."