Going on tour with Alvin Ailey


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A line I never thought I would get to say! After meeting Heather Knight (Dance Consortium), thanks to a chance given by my university in late March, she gave me a chance in conjunction with my university to take me under her wing and show me touring life!

First stop Plymouth. On the bus journey Heather and I discussed the ever so important tour schedule. We made a few minor adjustments and also wrote in extra meetings and so forth that were happening in Plymouth. My first time here my eyes were glued out the bus window as we arrived. The sea glistening in the early evening sun. After settling into my hotel I was treated to a wonderful insight by Heather of the Barbican area and all it has to offer. We had a meal where we got to know more about each other and the Dance Consortium Company, here we also discussed the ever so important role of the budget! A vital part of any tour.

Monday morning arrived and it was straight to business. The venue for the next few days was the beautiful Theatre Royal (above), an amazing architectural building on the inside. After a morning’s work which included sorting our company office space and sorting the stage door information, I was given the afternoon and evening to explore the city – and that I did! I mingled with locals in a wonderfully located bar at the seafront, seen the well-known hoe and its famous lighthouse before I tasted some traditional British food. The next two days were show days and the theatre was just buzzing with excitement. Everyone was rushing around doing jobs. I had an excellent opportunity to speak to the Theatre Royal’s marketing department where the lovely Laura who is head of marketing showed me how it all works and I got to learn about the marketing plan for Alvin Ailey performances. I was given a tour of TR2 which in my opinion is a credit to the area! It has so much to offer and what goes on in it is remarkable. It opened my eyes that sets for theatre shows are not always built in London but rather outside it like Plymouth. Everyone was busy there working on a new production called Wind in the Willows. It was so nice to see a true in depth look of the amount work that goes in to creating a set for a tour.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Linda Celeste Sims and Glenn Allen Sims in Christopher Wheeldons After the Rain Pas de Deux. Photo by Paul Kolnik

While in Plymouth I got the amazing chance to see the show! It was truly spectacular and to finally see the world renowned dance piece that is Revelations was the highlight of the night. Although one piece did steal my heart! ‘After the Rain Pas de Deux’ which was performed by the outstandingly talented Glenn Allen Sims and his wonderful partner Linda Celeste Sims broke me and brought me to tears as I watched in awe!

While in Plymouth I also got a huge opportunity to take part in a workshop lead by the talented and fun Daniel Harder! It was such an amazing time learning the Horton technique, everything I learnt I will now take forward with me in my future of my dance career.

Plymouth had been an amazing few days where I met a lot of interesting people who showed me the different worlds they work in. I can now only hope the next city will do the same….

Next stop Birmingham!

Roy Quinn is dancer, director and student at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts