We recently got the opportunity to interview one of our Dance Ambassadors, Vicki Horan, on her dance story and why she applied to this programme, which we run in partnership with One Dance UK.
Vicki is a recent graduate, who is currently living in Plymouth and is part of the Overture 2018/19 cohort with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, as well as working as a part-time teacher. She has performed in multiple venues ranging from Her Majesty’s Theatre, London and the Pleasance Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe, to the Tate Modern and The Eden Project.
DC: What is your dance story?
VH: I have been dancing for as long as I can remember. As a child I was very shy, but always enjoyed watching musicals, pop videos and talent shows. Therefore, when I was 7, I joined Stagecoach Performing Arts Plymouth to gain some professional training in theatre, music and dance, whilst hoping it would help me come out of my shell.
After training with Stagecoach for 8 years, my interests diverged towards contemporary performance, which I explored in my Drama GCSE and A- Level courses. Additionally, I trained in Contemporary Dance with Companyb at the Barbican Theatre Plymouth, gaining a Dance Leaders qualification and performing in some large scale city-wide installation performances.
Over the past three years I was completing a BA (Hons) in Drama and Dance at Royal Holloway University of London, where I was fortunate enough to work with some fantastic lecturers and dance/ theatre companies. During this time, I participated in a summer intensive with Jasmin Vardion Company, had a work experience placement with StopGap Dance and was taught by Candoco’s company dancer, Andrew Graham. This only inspired me more to pursue a career in dance and since then have embraced freelance life in the South West and applied for every Dance and Theatre opportunity that comes my way.
DC: Why did you apply to be a Dance Ambassador?
VH: Initially, I didn’t know much about what it meant to be a Dance Ambassador. Some of my friends had previously been part of this programme and spoke about all of the dance events and platforms they were able to assist with and work on. Also, I always want to raise the profile of Dance in the South West and network with organisations, individuals and artists nationally. Once I realised that being a Dance Ambassador meant I could do this both regionally and across the UK I was sold!
DC: What have you learnt through the Dance Ambassador programme so far?
VH: Being a Dance Ambassador has given me so many great opportunities. I have been heavily involved with supporting the selection process for U.Dance South West and volunteering at the regional platform. Additionally, Dance Ambassadors use the programme to network with each other and with leading dance organisations and companies across the UK. So, it’s safe to say that from being an Ambassador, I have gained a lot of confidence and knowledge about how I would like to work within the dance industry in the future (freelancing, teaching, choreographing and working with young people).
DC: What do you hope to achieve through this programme?
VH: I hope that I will have achieve the knowledge, skills and confidence to continue networking with dance organisations and companies in the future. Also, I want to inspire and support as many young people and emerging dance artists in the South West as possible.
Ultimately, the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing programme is an achievement in itself! All the other accomplishments I make throughout the year are a bonus.
DC: What has been your best Dance Ambassador moment so far?
VH: I have two favourite moments whilst working as a Dance Ambassador.
The first was when I was given the opportunity to volunteer at the U.Dance Regionals platform for the South West. The day was filled with such talent, creativity and enthusiasm. It was inspiring to see so many young people showcasing their love for dance and share their work with other young dancers in the region.
The second was attending the Dance Consortium Leaders Workshop at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Here we got the chance to participate in a workshop with a dancer from Ballet BC, watch some of their rehearsals, network with industry professionals, have a tour of the theatre and watch Ballet BC’s UK tour piece. Asking my questions directly to industry professionals and learning from their experience was a unique experience and I returned to Plymouth that weekend feeling encouraged and positive about my future.
DC: Are you currently working in dance?
VH: At the moment I am working part-time at a school and am fitting in as many freelance projects as possible. Working as a freelance artist is pretty challenging at times, however it does give you the freedom to work on multiple projects at once and build up skills in a variety of areas.
I’m not sure exactly what I would like to do in the Dance sector full-time, as I currently enjoy doing a bit of everything; from teaching, to choreography, to performing and engaging with young people! For now though, I am very happy working across the board to gain experience and help me build up my practice.
DC: What are your goals for the future?
VH: It has always been a dream of mine to create my own Dance/Theatre Company. However, this is a long term goal that I aspire to achieve once I have fully realised what type of work I would like to focus on making in the future.