Where and when were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born and grew up in a town called Richmond, North Yorkshire in 1991. It’s a very small town where everybody knows everyone. It’s also very beautiful, situated right on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the River Swale runs right through its centre.
How old were you when you started dancing? And what started you off?
I began to dance when I was 13 years old towards the end of my third year at secondary school, and it was almost by chance. I was an average thirteen year old, I was obviously still in school about to begin working on my G.C.S.Es and, as with most teenagers, I had almost no idea what I wanted to do with my life and hadn’t really considered what my career would be. I was very interested in science though and actually went on to do A-levels in chemistry and biology, along with dance, of course. But I think it is safe to say that at this point I was pretty oblivious to the world of dance.
Where did you start your dance training?
So I began my training at Yorkshire Young Dancers. It was amazing. As soon as I started I was immediately inspired by the teachers and the other students. It’s an amazing scheme and after being there only a short time I realised that this was something I would love to continue to do in my life. During my time there, we were given so many opportunities to perform and through the intensive weekends and summer courses we also had the chance to experience lots of other arts associated with theatre which was very enriching.
Where did you do your later training?
I began training at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and loved it. The director of the school, Ross McKim, was quietly awe inspiring. I have a lot of respect for him. He is a very intelligent man and I can honestly say that I found value in almost everything he ever said to me. I was also lucky enough to be taught by Amanda Britton whilst there. She is an amazing dancer and teacher and at the heart of the school. Her classes are amazing, but what makes her really special is that she goes above and beyond to ensure that each student receives as much help and advice as they can get whilst there. I feel that Rambert is a very special place. The way the school is run really encourages self-exploration and independent research which I think is an essential part of learning and developing. It is a holistic system, each student is considered singularly. Ross endeavored to provide us with as much experience as possible even establishing links with eastern traditions such as Ki Gong – all things that I found invaluable and continue to utilise to this day. I was at the school for 2 years and I feel that they were some of the most useful and enjoyable I have experienced to date.
Is NDT2 the first company you’ve been with? When did you join?
Yes, NDT2 is the first company I’ve been with. I was offered an apprenticeship contract after my second year at Rambert, that was last year. After working as an apprentice for a season I was given a full contract so this is my first season officially in the company.
What are the most exciting things about working with NDT?
There are so many; first of all is the rep. I don’t think that there are any other repertory companies that have such a varied and quality repertoire. The amount of different styles I’m able to dance is unique. I think even if you just consider how varied the Kylian rep is, for example, dancing in a piece from earlier in his career (like Leider) versus dancing in a newer Kylian piece like Gods and Dogs. It’s really a great experience to be able to dance so many different things, to go from Ohad Naharin to Alexander Ekman to Lightfoot Leon to name a few. It’s also great here that there is also such an emphasis on new creation as well as preserving the existing repertoire. Every season there are new choreographers coming to make work for the company. This is an experience all of the dancers cherish. The chance to work creatively yourself and have active input into creation is something really exciting and fulfilling. Another thing I really enjoy about the company is the touring. We go to so many interesting places and are given the chance to perform on some amazing stages worldwide. Travelling and seeing all these different cultures and traditions whilst doing something I love is great. I also love the people that make up this company. Everyone has so much to give. Working in such a close and supportive group and experiencing all these things is something I love about NDT2.