‘Our ascending stars’…. follows the progress of professional dancers who have graduated this year. Regular readers will know that all of the dancers featured here were interviewed just as they made the transition from vocational school to professional ballet company. Here we see how they’ve been getting on….
The quite fabulous noomiedoodlesfashion very generously gave up some time to work on my brief, which was to use her fashion expertise to conjure up traditionally dressed dancers but with a fashionable twist.
What is it like now that you are working as a professional ballet dancer ?
To actually reach the status of being a professional dancer and no longer a student is a great satisfaction in itself. It is only the difference of one day from being a student to being a professional in a company, yet you must take on the responsibility that you are now part of a team of people who have the demanding task of staging various productions throughout the year. You know it is your job to work and perform to the best of your ability and to do your part to ensure that the audience, whether for a production that night or in a months time, will leave the theatre with great appreciation for what they have just watched. That is why, when the curtain goes up at the end of the show and you hear the enjoyment of the crowd it is an awesome feeling to know that you are a professional dancer.
What roles have you performed so far and what did you enjoy ?
So far we have performed three productions in various venues around England. My first role with the company was in Dracula where I danced as a guest in the Engagement scene. It was the first step I took to gain more on-stage experience as a dancer. Our next production was Wuthering Heights in which I was a guest at Catherine & Edgar’s wedding. I also had the great opportunity to play the role of young Heathcliff, which has probably been my most demanding role so far whilst here at Northern Ballet. This was great fun to perform as throughout the ballet Heathcliff has flashbacks to his past in which his younger self seems so innocent and happy! I danced with Antoinette Brooks-Daw and this was a great chance to work on some of my partnering skills. Most recently we have been all over the place with A Christmas Carol which has been a light and merry ballet compared to the tragedy of Wuthering Heights! It involves lots of costume changes from priests to phantoms and many others!
What have you learnt that’s been unexpected ?
The thing that I have learnt since leaving The Royal Ballet School is how much experience shows in a dancer. As we mature and progress as dancers we may lose some aspects of our youth, but what we lose in those areas we gain in experience. After speaking to some of the more experienced dancers in the company it is interesting to learn how they cope with the continual heavy load. I started work with Northern Ballet at the end of July and since then I have had far fewer days off and holiday breaks than I had at school. I did not expect to find my body, at times, to feel as exhausted as it has. I am only twenty and I’m one of the youngest in the company. I therefore had to learn quickly about how to take care of my body even more than I did before, and to really know when to push myself physically and safely in order for me to perform to the best of my ability over many shows, not just one. Experience shows in many aspects of a dancer and this is one of many I have to learn about!
What roles are coming up for you in the New Year ?
The New Year brings many new productions, one of which is Peter Pan. We are almost done learning this as we have a couple of weeks of this ballet before Christmas. This is an awesome show as it involves flying! I have (or have had) flying lessons for this show as I have been cast for Michael and also Peter in different casts. I have been very fortunate in my casting so far. I will never forget to value it. Other shows coming up that we have yet to learn and rehearse are Romeo and Juliet and Dangerous Liaisons.