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Editors Letter Welcome to the first issue of The Dancer magazine. In this issue we introduce ourselves by exploring the themes of risk, of saying yes and of grabbing opportunity, this is a message for most industries and is certainly what drove me to start this magazine in the first place. We put the spotlight on performers across the spectrum of the dance industry who all took risks to get them where they are today. We have performers from all walks of life who dance on; cruise ships to the West End, from Aerialists to Bollywood, from a fire dancer to the working ballerina all living the life of a dancer in completely different ways. We look at inclusive dance with two dancers from world renowned Candoco Dance Company which integrates able and disabled dancers. We speak to the director of Cookies, Carlo Darang, about his company’s viral dance performance at this year’s VIBE competition. We tap into inside knowledge from Stuart Bishop, Founder of Love Rudeye the UK’s number one dance agency to find out how to impress, how to get seen and the importance of making relationships in the dance world. This magazine also includes other creatives that thrive on dance as inspiration such as James Rowbotham and Peter Coulson both photographers capturing the beauty of dancers. We look into The Ballet Theatre UK’s costume designer and dance Illustrator Rachel Doyles quirky take on our first issues theme. This Magazine is about building a community for the dance industry and industries that surround it; a place where people can see how hard, rewarding and how spectacular the world of dance is, giving centre stage to what I think is one of the most beautiful means of expression we have on this earth.

Dani Bower Editor and Dance photographer 02

Masthead Editor in Chief Dani Bower

Art Director Dani Bower

Features Editor Philippa Gould

Graphic Designer Samual Sloman

Researcher Briony Boustead

JR editors Jonathon Boustead Oliver Sloman Jadz Bower

Contact Queries, feedback and submissions: 03


Contributors Photographers


Dani Bower

Malory De Lencios

Susie King

James Rowbotham

Elena Carter

Ksenia Ovsyanick

Dimitry Roulland

Susan Sentler

Daria Mikhaylyuk

Ugo Richard

Adam Gain

Garrett Pitton


Carlo Darang

Louisa Maybank

Craig McDermott

Rea Piper

Audrey Hewko

Steve Lawton

Paul Chantry

Xander Pratt

Peter Coulson

Zoe Pollard

Jackson Fisch

Bernadette Meyers

Charlotte Balchin

Alana Brooks

Samantha Grey

Kayleigh Bestington

Dance Agency

Tamsyn Blake

Chantelle Meyers

Love Rudeye

Jessica Allsop

Poppy Garton

Stuart Bishop

Jas Kent

Illustrator Rachel Doyle

Molly Beebee Austyn Farrel Lowri Jackson

Find us @thedancermag


Contents Life as a ballerina

11 - 18

Defying Gravity

19 - 25


27 - 34


36 - 40

A Stranger to himself

41 - 49

Zoe Pollard has got talent

51 - 54

On board with Charlotte Balchin

55 - 58

Samantha Grey in a world of Bollywood

59 - 61

Tamsyn Blake being a freelance dancer

63 - 65

Ignite - Jessica Louise Allsop danceing with flames

67 - 74

We Love Rudeye

75 - 80



It’s time to get LEXI

83 - 92

Up & Coming - Jas Kent

95 - 100

Up & Coming - Molly Beebee

102 - 108

Catch me if you can

109 - 118

James Rowbotham

121 - 130

Peter Coulson

131 - 146

Rachel Doyle Illustrations

147 , 149

The ballet theatre U.K - Aladdins costume photo essay

150 - 152

The ballet school

153 - 164

World ballet competition

165 - 166

I dance therefore I am

168 - 180




A comic book come to life in highly physical dance theatre

Stratford Circus Arts Centre, London 30 April & 1 May, 7:30pm Tickets £8-£14

The Place, London

27 May, 8pm Tickets £15 (£12 concs)

Life as a




Ballerina Malory De Lenclos gives us an insight into her world, her story & her work. Photographs by Dimitry Roulland & Ugo Richard

Photograph by Dimitry Roulland


In her home town of Paris, Malory Delenclos started dancing when she was just 4 years old. Now aged 25, Malory is living the ballerina’s dream and gives The Dancer a 5-minute glimpse into her fairytale. What inspired you to dance?

dance career to date?

Even as a baby I was moving

So far, it has to be performing

and dancing all the time at home

in Derek Deane’s “Swan Lake

whenever the music would play!

in the round” at the Royal Albert

There’s a French movie, “l’âge

Hall with the English National

heureux”, which my mother

Ballet - the best version of

absolutely loved. It was a huge

Swan Lake ever!! Swan Lake is

inspiration for me. I watched it all

definitely my favourite ballet.

the time and all I wanted was to become a “petit rat de l’Opéra”, one of the character’s in the movie. How did you get your first paid dance opportunity?

What shows have you performed in? Don Quichotte (Opera de Bordeaux), Swan Lake (ENB), La cerisaie (Opera Garnier), and

As a student from Paris Opera

“Serenade Baroque” (Chateau de

Ballet School, I danced in some

Versailles) to name a few. I’ve also

ballets with the Paris Opera Ballet

performed at some events and in

School - I was lucky to dance in

some shows in Paris and Suisse.

Paquita (Mazurka) and Bayadere (Négrillons) from 11 to 13 years old. When I was 11, I auditioned and was cast for my first job! What dance schools did you attend? I went to the School of Ballet

What is the hardest thing about ballet? Unfortunately, it is the challenge of finding a job! What do you enjoy the most about ballet?

de Marseille, Paris Opera Ballet

The stage, make up, and my

School, and Conservatory of

ballet friends – it’s like a family!

Boulogne-Billancourt (near Paris). What has been your biggest achievement in your



Where has been the most exciting place you have performed?

Photograph by Ugo Richard




Dancing at Ch창teau de Versailles is just awesome! When you dance in the hall of mirrors, you feel like Louis XIV!

Photographs by Dimitry Roulland


I’m not in a company but a freelance dancer, my timetables constantly change.



Hmm... that’s a hard question!!

I do have some time outside

Garnier is magic, Royal Albert Hall

of dancing, and when I

is too! But dancing at Château

do I love to do yoga.

de Versailles is just awesome - when you dance in the hall of mirrors, you feel like Louis XIV! What has been the biggest risk you have taken in your dance career?

How much dance do you do in a week? As I’m not in a company but a freelance dancer, my timetables constantly change. I might need to rehearse for a show or an

Luckily, I don’t feel I’ve had

event, I might need to attend a

to take a big risk yet.

photo shoot, or I might be filming

As a ballerina, is there a lot of travelling involved?

or giving a class. No day is the same! But I take my ballet class everyday in Paris with Antonio

Even if you can work as freelancer

Alvarado (such a great ballet

in Paris, or anywhere in France,

teacher!) so I probably dance for

most of the time you have to

a minimum of 15 hours a week.

travel to auditions, to find a job, or to tour... So, yes, there is a lot of travelling involved. Do you always have to worry about nutrition? No, when you are adult I don’t think you need to. Maybe you do

Are most of your friends dancers? I’d say about half of my friends are dancers, yes! What are the biggest pressures you face as a ballerina?

worry more when you are teenager

For me, the biggest pressure

as your body is transforming.

is the instability of work and

Are you always dancing or do you have time to

always having to find the next job. It’s an artist’s life!

do other things?

Photographer: Name Photograph by Dimitry Roulland Photographer: Name


DEFYING GRAVITY Elena Marina is an award-winning aerialist who performs internationally for A-list celebrities, royalty, and audiences exceeding 1,000,000. Renowned for her grace and

She has graced the stage

poise, Elena specialises in Aerial

alongside stars including The

Silks, Hoop and Aerial Bartending

Scissor Sisters, Muse, and Garry

and performs Trapeze, Corde

Barlow; starred in music videos

Lisse and Web Spinning. Elena’s

for The Jewellers; and holds

passion for dance began at

an impressive list of credits

an early age, starting out as a

including Cirque Du

gymnast at the age of 4 and

Soleil, BBC, ITV to

performing with a circus at the

name just a few.

age of 9 while training in Bristol. Now aged 28, her repertoire of experience is impressive.



Now the director of Champagne

performing professionally, and

Rain - the UK’s first and leading

whose performance partner was

Aerial Bartending company - and

pregnant! She asked me to fill in

co-director of production company

for a year before I got my first paid

Flight of Fancy, Elena has come

and “proper” job – Nicola really

to tell The Dancer her story.

helped me out at the beginning.

How did you first start out as an Aerialist?

Tell us your story.

I joined a youth circus when I was

working as an aerial dancer,

8 and did it for fun at weekends and after school. I left when I was doing my A-levels and went on to university in Nottingham to study Sport and Exercise

One of the best things about aside from all the sequins and glitter, is that you have your own daily routine. You are your own boss and you can be as strict or as relaxed with yourself as you like. No day is the

As an aerialist you just don’t take risks; if you’re not sure, you don’t let go – simple as that!

same! I hate mornings, so I’ll usually get up at around 10, make myself a cup of tea and a bowl of oats and clamber back into bed to sift through all the

Science (BSc). When I returned

emails and enquiries that have

to Bristol, Nicole Pearson got in

come in. By midday I’ll get up and

touch – Nicole was an old friend

have lunch before popping to the

from circus school who was

training space to run some routines. continued overleaf >>

Photograph by James Rowbotham


Depending on what jobs I have

So the days when we aren’t

performing on a Christmas

coming up I might not need to

training tend to be spent sitting

contract. By day 3 I was dying on

go in every day. Silks require a

in front of a computer screen!

my feet. My body simply didn’t

lot more training to maintain and build the required strength, so if I have a silks booking coming up I’m usually in every day. But if it’s hoop or aerial bartending, I can skip a day or two and catch up on some admin.

Show days are different – you usually have to get up early to pack up the car with all the rigging, costumes and kit before you can set off. As an aerial dancer, we are the first to arrive and the last to leave. Our kit has

Although we get paid pretty well for each gig, there is a lot of work we don’t get paid for – work that goes on behind the scenes.

to go up in the ceiling before they can dress the room around us. Once it’s up, we then have to do our hair/ makeup and warm up for the show. After performing,

have enough time to recover as I was getting up too early and going to bed too late. I had to make a decision: take dancing on full time, or quit and stick with the “proper” job. It was a huge risk; not knowing if I was going to make it, or if I was good enough to take on aerial dancing as my full-time career. But I loved it too much to walk away. Sometimes these bold jumps pay off and in my case it did. I’ve never looked back!

we have to wait until the

It’s amazing – we literally

party has finished to take

get paid to travel to so many

The time spent liaising with

down our kit. On the plus side,

beautiful places. I’ve been to

clients and bookers, costume

sometimes they invite us to join

Thailand, the Maldives, Chile,

shopping, rehearsals, classes,

the after party which can be fun!

Hawaii, Cape Verde, Australia,

web design, photoshoots, video shoots, risk assessments, agency applications, mail outs etc – it’s all part of the job.



At the beginning I was working full-time as an Events Administrator while also working at night

Hong Kong, Costa Rica, India, and all over Europe performing at some beautiful events and parties. You get to meet all these fabulous

Trust that the universe is unfolding as it should and that if you are meant to be a dancer then you will succeed!

Photograph by James Tate


Sometimes these bold jumps pay off and in my case it did. I’ve never looked back!

people and, just for the night, you can see how the other half live! I love the creative aspect of the job too; designing costumes, hair and makeup, picking music and choreographing new acts. The only downfall is that you really have to stay on top of it all. The work is pretty seasonal. You know that there’ll be little work



from January through to April, so

unwrap and how you will be rolled

to have the right “look” - well, for

you have to make sure to save

around. As an aerialist you just

the corporate world at least. If

enough from the previous year

don’t take risks; if you’re not sure,

you want to go down the ‘arty’

to tide you over. It can be quite

you don’t let go – simple as that!

route it’s a little more forgiving.

risky not knowing when your

But it’s always difficult in social

next paycheque is coming in, or where it will be coming from! And it’s always unsociable hours. You tend to only work weekends, every bank holiday, and of

situations as an aerialist.

But still, you spend a lot of time and energy making sure you are always in good shape - you eat

When I was asked, “what do you do?” I always used to say “I’m a circus performer”.

course Christmas and New Years Eve. So you always have to make the decision; do I want to work or play? You also have the risks that come with performing internationally - will you actually get paid, can you trust the client to look after you once you are in their country, and generally there’s the challenge of dealing with different cultures.

well and look after yourself. My advice to anyone who is looking to become an aerial dancer is to find someone who is already on the scene

But I was always met with such

be your guide and mentor.

baffled looks and questions like

Every successful performer I

“so do you live in a caravan then?”

know has had someone who took

and “are your parents gypsies?” - I

them under their wing and helped

soon changed my reply to “I’m an

them out at the beginning; from

aerial dancer”, so at least people

lending kit and costumes, to giving

have no pre-conceived perception

advice on how to send out mail

of who I am and there’s no stigma

outs and build a client base. But,

attached. Everyone always asks

most of all, you have to have faith

“have you ever fallen?” followed

in yourself and be persistent!

There’s also the most obvious

by “but you can’t do that for ever…

risk of all as an aerialist and

how long can you do that for?”

that’s the physical safety

and “what are you going to do

risk! Performing at height is an

afterwards, aren’t you wasting

interesting one, and actually I have

your time..?”. And it’s true - you

come to a point where I feel safer

can’t perform forever. Either your

dancing in the air than I do on the

body can’t cope or you just don’t

floor. You develop a special sort

look the part any more. But it is

of bond with your equipment –

frustrating that people tend to jump

you know exactly how it’s going

to the negatives. Aerial dance

to move, how to wrap it around

is, unfortunately, as aesthetically

you, which direction you will

based as modelling. You have

The most important thing in life is to be happy. You spend most of your life working - and for what? If you can find something in this life that makes you truly happy, and you can make money from doing that thing, then hold onto it and take the leap of faith. Trust that the universe is unfolding as it should and that if you are meant to be a dancer then you will succeed!

Photograph by Dani Bower



Photograph by Dani Bower



Candoco Dance Company is a contemporary dance company of disabled and non-disabled dancers, inherently bringing new ways of doing and seeing dance. The companies’ ethos is to show an audience what dance can be, outside limitations. Candoco continue pushing other’s perceptions and ambitions for what disabled dancers can do. The dancers speak to Adam Gain and Susan Sentler two dancers from the company to find out what has bought them to dance and to Candoco. just being boys. I had to join in.

through my high school years.

What inspired you to pursue

What do you do

dance as a career?

outside of dance?

Kent who works for the prestigious

My high school teacher, Claire

I really enjoy photography and

Candoco Dance Company.

Kennedy, was definitely my

video production. It’s a different

Explaining simply that life would

inspiration. She believed in me and

creative outlet for me that is all

much more boring without dance,

pushed me to realise that dance

about the composition of light

Adam tells The Dancer why...

didn’t just have to be something

and movement in an image. I

fun to practice at lunchtime but

think there are a lot of natural

could be a career for me. I would

crossovers between dance and

A particular rainy lunchtime in my

never have imagined that I could

the production of images, whether

first year of high school, a group

have a job in dance, doing what

they are moving or still. Dancers

of boys were throwing themselves

I loved every day, if she hadn’t

have a trained eye to look out for

around, lifting, jumping, falling...

supported me the whole way

what they like and what they don’t

26-year-old Adam Gain is a twin (non-identical... though he hastens to add he’s not sure why this part is relevant!) from Orpington in

What brought you to dance?



- it’s definitely a transferable skill. What does dance mean to you?

I think we all bring our

But to try and pin down

uniqueness, but uniqueness

one aspect would be

is incredibly intricate. I

almost impossible.

Movement is an intrinsic part

bring my preferences, skills,

of who I am. I’ve always been

opinions, likes and dislikes,

someone that needs to move

and attitude into the studio

about and challenge myself

every day. So does everyone

physically to really get the most

else. We bring our whole self

out of life. I think dancing is

into dance and our whole

One of my tutors from Trinity

therapeutic if you can let go

self is naturally unique.

Laban Conservatoire of Music

and allow yourself to be expressive through movement. What unique aspect do you bring to dance? That’s a tough question.

That’s why I love dance, because one unique being dancing with another unique being creates a unique relationship in movement.

Tell us about the Company… How did you come to work with Candoco? What has made you stay?

and Dance, recommended Candoco to me and I auditioned a couple of times over the course of a couple of years. On both occasions I was very close, but it was never quite

Photograph by Dani Bower




the right time for me. Eventually,

in Cornwall to the Millennium

the right opportunity came up

Stadium in Cardiff. He’s always

and I’ve been dancing with

working on exciting projects.

Candoco for 9 months now. Each day is a new task, a new lesson, a new adventure with the amazing people around me... what’s not to like! What is it like working with disabled and nondisabled dancers? It’s like working with dancers. Every person has their own needs, preferences, and desires. But whether those things stem from cultural tendencies, family tradition or indeed sometimes disability, it doesn’t really matter. You just accommodate for each person as and when you need to. Otherwise, all I would say is that on the creative side of things it opens many more doors. What was your dancing experience prior to Candoco? After leaving professional training, I took part in a few short term projects here and there but mostly I was dancing as a company member at James Wilton Dance. I did a huge variety of projects with James that took me from performing in a slate quarry

Candoco is such a prestigious and boundarydefying company, but what makes it special to you?

performing “The Show Must Go On” at Tramway in Glasgow on the 22nd-23rd May this year. What can the audience expect? You can expect to be taken on a journey of emotions and, hopefully, you’ll be able to connect with the

I think Candoco explores

people around you. It’s a feel-

interesting new work and seeks

good piece that shows how all

out the risky options ahead.

people are the same at heart and people can come together

I don’t see the point in playing it safe. If you want to be relevant you need to be bold and Candoco does just that. I enjoy being involved in work that makes people think and feel and question and have opinions. I think that’s important for art; to be provocative and challenge peoples’ perceptions.

through that experience. What would be your advice for someone thinking about getting involved with a company like Candoco? Contact them. With any company or individual you want to work with, it’s going to feel daunting to contact them and make that first step. But if you have a genuine interest in a company, that’s only going to be received well. Make contact, ask

What has been your favourite

to get involved where possible

performance with Candoco?

and be patient. It may take

So far, it has to be performing in Jérôme Bel’s “The Show Must Go

some time, but the good things are always worth waiting for.

On”. It’s an exciting piece and everyone gets something different from it. It allows you to be human and show that on stage. We’ll be

Photograph by Dani Bower


modern dance and auditioned for

continue and had the ability and

dancer, currently living in London,

their MA programme in dance.

interest to ‘multi-task’ in various

and after 18 years of full-time work

At that point I was completely

areas in and around the field…

as a Senior Lecturer of Dance,

focused on the Graham technique

teaching, performing, direction,

she has returned to freelance

and, when FSU ceased to have

choreography, curating, etc.

work. Seeing herself as an artist

it during that period, I was

wearing multiple hats - a teacher,

determined to continue in New

a choreographer, a performer,

York. I finished my biology major

a researcher, a curator, a co-

and then left to NYC to dance

ordinator, a rehearsal director

at the Martha Graham School

As mentioned before, I was not

- Susan comes to tell The Dancer

of Contemporary Dance.

that ‘physical’ as a child. It was

Susan Sentler is 58-year-old

about her incredible career. Tell us your story... What brought you to dance? In 1975, while I was majoring in Biology at Florida State University, I started taking dance classes in their dance department. After a full year of ‘non-major’ classes, I had fallen absolutely in love with



What inspired you to pursue dance as a career?

What challenges have you overcome to pursue dance as a career?

a challenge for me from the start. And back in the 70’s and 80’s there was a lot of abusive

Frankly, it was very difficult for

teaching, psychologically

me. I was never really ‘physical’

speaking; playing one dancer

as a child. I had a talent for

off from another. If you wanted

visual arts or architecture, but

it, you had to swim in the non-

something about dance intrigued

nurturing landscape. When I

me. After NYC and dancing in

started teaching, I was determined

the second company of Graham

to be different, to create an open

‘the Ensemble’, I had a passion to

dialogue for all my students, and

to continuously grow and share

my choreographic work. I still

my interests and knowledge not

have both work and personal

only with my students but also with

contacts in Italy, having lived

colleagues. Now in my later years,

there for 10 years, so I frequently

there is a challenge to uphold the

visit. When I am there, I love to

depth and ethics of the art field in

bike ride and swim in the sea.

Higher Education and in the wider dance community. We need better resources and development for all; teachers, performers, students, choreographers, independent artists, etc. We need ‘artists’, not administrators, at the helm in

What does dance mean to you?

like without dance? My life has been so immersed in dance, so it is hard to say. I started seriously at the age of 19 and it has taken me to various parts of the world and is continues to grow for me. I must admit, my personal creative voice is closer

Dance is multi-layered for me, and is constantly evolving in my interpretation as I continue to be involved in it.

to that of a visual artist. However, through my dance practice, my ‘seeing’ is so embodied that it belongs and is inherent in that root. What is your greatest

leading the decision making.

achievement in dance?

What do you do

I feel it is, and needs to be,

outside of dance?

equivalent with the other art forms.

I believe it is shared in various

Thus the research and practice

places…being in this work,

should be in depth, and the inquiry

dancing with the Graham

and history need to be embraced.

Ensemble (most specifically

I adore visual arts! I go to galleries, museums, etc. weekly. I also enjoy photography and filmmaking, which I also use in

What would your life be

when I danced in the 1931 work Primitive Mysteries in 1985), my

Photograph by Dani Bower


teaching, my choreographic voice, and completing my MA in 2013. Who has been your biggest inspiration? I would have to say Gill Clarke. She had the vision to create the MA programme I studied - the MACP (Masters in Creative Practice, professional practice pathway) at Trinity Laban in collaboration with Independent Dance. Her teaching, knowledge, generosity and energy were outstanding. What unique aspect do you bring to dance? Unique is a strong word. I believe I am constantly proactive, finding links within the field to that of other practices. I’m always gathering ‘images’, ideas, and inspiration to add to my palate of imagery for me as performer, and I share continuously with my students, colleagues, and friends. Tell us about the Candoco... What made you audition? I have always respected the company and followed it since I arrived in London in 1992. Also, I have many ex-students

involved within it. I love their

and has allowed the work to

work, and their ethics.

pierce all levels of humanity.

What were you expecting

How did it make you feel the

from the audition? How

first time you performed with

did it compare?


I didn’t know what to expect. I do know that it was wonderful! It was during a difficult personal period for me, and the audition was absolutely uplifting. I

Fantastic! I can truly say this has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.

What would be your advice for someone thinking about getting involved with a company like Candoco? Do it! You will only grow and learn, not only as a dancer but also as a person, a human being. The generosity of the company, the directors, the whole organisation is brilliant.

told one of the directors that no matter what evolved, I was so happy to have had the opportunity. An incredibly positive, open, generous atmosphere was generated by the company, by the group of those auditioning,

That first performance felt like an infinite voyage, each section revealing a different tonality and time felt as though it stood still…or that each moment was caressed.

and the wonderful tasks and

Tell us about the upcoming

games that we dove into.

performances you have and

Candoco is unique for

what can the audience expect?

using disabled and non

We are now going to Nottingham

disabled dancers - what

and, in May, to Glasgow. I am

are the challenges of this?

so excited to be able to perform

How does this influence

this amazing work again, and

the performances?

moreover with these wonderful

I have never worked with disabilities in this way before. I have found it amazingly creative, learning and developing artistically. I believe it has made the performance more ‘human’

people. As for what the audience can expect, I’m not sure - all I know is that the work and the cast are brilliant. But we should never ‘expect’ anything; we need to be true to the work and to each other, and that is all we can do.

Photograph by Dani Bower


COOKIES In a household garage, Cookies started in 2002 with a handful of high school friends that share a love for dance. Little did they know that Cookies would later expand their reach all over the world. Directed by Keone Madrid, Carlo Darang, and Jason Patio, its current group of 36 members is comprised of dancers and choreographers, as well as full time students, 9 to 5 employees, and people with many other diverse careers and lifestyles. Representing various areas of San Diego County, CA, Cookies hopes to inspire and entertain audiences through their love for dance and passion for their team.



People dance when they want to let something out Dance has become a vessel for many to just escape and be free, which is sometimes all we need. team. Since then, Choreo Cookies

of the box” and to be beneficial

have been regular competitors

to our team at the time. We also

The team was founded by Emmett

at competitions like Body Rock,

try to keep the integrity of dance

Agapay and Eddie Macaranas

Vibe, World of Dance, and

and expression in our pieces.

in Oceanside, California. The

much more. In 2013, Choreo

team actually started out as just

Cookies became an independent

a group of friends who danced

dance company and changed

in a garage together. They were

their name to “Cookies”.

Cookies started out in 2002 as a team called Choreo Cookies.

then able to perform in front of a live audience in 2004 at a show called Full out Showcase 2004 where they performed annually. In 2007, Choreo Cookies merged with Studio 429 to re-establish itself as an adult competition



Although Cookies is widely recognized around the world and we’ve been blessed with amazing opportunities these

It is difficult to say what

past couple years, the team

Cookies’ artistic vision is

has been able to stay grounded

because it is always changing

and maintain a humble family-

from year to year. As we develop

oriented feeling - similar to how

as a team, the vision changes.

it was when it first started. We

However, as directors, we always

always strive to become better

strive to have our vision “outside

dancers and better people in

our rehearsals, but we make

with. If I love the person next to

sure the values and morals of

me in rehearsal, I will work 10

our team don’t change. The

times harder because of that.

team has naturally grown due

We have truly made lifelong

to their continuous hard work,

connections and friendships

but the team will always be

through this team because we

outside of ourselves. We wanted

“family first, dancers second”,

strongly believe in our saying

to be the voice for those who

no matter how much we grow.

“Family first, dancers second”.

didn’t have one, to make a piece

I believe Cookies stands out

Dancers can get involved with

from other companies due

our team by going through a

to our values and beliefs. We

very selective process. Cookies

believe that team chemistry and

is an invite-only team because

work ethic are very important

we are very particular about who

factors in maintaining a dance

we let into our “family”. Like I said

team. Although skill is important,

before, skill is very important but

it’s just as important for dancers

how they actually fit within the

to enjoy who they are rehearsing

team is the “make-it-or-break”.

With our pieces, we always try our best to dive much deeper than just dancing to the sounds of the music. We took it upon ourselves to dance for something

that would put certain things in perspective for the audience. Some people might even relate in one way or another with our message. Regardless, we always want the audience to FEEL SOMETHING through our dancing. Of course I believe that dance can make a difference. Dance

We always strive to become better dancers and better people in our rehearsals, but we make sure the values and morals of our team don’t change.

Photograph by ABADIMAGE


Some people might even relate in one way or another with our message. Regardless, we always want the audience to FEEL SOMETHING through our dancing. has become such a popular form

in so many ways. Some people

the cause we are trying to bring

of art over the past couple years

dance their problems away.

to light. When we found the song

due to the rise of social media,

Others dance in celebration of

“Brother” by Matt Corby, the

so it’s much easier to reach a

something. People dance when

idea just made sense. My Co-

large audience. Just like any art

they want to let something out.

Director, Keone Madrid, felt very

form, a powerful dance piece

Dance has become a vessel for

passionate about the vision. So

can inspire people to open up,

many to just escape and be free,

of course I said “Let’s do it!”.

share, and do some good in the

which is sometimes all we need.

world. It is our responsibility as

The original dance idea was

We were extremely amazed with

conceived when Keone found

the response we got from our

the song and explained what

“Orphans” set. Although we get

his vision was. Through some

I have seen dance change many

much praise from our peers, we

back and fourth, we came up

people’s lives for the better.

could never have been ready for

with a solid outline of what we

Since dance is such an amazing

+2 million views. We are just glad

could do with the song. From

form of expression, it can help us

that the exposure helps towards

there, we did what we usually

dancers and artist to promote positivity in our community.



do: learn the choreography, set formations, and clean. However, there were a few things that were

Winning Vibe 2015 was such an awesome achievement.

summer, and it always has such an amazing line-up. I guess what

Winning any competition is a

you can expect from us is just

new to us. Dancing with blankets

huge achievement! There was so

something different. We will always

was of course one of the more

much talent at the competition,

try to push the envelope one way

obvious things that we had to get

so of course it was a shock to us

or another, so that’s what you

used to. To be able to use a prop

when we won. However, having

can expect at Body Rock 2015!

like an extension of your body

our message reach millions of

takes much practice. This set

people was just as important.

also required a lot of emotional

Even if we didn’t win a trophy,

investment; it required us to call

the fact that many people

upon experiences that we may

appreciated what we were doing

not have previously wanted to

was already a reward in itself.

share with others. The set made us dance more from our hearts, rather than from our minds.

Our next performance is at a competition called Body Rock. This show occurs every

As a long term-goal, we hope that Cookies will always be the humble and loving dance family that it always has been. Like I said before, we may be blessed with many amazing opportunities but we will always make sure that we stick to our roots as a “family-oriented dance team”.

It is our responsibility as dancers and artists to promote positivity in our community.

Photograph by ABADIMAGE




A Stranger to himself Chantry Dance has come to tell The Dancer about the Chantry Dance Company and what sets the company apart from any other‌

Photograph by Dani Bower


Chantry Dance Company is a theatrical contemporary ballet company whose mission is to explore how dance can operate as a liberating art-form. It brings freedom of expression, mind and emotion to performers, participants and to the audience. The company aims to show the world that contemporary ballet is exciting and interesting, and can have a meaningful and positive impact on life. It can make you laugh, it can make you cry, it can give you hope and can even change lives. CDC is dedicated to bringing contemporary ballet performance and participation opportunities to as many people as possible. It’s made up of a professional performance company, an education department and an outreach department and all three strands have equal weight in realising this mission. CDC was formed in 2012 by co-Artistic Directors, and

with the producers, Chantry and Piper were commissioned to create 5 pieces for the ‘Chinese Calligraphy, Music and Dance Concert’ which were to be performed on Sadler’s Wells main stage - and so the Chantry

husband and wife, Paul Chantry

Dance Company was born.

and Rae Piper. Sadler’s Wells

During the Calligraphy project,

recommended Chantry and Piper to the “Chinese Ministry of Culture and Calligraphy Association” who were looking for a Western dance company to be involved in a show they were producing for UK performance. After meeting



CDC had the honour to work with Ronald Corp OBE and his orchestra, the New London Orchestra. As a result of this fortuitous meeting, Corp invited CDC to collaborate with him and poet Francis Booth to produce a

an outdoor ballet for the science and arts festival, Gravity Fields, called “Chasing the Eclipse”. This piece starred Dominic North, the principal dancer for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. The festival was held in Grantham and ‘Chasing the Eclipse’ was seen by over 4,000 people, many of whom would never have seen contemporary ballet before. This epitomises what CDC endeavours to achieve. The company holds a strong belief that dance is for everyone to enjoy and should not be confined to the big ‘cultural hotspots’ such as London, and shouldn’t just be available to triple-bill of new work. The three works - ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, ‘Lullaby for a Lost Soul’ and ‘Songs of the Elder Sisters’ - were all composed by Corp, and the evening marked the launch of his new CD recording them. Corp is now a patron for CDC, along with Aled Jones, Javier de Frutos, Aaron Silis, Simon Butteriss, Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Jane Hackett. From that triple bill, CDC has gone from strength to strength. They produced two independent UK national tours in 2013 and 2014 and were commissioned to create

those who have the finances to travel to such locations. Because of this, CDC takes their work to rural locations as well as to bigger cities. Tour locations so far have included Grantham, Stamford, Halifax, Worcester, North Hykekam, Bristol, Tonbridge and Exeter. CDC aims to make tickets affordable and offers free workshops to the theatres they tour to, allowing the community to become involved on a practical basis with the shows. The desire is to raise awareness of what contemporary ballet is, and what it can do as an art form - how it

Photograph by Dani Bower


can liberate, excite and entertain. The company has seen many audience members affected positively through their work. We often receive feedback saying they had no idea that’s what contemporary ballet was, and how much they had enjoyed it and been inspired by it. CDC extends this mission into their education

care homes or prisons. CDC’s

over the world and have joined

education department has many

CDC from Japan, Italy, France

programmes available to all

and Germany. All the dancers

levels of dance student - from

have an exceptionally high

beginner to those in vocational

standard of classical ballet and

training, from child to adult. The

contemporary technique - they

programmes offer classes in many

need this grounding in order to

different dance styles including

be able to execute the company’s

contemporary, ballet, musical

unique contemporary ballet

theatre and modern dance.

style. CDC has been joined by

and outreach work where they

The company also gives

teach young dancers. They also

performance opportunities to

provide performance and dance

its associate dancers, some of

engagement opportunities to

whom are invited to take part in the

those who have little or no access

company’s annual tour alongside

to a theatre - such as those in

the professional dancers. This is a vital learning experience for

previously worked with companies such as The Royal Ballet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Burklyn Ballet Theatre and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. Chantry and Piper have had

like to be a part of a professional

extensive choreographic

company. At the root of everything

careers –they have created

the company does, and what sets

work for The Royal Festival Hall,

it apart from other companies,

Sadler’s Wells, Birmingham

is a bold, passionate love and

Stage Company and, this year,

belief that dance is a redemptive

London’s West End. The dancers

art form, and that it holds a

work with Chantry and Piper and

power that is life-changing. Every

can learn from this experience.

day, CDC seeks to pass on this

Because of the choreographic

passion - whether that’s to their

process used in the company,

dancers, their students, the

the dancers are given a lot of

community, or to the audience.

autonomy in developing material.

brought together on a project basis, but often uses the same


of experience, some who have

them, as they discover what it’s

CDC’s professional company is


dancers with an excellent range

This allows them to feel they are trusted by the choreographers and helps them to develop as artists.

core dancers. The dancers

They also work with Gail

are brought together from all

Gordon, the company’s

The desire is to raise awareness of what contemporary ballet is, and what it can do as an art form - how it can liberate, excite and entertain.

Photograph by Dani Bower


dance director, who helps

for their next annual tour, which

them to develop their acting,

this year is a double bill. The

character work and narrative

audience can expect the two

arcs. Gordon is a legendary

pieces to be slightly different in

figure within the industry. A West

tone from previous years. The

End choreographer and former

first piece is entitled, ‘Vincent - a

Head of Dance at the prestigious

stranger to himself’, and is based

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School,

on the life and loves of Vincent

Gordon has endless amounts of

Van Gogh. The ballet pursues the

wisdom and theatrical knowledge

man behind the self-portrait who

to pass on, and deeply inspires

yearns for affection and balances

those who work with her.

genius with madness. The piece

Every day during rehearsals, the dancers take class with the company before starting work on the choreography. Due to CDC being a relatively small company of no more than 6-8 dancers, they become a tight-knit group, learning to trust and rely on each other and to motivate and encourage one another. Class is always a great experience, with dancers challenging themselves - and each other - to work harder, jump higher, turn faster and conquer aspects of their technique. Being a professional dancer is about continuously developing as an artist, and CDC aims to provide a place where dancers feel they are in a safe and nurturing environment where that can happen. Now in 2015, CDC is preparing



explores the artist’s relationship with the women in his life, as well as the relationship with his one true passion - his art. ‘Vincent’ deals with some very challenging and psychologically driven material which will be reflected by the choreography and production. CDC is looking backwards in time and draws inspiration from both the lady of modern dance, Martha Graham, and the Classical Greek era. The ensemble dancers will work as a “Greek Chorus” within

any other person who has been passionately driven in their work. The second piece in the double bill is ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’, set to Mozart’s famous titular work. The audience can also expect to be challenged by this piece, but in a different way. We ask the audience to become an active interpreter, rather than passive observer. The piece is designed to allow the audience the liberty to create their own interpretation of the imagery they are presented with. The choreographer invites the audience to decide what the dance piece is about and what it means to them, with the freedom of there being no “wrong” answer – this is hugely liberating and exciting. The audience will truly become part of the piece, as it is they who impart the meaning, not the choreographer!

the piece to draw the audience’s

The idea takes the delicately

attention to certain details and

balanced relationship between

to reflect the state of mind of the

performer and watcher to a

protagonist. But the main roles

new level. It will be interesting to

will be Vincent and ‘Art’ - an

discuss the results in the post-

anthropomorphisation of Vincent’s

show talkback sessions that

work and passion and their

CDC will be running later this

volatile relationship. The audience

year. Talkback sessions give the

will be able to draw parallels

audience the opportunity to ask

between Vincent and his art and

the dancers and choreographers

Photograph by Dani Bower


any questions and discuss any aspect of the show or the company. They are a great way of developing the audienceperformer connection, as well as proving a platform for each side to learn about the other. CDC’s 2015 double bill tour is being performed at various venues including The Guildhall Arts Centre in Grantham, The Arts Centre in Stamford, The Swan Theatre in Worcester, The Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax, as well as venues in London and Birmingham (tbc). CDC is also performing this year at Lincoln Dances on June 6th in Lincoln.




Always follow your heart. If you don’t think something is right, always speak up.

ZOE POLLARD HAS GOT TALENT Competitions are nothing new to 24-year-old Zoe Pollard from Leicestershire. Over the past 8 years she has taken part in various high-profile competitions around the UK, including Leicester’s Best Dance Crew, Midland’s Best Dance Crew, and Sky 1’s dance show Got to Dance. Last year, Zoe even reached the final of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent with her dance group, Addict. Having a taste of success, we ask Zoe what it’s like to have a hobby that puts her in the spotlight of the Nation. 51



When did you first start dancing? I first started dancing at two and a half years old doing ballet, tap and jazz. At the age of 16, I joined Addict Dance studios and started doing the commercial style of dance.

Best Dance Crew” and we came second. It was our first competition as a newly-puttogether group and we were so determined to win. In all honesty, we walked away feeling gutted that we didn’t get first place. A year later, after lots of training and with some new ideas, we were

What inspired you to pursue

crowned winners of “Leicester’s

dance as a career?

Best Dance Crew 2011”.

After going for an audition at

What was it like getting

Bodyworks in Cambridge, I knew that I didn’t want to pursue dance as a career, but I was more than happy to do it as a hobby. I’m very lucky to have been successful in a lot of competitions, especially those that have featured on TV, and have even had a taste of the professional side of the dance industry.

through to the live shows? After years of rejection from Got to Dance (we went 3 times and unfortunately never managed to make it to the live shows) I wasn’t feeling optimistic about Britain’s Got Talent. I remember standing in this posh, grand room in front of David Walliams, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, Simon Cowell

What was the first

and about 20 camera crew, feeling

rejection like?

drained. We had been there since

I remember the first time we competed in “Leicester’s

silly o’clock in the morning, with my phone and iPad confiscated,

Photograph by Dani Bower


It will be one of those stories that I can tell and be so proud to have been a part of. 53


and by 6pm, when we were

even think about preparing for

Britain’s Got Talent was the most

finally called to go in, I was

the finals - so when we were

amazing experience I could

ready for bed! David Walliams

saved we had just 11 days

possibly have had, and I have

paused for around 20 seconds

to prepare for the finals from

so many memories that will last

before he finally told us we were

scratch; theme, music, costumes,

a lifetime. It will be one of those

through to the live semi-finals - 20

everything! The pressure over

stories that I can tell and be so

seconds felt like 20 minutes! I

that week and a half was crazy!

proud to have been a part of.

Did it make your team stronger?

Any last words of wisdom?

Although I knew everyone in the

Always follow your heart. If you

team, I would say the experience

don’t think something is right,

did bring us closer and stronger.

always speak up. We took a risk,

As a group of 26 dancers I

I sat down and had conversations

wanting to be a part of the biggest

personally found it quite hard to

with people who I would probably

talent show in Britain. You have

interact with all of the contestants.

only say “Hi” to when we trained

to be prepared for the positive

I think they found it hard to get

once a week on a Sunday.

and the negative comments.

burst into tears with relief; all the hard work had finally paid off. Did you interact with all the other contestants?

to know us all as there were so many of us. Some of them were very friendly and chatty and

What was the biggest adjustment to your life?

others were quite reserved and we

For the whole time, I lived out of

didn’t really see them. Whether

a suitcase (which I hate because

they found us quite intimidating

I’m so organised!) but there

as a large group, I don’t know!

were times our choreographer

What was the pressure like?

on a bus first thing tomorrow” - I didn’t have much time to think

especially knowing it was live. It’s

or let things sink in sometimes.

but I think because I knew it was for Britain’s Got Talent my nerve

otherwise it will drive you insane!

would call us and say “you’re

The pressure was unreal, always bad to make a mistake

Never take anything personally,

How has the competition affected your life?

level increased by 1000! Also,

Well I’m not rich and famous, if

because we just so grateful to be

that’s what you mean! I wouldn’t

in the live semi-finals, we didn’t

say it has changed my life but

Photograph by Dani Bower


On Board with

Charlotte Balchin

Charlotte Balchin first stepped into her dancing shoes when she was just 2 ½ years old. Now at the age of 25, Charlotte has come a long way since then. From her sleepy home village of Kibworth Beauchamp in Leicestershire, to dancing on cruise ships travelling the globe, Charlotte has come to tell The Dancer her story...

for 6 months. It wasn’t exactly what

I started dancing as soon as

After going through a lengthy

I could walk at the age of 2

audition process at various

½ years old. My Grandmother

dance colleges, I gained a


used to dance when she was

scholarship to study at the

younger so I followed in her

Northern Ballet School in

I wanted to do but this was the first

child I really enjoyed my weekend

for 3 years studying all dance

dance classes. Before long,

styles. They were possibly the

dance classes were not only at

hardest and toughest years of my

the weekends but during the

dance training, but they were also

Having this first job on my CV really helped me to secure my next job as directors could see that, though a little limited, I had professional experience. Just a few weeks after I returned from Egypt I received

weekdays too.

some of the best.

an offer from MSC Cruises. Having

I always thought that a career

I was offered my first paid

in dance was something that I

dance job a few months after I

would love to do, but from what

graduated from Northern. Along

I had heard from older dancers

with several hundred other girls, I

it was not an easy route to take.

had attended so many auditions

So, to try something different, I

but without much luck so I started

did a week of work experience

to look online and create online

at a vetinary practice. I loved

profiles. It was while looking on the

animals, but I couldn’t see myself

website “Dancerspro” that I came

working there. So when it came to

across a job that was to become

choosing between university and

my first step on the dance-career

a professional dance college, the

ladder. I joined 3 other girls out in

decision was clear.

Egypt where we were to be based

dancing footsteps. As a young

Manchester. I attended Northern

and performed around the hotels



always dreamt of working on the big ships, and with a dream itinerary including America and the Caribbean, it didn’t take me long to accept the contract! I am now on my third contract with MSC cruises and I have been lucky enough to have visited many countries while doing a job that I love. I am literally getting paid to visit places like Brazil, Miami, Norway, and South Africa… This is definitely one of the perks of the job!

I love dancing on ships. You perform to a full audience every night and you are surrounded on stage by all your friends.

Photograph by Dani Bower


shape. I really enjoy running and

But of course there’s a lot of

the day with a few short breaks.

hard work involved. Before any

Then before you know it, its show

when you have a view of the open

contract, you go through lengthy

time! The shows are all done in

sea in front of you it can be a good

rehearsal periods. They usually

two sittings to work around the

way to switch off from ship life.

start on land in Italy for a couple

restaurant. The first show starts at

After this we then sometimes have

of weeks before you “install”

7pm and the second show at 9pm.

Library duty. This is done on a rota

the shows on the ship. Once on

Once the shows are finished, and

and it’s also a nice way to meet

board, rehearsals on the ship

your body is telling you that it’s

and interact with passengers.

usually start at 9am with a meeting

time for bed, you start rehearsals

with the Safety Officer. When you

once again. This time is usually

embark on any MSC ship you

used to get the show prepared for

have to undergo safety training

the next day.

so that you are fully aware of what your role is should there be an emergency of any kind on board. It’s an aspect of the job that a lot of dancers forget about. You are there to dance, yes, but you are also there as one of the ship’s crew and have certain duties. Rehearsals go on for most of

But as they say everything happens for a reason and those “no’s” have opened so many more doors for me. 57


These rehearsals don’t last for more then a few weeks though and before long you have your own day-to-day routine. A typical

Once the shows are done in the evening we are sometimes involved in themed activities that are going up in the passenger lounges. This can involve doing a dance or even dancing with the passengers in a dance competition. At the very end of

day at sea for me usual starts

the day, everyone usually heads

with breakfast and then I head

to the crew bar. This is basically

up to the crew gym. As a dancer,

the space for crew members to

although dancing every night, it

chill out and of course catch up

is still very important to keep in

with friends. That’s one of the

Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard to be away from your friends and family for months at a time, but once on a ship you join a new family.

things that I love about working

– because of the bad weather

show would be cancelled, which

on ships. You make friends with

conditions, the captain said that

doesn’t happen very often at all.

so many different people from

it would take five days to reach

But this type of weather is rare.

all over the world and there is

our destination! But, as the saying

You can feel the movement of the

always something to talk about.

goes: “the show must go on”! So

ship, but I am so used to it now

So there really is no time to get

after falling around backstage

that I can hardly tell.

bored while at sea! I love dancing

trying to get costumes and props

on ships. You perform to a full

ready, the curtain went up.

audience every night and you are

My advice to anyone that wants to maybe work on cruise ships

For safety reasons, we had

as a dancer is to not give up!

rehearsed a slightly easier

I had so many “no’s” before I

version of the show but we were

finally got a “yes”. As they say,

But it’s not always plain sailing

still falling around the stage -

everything happens for a reason

and there are of course risks to

the sea movements were very

and those “no’s” have opened so

dancing on a constantly-moving

unpredictable. In one dance I

many doors for me. Working on

ship. Most of the time the sea is

had to perform on the top of a high

cruise ships has been so much

flat and smooth, but there have

platform. I tried to move my feet

fun and has given me so many

been times when you can’t even

but I just felt like I was going to fall

memories. Don’t get me wrong, it’s

walk straight, let alone perform to

so in the end I was just moving

hard to be away from your friends

the high standard that is expected.

my arms. As soon as the curtain

and family for months at a time,

Once I was on a crossing back to

closed, and we all breathed a sigh

but once on a ship you join a new

Europe from America and we were

of relief, one of the larger pieces

family. What it has also taught me

crossing the Atlantic Ocean, which

of scenery fell on to the stage.

is to do what you love and you will

meant 4 days at sea. On day

Fortunately, no one was in that

never have to work a day in your

one, the sea started to get rough

area of the stage at the time! After


and by day two it had not settled

that, it was decided that the next

surrounded on stage by all your friends.

Photograph by Dani Bower


Samantha Grey In a world of Bollywood

26-year-old Samantha Gray has enjoyed an impressive start to her dance career. After a number of successful auditions and castings, she had the opportunity to work in India and experience the exotically glamorous world of Bollywood. Samantha tells The Dancer how it all began... I first started dancing when I was 3 at a local dance school in my home town of Oakham. I absolutely loved it and over the years that followed my life was just consumed by dance. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be a dancer. I was inspired and motivated by music and the very feeling of being on stage - it was addictive! I was 13 when I decided 100% that it was the career for me. My parents were super supportive and helped me along the way, especially when I got accepted into the highly acclaimed dance and musical theatre college “The Urdang Academy” in London. My first paid dance opportunity came after I finished college. I was scouted by an agency and they presented me with an audition for a small production called “Lady Cecilly’s Sound Box” and I



was lucky enough to be cast. The

days I had been offered the job! It

auditions came in thick and fast,

was a little surreal and quite nerve-

some of which I would be hired for

wracking to think that I would be

and others I wouldn’t. It actually

going to live in India for 6 months.

got to a point where I would be

It seemed such a long time to be

able to predict which dancers the

away from home and to be so

panel would select and usually it

far away, but I thought it was too

would come down to a specific

much of an exciting opportunity

look they were looking for.

to pass up - and there was the

After about a year my agent

added bonus that I would be paid!

retired her agency, which sadly

It was an amazing contract. I

left me a little stuck and having

travelled all around India and

to attend “cattle call” auditions

internationally too, visiting

instead of the closed auditions

places like Dubai and Thailand,

I had been used to. Luckily, a

all to work and all to dance. I

couple of my fellow dance friends

was living the dream! We would

from college had just got jobs in

sometimes do 2-3 music videos

India for the Bollywood industry!

a week depending on how much

They mentioned to me that the

we were needed. They would

agency who hired them was still

be super long days, sometimes

looking for one more member

stretching up to 16 hours. We

for the next contract. Without

would arrive on set around 6am,

hesitation, I sent them my CV and

have our hair and make-up done,

a headshot and within a couple of

have breakfast (usually provided),

Photograph by Craig McDermott


You do it for the love of it, you do it because there is no other feeling than being on stage and giving everything you have - you just have to remind yourself of that from time to time. And when things get a little tough, whack on some music and dance it out!

get into our costumes and then

shoot the exact same scene

things didn’t work out in the end,

wait to be called for our first shot!

a ridiculous number of time

the best decision I ever made

Some of the costumes were

before the director was happy

was accepting that contract.

absolutely gorgeous, with lots of

with what he had - some were

colours and materials – they were

more perfectionist than others.

simply stunning. Other costumes were very unusual! They used a lot of sequins on the costumes which, after a while, would start to scratch your arms and legs and got quite uncomfortable especially by the end of a long day of dancing. It would be such bliss to put on some hareem pants and a baggy t-shirt; a complete contrast from the costumes! We got fed throughout the day but usually we would have food from one of the many food chains such as subway or McDonald’s as the food provided for the rest of the crew was too spicy! Actually, after a while, I became quite fond of the food on set. While on set,

you would sometimes have to



You have to take risks and step out from your comfort

At the end of the day we would

zone when it comes to this

be told our call time for the

profession. The jobs won’t come

next day before heading back

to you until you’ve worked your

to our apartment or, if we were

socks off and done everything to

out of Mumbai (which was our

get yourself out there and noticed

base), to our hotel. If we had

– network, network, network!

finished our shoot we would most

Rejection is super hard to cope

likely be going to rehearsals

with, but it is all part of the job.

for the shoot or show the next

You just have to dust yourself off,

day. We got very little rest at

put your lipstick and eyelashes

times but it was all worth it!

back on, and hall ass to the next

I returned to India for another two contracts, both for 6 months, and they both sculpted me as a dancer and as a person. I would still be working there but sadly I was let down by the agency and they didn’t pay me part of my wages on my final contract, even after countless promises. Although

audition! You do it for the love of it, you do it because there is no other feeling than being on stage and giving everything you have you just have to remind yourself of that from time to time. And when things get a little tough, whack on some music and dance it out!

Tamsyn Blake being a freelance dancer

Tamsyn Blake currently works as a freelancer in London where she is living a dancer’s dream. As you might expect from any typical 24-year-old, she gets a kick out of seeing her name pop up when she searches for it online. But Tamsyn is far from typical. After being diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 17, her determination has enabled her to beat the odds and become the talented dancer she is today - and she has come to tell The Dancer her story...

I first started dancing just after we moved from Switzerland to England. I started doing ballet

while I was training. It feels like I just fell into the profession, rather than there being a single

no idea how difficult it would be and that’s even before I got to vocational training. People

first, then modern (not jazz, I

moment when I said to myself,

can tell you how good you are

was only 4 years old!) and then

“Yes… That’s what I want to do!”.

over and over and build you up

started tap. Everything else fell into place later on down the line; singing and drama lesson came at around 10 years old. I don’t remember when I decided that this was what I wanted to do with my life. It may

I was auditioning one Friday afternoon when I got an email from my agent about another audition the next day for a cruise ship. I hadn’t heard of the company, but I went and did my thing; I managed to look

so high that you feel like you’ll sail through the dance industry. However, what they don’t do is prepare you for the sheer amount of rejection, judgement and rollercoaster emotions that you experience in the industry.

have been a gradual decision

right, sound right and dance

when I realised that it was actually

well enough to convince them to

a possibility. I knew I wasn’t ready

fly me out to L.A for rehearsals

for vocational training at 16, and

just 6 weeks later. I can’t tell you

the top of me, pulling a muscle

I knew I wanted some sort of

how on top of the world I was!

in my back. It hurt, but I carried

educational back up. I did my A-levels so I could do a degree



When I started dancing, I had

When I was 16, I had a gymnastics accident - I landed on my head and my feet flew over

on. Around 18 months later, it felt like one shoulder was sitting

The dream is to be happy with my career by the time my body gives out on me.

Photograph by Steve Lawton


If I don’t keep myself strong and fit, my body will fall apart and I won’t be able to dance. And what happens then doesn’t bare thinking about.

higher than the other. It was. I was

have no idea how scary that

a reason”, because sometimes

diagnosed with scoliosis, which

is, to know that your pupils will

things are out of your control

basically means that my spine

be better dancers than you!)

and you have to trust that you

isn’t, and will never be, in a straight line. I won’t lie to you, I wish I didn’t have it, but on the other hand I’m kind of glad I do because I fight harder than everyone else as a result. Not because I want to, but because I have to. I have a fairly defined physique and people always ask me how I can be bothered to keep in shape. But it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. If I don’t keep myself strong and fit my body will fall apart and I won’t be

Nevertheless, I have been very lucky, and I have worked

My advice for any dancer

very hard in order to shape my

wanting to make it their

career. I’m performing in the Pet

profession? Work. Really hard.

Shop Boys musical, “Closer to

Don’t ever think that you’re ok to sit

Heaven”, which is playing at the

and chill for a moment, because

Union Theatre in Southwark until

there is always someone better

23rd May. I’m also part of Lukas

than you, someone working harder

Mcfarlane’s company “UnTitled”,

than you, or someone that wants

which is an incredible group of

it more than you. It’s hard. My

people who make magic... literally!

mum copes with it worse than I

It’s a privilege to work with them.

do; she feels my success and my

able to dance. And what happens

The dream is to be happy

then doesn’t bare thinking about.

with my career by the time my

I love telling young dancers about my scoliosis because it means that I won’t listen to excuses. If I can do it, they can too, and I know plenty of young dancers who will be better than me by the time they get to my age. (You



can’t help the outcome.

body gives out on me. I would love to be able to put a West End show on my CV, but life will take me where I’m meant to go. Any dancers you

meet will almost definitely tell you that the way they deal with the industry is to just repeat the mantra, “everything happens for

failures ten times over because she just wants me to be happy. I would say that that is the key to making it; be happy. Even when you’re not working professionally, find ways to make yourself happy and you will keep your head above water just enough to be able to take the next audition. You will make it, eventually, but only if you don’t give up.

Jessica Louise Allsop Dancing with Flames Photographer Dani Bower Make up Artist Emma Fay



If you love something why not live your life doing what you love? I wouldn’t change it for the world

Photograph by Dani Bower


I never ever thought I would learn how to breathe fire‌my students may call me a dragon, but I can literally create f lames whilst dancing!



From the age of five Jessica has dared to dream; to live with ambition, and fearlessly push the boundaries of performance. At 26 she is now ‘ living the dream’ as an itinerant Multi-Skilled Performer and Dance Teacher. Based, but by no means bound in the Midlands, Jessica takes her dancing, fire breathing and stilt walking skills across the globe - teaching young people along the way. She shares her story with The Dancer…

I started dancing in Leicester at the age of five, taking my first dance classes in ballet, tap and modern. When I won my first ever ballet solo, I realised I wanted this to be my career. I was one of the rare children that actually loved ballet, and the hard work it took to become one of those beautiful, elegant and strong dancers. However, as I got older I obviously got taller, and reaching 5’10” for some could prove a disadvantage, but I took inspiration from two of my favourite ballerinas, Sylvie Guile and Darcy Bussell, who are known for their height, and knew this was a career I wanted to pursue. I enrolled at The Arts in Education in Leicester Ballet Scheme and then went on to attend The Urdang Academy Associates. Many auditions for stage and ballet schools followed, as did summer schools, workshops, dance exam classes, competitions and shows, until I finally went on to college and

university to study dance.

a risk that people aren’t who they

After completing university I

say they are, which is upsetting,

searched everywhere for those

but something to be aware of.

all important auditions, but I

Breathing fire is the most

actually got in to two agencies through my best friend, which I will always be very thankful for. My first professional jobs were with AREA 51 and The Vegas Showgirls and Boys Ltd in 2010, and luckily I have been working for these companies ever since. It’s a relief to think I must be doing something right! Of course, there has been the occasional job that I have had to take with no pay; jobs found through dance websites and social media etc. My advice for this would be to ask yourself ‘how will this benefit me and my CV?’. Building your portfolio is crucial, but you train very hard to be good at what you do so don’t let anyone take advantage and keep yourself safe. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, research the company your working for and make sure you’re not having to pay anything

dangerous but definitely the most thrilling skill I have had to learn. By my training I was primarily a dancer, learning techniques such as ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, Bollywood, street and commercial - the list goes on. But I never ever thought I would learn to breath fire. When I’m teaching and shouting “pull your knees up!” or “stretch!” my students may call me a dragon, but I can literally create flames whilst dancing! Obviously being a Multi-Skilled Performer comes with many risks attached to to the job description. So proper training, practice, risk assessments, having the right insurance and a healthy dose of ‘common sense’ when working with fire, all help to create a safe and well executed performance.

upfront for representation. There is

Photograph by Dani Bower


Professional training is a must for people who want to perform with fire. Despite it looking very exciting, there is a huge risk attached to it and you could cause yourself some real harm. Make sure to use a reputable agency or circus school and always buy your equipment from established companies with good reviews like Fire Toys or Odd Balls, both of which can be found online. A typical working day would start with the most important thing - food! Keeping a balanced and varied diet is key for anyone but when you are very physical it becomes evident just how important this is to keep your performance levels high. Throughout the day I deal with many enquiries: people wanting help to look for work, employers enquiring about dance students and contracts coming through regarding future work etc. The social side of the performing life is a big part and if you can communicate your requirements effectively, then you should find things continue to roll in terms of available work. As a Teacher my day would involve setting choreography, sourcing suitable music,



Photograph by Dani Bower


considering the ability of my students and assessing their progress. This is all time consuming work and the challenge is filling it with quality despite the challenges you face, sometimes into the early hours! If a performance is scheduled in a city far from home then the preparation would begin in early evening: sorting through required travel bags, costumes and equipment and making travel arrangements as soon as possible. Travel often plays a huge role in this line of work and if you have no means of transport you may struggle to even get considered for some jobs. It is stressful at times, but if you’re willing to put the work in there can be great rewards. New Years trips to perform in Egypt or filming on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent (AREA51, 2012) and the Paul O’Grady Show (2014) can make all the long hours of training and late night planning much easier to deal with. Being a dancer is hard work and can seem non-stop but, if you love something why not live your life doing what you love? I wouldn’t change it for the world.



Photograph by Dani Bower



LOVE RUDEYE Stuart Bishop is the director of Love Rudeye the UK’s number one professional dance agency. Supplying choreographers, dancers, models and acts to the entertainment industry since 2001. We catch up with him in a London coffee shop where he gives us a valuable, experience based insight in how to be a successful working dancer. What do you look for in your dancers? I look for dancers who are going to stand the test of time and dancers, in a more selfish way, who will make me more money . We are the only agency that has a proper dance structure. We have regular Friday classes at Pineapple which have been running for 15years .Here dancers can come and show what they are doing, create a relationship with the choreographers and have an opportunity to access help and support from me personally. My aim is to get to know the dancers, to find out what their problems are and if they are real enough with themselves to also know. Normally its to do with the fact that they don’t live in London. They are waiting for” that job”. They are waiting to save up to move here. That job is never going to come



Do you think all your dancers should live in London? Absolutely. If you want to do commercial work you have

I am good at talking, branding,

so that if you have no money

marketing and communicating

they will still let you in. You need

with others and that’s what

to know the practical geography

helps you make it to the top.

of streets and tube stations so

to. All the agencies are in

The problem is colleges just

London and often we will get

encourage dancers to go

a last minute casting and it

for auditions, they don’t tell

could be for the afternoon

dancers to market themselves

.Even Essex is too far away. You need to be in zone 3 or4 so that you are immediately available. Living in London also creates an urgency

that you get around quickly and efficiently, it’s about 6 months of acquiring knowledge. The more you have the easier it becomes.

as business people, to be dance

This industry is full of people


living for the day. All they want is to dance behind a pop

People come out as great dancers but have no clue how to meet people and get jobs.

star. That sort of gig might make them £250, but getting to know choreographers or agents over time can

and motivation to get

lead to the campaigns and

work. You need the

commercials which can earn

job to live and pay the rent. How did the agency start? Charlotte and I set up the agency in 1999. When we split two years ago our working partnership became unsustainable. After six months I re launched Love Rudeye on my own.

The thing is when you leave

between £5000- £2000 in a day.

college and you aren’t getting

But if you don’t know anyone, don’t

work its not because you aren’t

know where to go and don’t know

a good enough dancer it’s

the dance styles, its impossible.

because you don’t know anyone. As a choreographer I am not

outside of London and don’t

to someone I don’t know and

come to the classes?

trust, I need to know they will do a good job or the agency,

in the industry lack?

and they risk losing hundreds

though I have danced at the highest level and choreographed dancers at an international level. I have done campaigns and judged at a high level. However

with the dancers who live

going to give an opportunity

What do you feel the dancers

I am not the best dancer, even

So, what is your experience

of thousands of pounds.

It often goes like this…. people who live out of town get an audition and get really excited, telling everyone. They come

My advice to those who are

down to Pineapple. Often they

starting out is get to know the

arrive last because they didn’t

choreographers, know every

know which end of the tube to

agency and every studio You

come out of. Then they get to the

need to know the receptionists

studio and are unsure where to

Photographs by Love Rudeye


go. They then realise everyone

not important where you got the

to recommend anything, I would

else knows the routine already and

training as long as you have it

say do your three years solid

are way better. “It’s cliquey” they say bitterly. In some ways it is and its bound to favour those who live in London. The weekly classes

If someone comes to me and says I want to be a dancer I say go to college,

teach the routines needed for imminent castings. Open auditions are more often a PR exercise for the choreographer and the agency and although

(I did four years at Bodyworks), because that is where you learn your discipline and develop your relationship skills.

training and in the third year start coming to Pineapple. What do you think about dance in university courses? I think if you are going to be a dancer you have to start in the industry younger, at 18, if you do a dance college. Universities don’t provide enough intensive

there is always the possibility

I feel that people who train outside

classes in subjects such as

that they may lead people to jobs

of London are often better as

ballet. A couple of classes of

the reality is that they rarely do.

they are fully focussed on training,

ballet a week is not enough.

People at London schools do not

I don’t think universities or

always finish their course or they

colleges offer enough industry

dilute it by working while doing

knowledge. They are full of

Dancers don’t realise that as soon

their training.. However, training

teachers who haven’t quite made

as they walk through the door I

outside of London can lead to the

it or are still on their way up.

can tell if they have been trained,

risk of not ending up in London

I can tell from the way they walk

which is essential. The ones who

or the way they are looking at the

do train in London are already

choreographer, I can tell if they

here and know the area, swings

We take on average 50 people on

have studied ballet or jazz. It’s

and roundabouts really. If I was

an agency audition .After 2 to 3

Does a dancer have to be professionally trained?



Do a lot of dancers who come to you give up easily?

years only 10 to 15 remain. People

people do absent minded in this

can be amazing on the day but

industry. Take email addresses,

the fall out rate is huge, simply

An email address needs to

because people give up or don’t

have a dancer’s name in it.

use their brains. We have classes

The number of SEXYCHICK@

Amazing Photos! Basically if you

running all the time and they are or Drunkmomma@

are on an agency website you

packed. You would think they is unbelievable. An

are going to need 5 or 6 pictures.

would be packed with professional

email address reflects a person

You need different looks for that.

dancers but the majority are

‘s professionalism. Also, when

The big all day auditions are no

dancers still at college or walk ins.

we have a casting and we know

longer the way castings happen .

I’d say only 20% are professional

we are going up against other

I can now do castings in an hour.

dancers and you would expect

agents we go through a dancers

Amazing photos is what is needed.

so much higher. For some

list and we type in the start of

I can tell exactly where people

reason they don’t see the link.

the name into the email list .

are at through their photographs,

When I was a dancer any sniff of a choreographer teaching and I would be in that class .

appear they do not

or been trained, or if it is their first

get contacted. It is so

shoot. It’s all in the confidence

basic and the colleges

behind the eyes. You have to

are not telling them!

know what you want out of a photo

changing room before hand

your dancers worked with?

join them in the café afterwards so I could talk to them and start to create a relationship. People come into Pineapple 30 seconds before class, in their dance gear, do the class and leave; They might as well not come to the

dancers who get directed by

for big campaigns with Samsung,

photographers to pose in a certain

Nokia, Nestlé for tours with people

way and look uncomfortable

such as Will i Am, JLo, Paloma

doing it . It all depends on the

Faith, Calvin Harris and many

Photographer you get, A lot of

other pop stars.. I mean literally I

the time people have their friends

could be here all day with the list.

doing the photos and it shows.

you get for your dancers?

There are so many things that

for. That comes with experience.

dancers or choreography for T.V,

coming to classes is not what

are there to get yourself work.

to say this is the look I am going It is amazing the amount of

What is the most regular work

be as intensive as college. You

shoot and have the confidence

Over the years we have supplied

class. The important part about you learn, because it will never

Dancers portfolios?

whether they have danced before

What people have you and

speak to him/ her and I would

What do you look for in

If the name doesn’t

I would make sure I was in the in case there was a chance to

Barcelona. What we do is vast.

I would say music video, commercials and corporate/ fashion shows, for example trade shows for Porsche in

They are sending them out to agencies and it is embarrassing because they are not resized properly and they look amateur. I have also had so many who have emailed me saying how much they love the agency and

Photographs by Love Rudeye


want to be apart of it and you can

It’s all about coming to class. I

old bug us everyday and we let

see they have CCd every other

will help you, develop you and

her come to class. She became

London agency into the email.

give you advice. I will be brutally

our highest earner for a number of

truthful. If you have big teeth-

years, until she went to college. I

braces get them sorted, if you

have choreographed commercials

have dirty teeth- whiten them, if

for companies like Sainsbury’s and

Now all of a sudden they are

you don’t know how to do make

Clarks for kids. Looking after kids

important, but it vital not to expose

up go down to MAC get a tutorial

is tricky, there is a vast amount

too much of your self. Footage

with proper make up that will

of responsibility associated with

of you in class tells me you are

last, if you have a massive nose

it. Also, young children are often

not working. I need footage of

have a nose job, if you have a

pushed into fulfilling their parent’s

you doing music videos and TV

fat face don’t have short hair.

dreams and when they are old

Are showreels as important as portfolios?

shows, live events, filmed with decent cameras. Everything is exposed in Showreels and you can’t get away with poor images.

You don’t have to be a Barbie doll you just have to have the confidence that you have made the best of yourself and created your own unique look.

Do you do photos and showreels?

What are the definite No No’s when people contact you?

enough to make their own decisions they opt out. Do first Impressions count? Everything is about

communication. When you are on the phone to an agent you need

Yes we do. We are focussed on

Ignorance. If someone rings

to be aware they are busy so you

quality and we are well priced.

me and say’s “How do I get on

need to know what you want out

We are not trying to create a

the Agency?” that tells me they

of the conversation. Make sure

“photoshoot experience.” As

haven’t looked at our website and

you are not wasting their time with

an agency we go back to the

they haven’t done their research.

questions that can be answered

photographer and tell them what

When we tell them about classes

through the website. You’ve got

we recommend and the images

they utter the immortal lines

to make sure you come over

that will get our dancers work.

“Do you have the address of

confident. You have to listen to

We know if you present them in a

Pineapple?” It’s common sense.

the advice the agent gives you

Do NOT get your mum to

First impressions are important

call up! We have that at

but it is more important to build

least twice a month.

a relationship. Just sending your

certain way they will get the jobs and we will get the commission. So it’s also in our interest to do the best for our dancers. How do you get dancers up to Love Rudeye standard?



How young are your dancers?

picture to me is not enough, you have to get to class because

19 is the youngest we normally

the work we do is too high

go. In the past we had a 17 year

profile to take the risk on an

anonymous dancer, there is too

I wasn’t the best dancer at

me who achieved that. It should

much to lose. I need to know the

college in fact there was about

have been the best people. But

dancers in order to trust them.

50 in my year and I was probably

they didn’t have the drive. They

ranked 49. It was back in the 90’s

weren’t the ones who wanted

where the ballet teacher would

it enough, or the ones clever

Ryan Jenkins was on so you think

hit you on the back of the legs if

enough to realise if you can’t get

you can dance UK second series.

you weren’t standing correctly,

jobs you create the work yourself

He is an amazing contemporary

teachers would smoke in class it

and you do your own thing.

dance choreographer. He will

was a very different world.. By my

be our 10th class at pineapple

3rd year there were eight of us

and fits a bracket that we

left. People got pregnant,

don’t have, so it’s exciting

ran out of money or just

that he is joining the team.

quit. I was probably then

Who is your new Chorographer?

What is the reality of the industry? This industry is harsh and I have to be the one to tell dancers the truth about their abilities as well as their looks and personality. It may be a truth that no one has had the courage to tell them before. It may be tough to hear but in the long run I am doing them a favour. What got you to where you are today?

Best Advice you can give?

The most important thing is that anyone can make it,

ranked 8th. With in a year there were only 3 left working in

if you find a way to make it.

the industry- me, Charlotte and

LISTEN to the professionals in the

Caroline Flak. All these years

industry, take their advice. Use

later the three of us are still going.

common sense when connecting

So, technically, I went from rank

with people. It is no ones fault

49th (there was one person who

but your own if you don’t make

was worse) to rank 8th to 3rd.

it. Dancers should not accept

Should I have been the person who has had this career? I have worked non-stop as a choreographer, worked in

The most important thing is to be determined, to be in it and to be confident.

America from program to program, taught all round the world, master classes

bad pay or bad conditions. Have confidence in your ability and build relationships. I am at Pineapple every Friday for class, if any dancers would like personal advice come and see me.

from Moscow to Japan, to Peru. It shouldn’t have been

Photographs by Love Rudeye


“Mak in g d an ce acces s ib le to all!� Da nce cl a sse s fo r a l l l e v e l s, a l l st yl e s, a l l we l co me , 7 da ys a we e k!


7 Lan gle y St re e t , C ove n t G arde n , W C 2 H 9 JA



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Jas Kent is a 20-year-old dancer based in Liverpool, currently nearing the end of her first year on the BA (honours) Dance course at LIPA (The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts). Loving every minute as she explores the world of dance, Jas tells The Dancer what it’s like to be an up and coming dancer of today....

Photograph by Dani Bower


You need to know your weaknesses and work on them until they are your strengths.



helped me to gain a place at

and the course and knew I had

LIPA (The Liverpool Institute for

to be there. I was so determined

Performing Arts) where I am now

and it was so hard but I did it,

– it’s an amazing place to train

and I’ve never felt such a massive

and I’m loving every minute!

sense of achievement before.

make up my own routines; I was

What has been the biggest

What is the hardest thing about

always a bit of a performer! My

risk you have taken in

pursuing dance as a career?

inspiration was a dance teacher,

your dance journey?

What inspired you to dance? I’m not quite sure what inspired me to start classes as I have always been interested in dance. I used to copy moves from the telly and

Thomas Ashton, who taught at my school. I was completely inspired by him, his style and his passion for dance; everything he said and the styles he taught just clicked with me. I fell completely in love with dance and I knew this was the career for me; there was nothing else I wanted to do. How did it all begin? When I was 12, I started dancing once a week with a contemporary and choreography class at the Variations Academy of Dance in Cheltenham. When I was 16, I also started doing a dance BTEC at Cirencester College in

For me it was when I had to

not compare myself to the others

decide which dance school to join.

around me. Everyone is different

I was offered a full scholarship

in dance, and everyone stands

with Addict Dance Academy,

out for different reasons. Although

which is an amazing school. But

you need to push yourself in the

I was also placed on the reserve

areas you aren’t comfortable in,

list for LIPA, which meant that

and work on the things you aren’t

I would get a place if someone

good at, you also need to stay

dropped out and a space became

positive and never let yourself

available. I had to give Addict

get down. If the people around

an answer before I knew if I had

you have something you don’t,

a definite place at LIPA, so I

you need to learn from them see

decided to take the risk – I turned

what they have got and get it for

down the scholarship at Addict

yourself! It’s all about being in

and crossed my fingers that LIPA

the right mind set, which is easy

would eventually offer me a place.

to say but difficult to do. I notice

Luckily, it was worth the gamble!

this when I’m training now, but

the evenings – this was when

What has been your biggest

I started to take dance more

achievement so far as a dancer?

seriously and began to think of it as a possible career. A year later I started doing the Performing Arts BTEC and, in my spare time over the summer, I would travel up to London to train at workshops run by Thomas Ashton. The combination of this experience

The hardest thing for me is to

So far my biggest achievement would be securing a place at LIPA. After looking and auditioning at

staying positive is something that will follow you into your career and throughout life. What are the biggest pressures you face as a dancer?

other places, I quickly realised

I think it’s different for every

this was the place for me and the

person, but for me personally I

only place I wanted to train. I fell

feel the most pressure to be a

completely in love with the place

triple threat. I am not much of a

Photograph by Dani Bower


singer or an actress, and I get

particularly sad or depressing

really nervous when I have to

piece at all. It was a story that

perform either. The course at

was beautifully choreographed

LIPA helps me in these areas

and played by the dancers

and I am slowly starting to feel a

emotionally and physically, and I

little more comfortable in these

was left feeling completely fulfilled

aspects of performance.

- it was absolutely amazing.

How much dance do

What do you enjoy the

tour and perform a commercial

you do in a week?

most about dance?

contemporary number for Lana

I generally train from 8am- 6pm

I love performing, but I also

every wekday, and that includes

love working at something - if

a few theory lessons, singing and

something doesn’t feel right, or I

acting. That’s just at LIPA – aside

can’t get a move, I work at it for

from that I do an evening class

weeks, months sometimes even

on a Monday and a Thursday

years, and then one day it clicks.

for an hour and a half each.

That’s the most amazing feeling,

What is your favourite style of dance? I love commercial and contemporary, but my absolute favourite style is a combination

when all of the hard work pays off. Then I work to perfect it – there’s always something to improve!

style and works beautifully.

show in Disney Land Paris, the Olympic torch event in Cheltenham and the Apprenticeship Awards. I also danced in the Fashion and

‘A woman, her life, and then…”-

Beauty show in Cheltenham,

The Ashton Dance Collective - this

performed at college in Seussical

was a piece by Thomas Ashton

[a musical by Lynn Ahrens and

and danced by his collective.

Stephen Flaherty based on the

It was a completely emotional

books of Dr. Seuss] and have also

journey. I was brought to tears

performed in many shows at LIPA.


as a freelance dancer, working on tour and making music videos. My one dream job would be to

Del Rey all over the world! I also dream to be part of parttime contemporary companies such as The Ashton Dance Collective, as it’s just so unique and the pieces are so beautiful! What will make you succeed as a dancer? Hard work. Natural talent will help, but that will only get you when talent doesn’t work hard

memorable shows including a


I hope to be working successfully

performed in?

contemporary” - it is a very distinct

in moments, but it wasn’t a

job and a goal for the future?

so far. Hard work beats talent

I have performed in many

dance productions?

years, do you have a dream

What shows have you

of the two, “commercial

What are your favourite

Where do you want to be in 5

enough. If you want it, and set your mind to doing everything in your power to do it, you will eventually get it. You need to know your weaknesses and work on them until they are your strengths. Don’t ever avoid something just because you’re not that good those are the things you should be working the hardest on.

Natural talent will help but that will only get you so far. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Photograph by Dani Bower


UP coming &


18-year-old Molly Beebee is currently studying dance with the London Studio Centre. Starting her dance journey at a young age and identifying it as a career opportunity, Molly shares with The Dancer how her passion and devotion to dance took her to where she is today and about her hopes for the future‌

Photograph by Dani Bower


When did you first start dancing? I started aged 2 and a half, and I was maybe 4 or 5 years old when I realised that I could pursue dance as more than a hobby. What inspired you to dance? I really looked up to the older dancers at Cirencester Creative Dance Academy (CCDA) – I used to watch videos of our shows and dance along with their numbers, trying to copy what there were doing. Now I find dancers to look up to by going to watch performances in my classes at LSC and on Youtube. So my inspiration definitely comes from watching other amazing dancers and wanting to be able to do what they can do. What are your favourite dance productions? I’m a sucker for a classical ballet and will go to watch Swan Lake any day. I also went to see Christopher Wheeldon’s “Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland” just before Christmas, which was brilliant and a more modernised take on ballet. Of course the royal ballet company was beautiful but the set and costumes were also particularly stunning. I enjoyed



Wayne McGregor’s “Atomos” for the intensity and beauty of the dancers, and it was intriguing to watch the relationships between them constantly developing. Candoco Dance Company are also amazing; they are a company of disabled and non disabled dancers and if you get the chance I would definitely recommend going along to see any one of their productions. I saw their show “Playing Another” which was an “exploration of the

I trained with Katherine Lucy Bates

dancers individual personalities

at CCDA for 15 years and from

and physicalities, interrogating

16 to18 I took a day of classes

questions of what identity is,

every week at London Senior

how it is formed and challenging

Ballet. Now I’m in my first year at

audiences to think beyond

London Studio Centre (LSC).

surface appearances”. It’s very interesting, a lot of dance and public perception of dance is

What is your favourite style of dance?

quite image based, which puts a

I love contemporary, which is

big emphasis on appearance.

pretty broad! Maybe that’s why

What has been your dance training?

I like it, because you can try so many different things. I like it when it’s classically rooted, with

Photographs by Dani Bower


Keeping sight of your dream, focus and working hard is all it takes

goes into every show and we all really enjoy being a part of it! When I was younger I did show called “Young Performers”, which is a show open to dance schools from across the country. It gives young dancers enrolled in these dance schools an

prominence on a strong core and lots of elegant extended arms and legs. I enjoy feeling that I’m using my whole body. What has been your biggest achievement as a dancer? Being accepted at LSC has been a massive personal achievement and milestone. Getting accepted into a dance school isn’t just a nice thing to say - it’s a huge step in the right direction for a career as a dancer, so I’ll go for that! I also received a full scholarship for my second year

opportunity to perform in a West End theatre – it’s very exciting! We spent a day at Her Majesty’s theatre rehearsing our numbers for the show in the evening. What is the hardest thing about pursuing dance as a career? You have to be completely self-motivated. There’s nobody standing above you telling you that you have to do it. It’s hard, but so rewarding. Keeping sight of your dream, focus and working hard is all it takes. What do you enjoy the

at London Senior Ballet. That

most about dance?

was a big achievement as it

It’s fun! You get into the flow of

was awarded for performances, something that I had found challenging when I was younger. What shows have you performed in? CCDA puts on a fantastic summer show each year, so I had a lot of opportunity to perform there. So much hard work and love



it and stop thinking about other stuff. I love the family environment amongst dancers; it’s really supportive and we’re all there together, doing what we love. What has been the biggest risk you have taken in your dance journey?



It’s so easy to compare yourself to others and start putting yourself down. It’s not productive though, you have to be yourself and focus on your strengths.

I was always pretty intellectual

yourself to others and start putting

doing some research that can help

at school and I was expected

yourself down. It’s not productive

dancers get the most out of their

to go on to study something

though - you have to be yourself

careers. The work of the National

academic at university. I made

and focus on your strengths.

Institute of Dance Medicine

the decision for myself that I

It’s important to recognise

Science (NIDMS) and Dance UK

could go to university at any age,

and work on your weaknesses

is incredible and I’d love to be a

and that I had to try and make

and keep a positive mind.

part of that. But, ultimately, working

something of myself as a dancer while I have the opportunity. Maybe that could be my biggest

What will make you succeed as a dancer?

achievement, following my heart

I think that there are several

and passion and giving it a go.

aspects. Being versatile and

How much dance do you do in a week? I’m at college 5 days a week. I spend time in the studio before and after class and I’m in classes for about 5 hours each

happy to give anything a go, but also finding the balance between working hard and not taking yourself too seriously. What is your dream job and goal for the future?

day. I couldn’t tell you exactly

I’d like to join a contemporary

how many hours but it’s a lot.

dance company and tour

What are the biggest pressures you face as a dancer?

as a dancer... that’s the dream!

abroad with them, and I’m also interested in dance science. So, somewhere in the future, I see

There are a lot of incredible

myself undertaking a Masters

dancers! It’s so easy to compare

in Dance Science at Laban and

Photograph by Dani Bower


Catch me

if you can

22-year-old Austyn Farrell catches up with The Dancer after touring with Thriller in Australia. With his feet not yet touching the ground as he travels back from his latest tour, Austyn shares his journey from leaving Dance College to becoming a performer at the West End and his remarkable launch into life as a working dancer. By saying “yes” and taking a risk, Austyn has achieved a life in dance well beyond his own expectations…

Dancer-Austyn Farrell Photography - Dani Bower Styling - Leicster College of Performing Arts - Proffessional Musical theatre department



If you work hard and put yourself in the way of opportunity, have the bravery to take a risk and say yes, it can take you to places and show you things you wouldn’t have thought possible.



I first started my training in musical theatre at the age of 17 at Leicester college of Performing arts. A big inspiration

support me. I remember how incredible it felt, how it made everything so clear. It’s something that still drives me to this day,

of mine is Brian Friedman from

the feeling of pride in something

America, his style and talent is

you are so passionate about.

something that I have always strived to emulate. He has danced for many artists that I would love to dance for, such as Beyonce and Britney Spears. I auditioned for one of my favourite agencies, Dancers inc, in 2013 and was privileged to be taken on by them. I then

Just after The Voice, I had an audition for West End hit musical, Thriller Live. When I stepped through the door I remember thinking: “I’m not going to get the job, they want one male to join the cast and there are plenty of dancers here that are better than me”. But

had the honour of receiving

my teacher, Mark Webb, would

an invitation to audition to be a

always say “Live the dream”. It

backing dancer for the BBC’s

was kind of an epiphany; I thought

The Voice (UK) the same day. I

to myself I’m not going to live

auditioned and was successful,

the dream if I don’t fight for it.

which meant I was able to perform in the first live show on the BBC. It was my first paid dance job. I got such a buzz and a kick of adrenaline from that live TV performance and I knew that was what I wanted to do. I

It was the day after I graduated when I got a phone call to say I would be starting rehearsals in 4 weeks. And there it was again, that overwhelming sense of pride - albeit mixed with a few nerves! I remember being in my

remember coming off stage and

garden on the phone, walking

receiving messages from friends

backwards and forwards in shock.

and family. It was amazing - that

Being excited, nervous, amazed,

feeling of making those closest to

proud and euphoric all at the

me so proud is greater than any

same time is something I only

gift I have ever experienced. All

get from dance. It reminds me

my college friends got together

that I am doing what I’m meant to

and gathered round the TV to

be doing and, if you really want

Photograph by Dani Bower




I thought to myself, I’m not going to live the dream if I don’t fight for it.

Photograph by Dani Bower


something, with determination

places and show you things you

and fight you can choose to

wouldn’t have thought possible.

make it happen. After performing for a year and 4 months in the West End’s “Lyric Theatre” I was offered the opportunity to go on tour with Thriller to Australia and Malaysia. It was a risk, but after speaking with my friends and family, and asking my agent for advice, I chose to accept the tour.

I would say one of the hardest parts of my career as a dancer is getting close to people and having to say goodbye at the end of the performance. Earlier I had to say goodbye to some of the Australian dancers that were on tour with me and there was not one dry eye in the cast.

I’m currently writing this article

Some of those people I would

on-board my last flight back to

now class as my best friends and

the UK after the tour. I’m sitting

it seems unfair that we live half

here looking at the keyboard,

way around the world from each

reflecting on that phone call in

other. One of my friends quoted:

the garden and how far I have

“good friends are hard to find,

come (literally) with dance. I find

harder to leave and impossible to

it difficult to put into words how

forget”, which I find to be so true.

thankful I am that I’ve had the opportunity to tour with such amazing people who are so talented. We have all shared so many memories with each other; swimming with dolphins, having a shark evacuation at Bondi beach, Mardi Gras, Sydney Opera house and so many more experiences that we’ll never forget. Dance isn’t just something that you can or can’t do. It can be much more powerful that that if you let it. If you work hard and put yourself in the way of opportunity, have the bravery to take a risk and say “yes”, it can take you to



To other people wanting to take dance as a career, I’d say that if it’s in your heart then do it - and put everything you can into it! I had the choice to play football or be a dancer and I followed my heart. Now I’m being paid to dance and explore the world, meeting new friends, new people and new cultures along the way (and I get to play football on the beach!). For me, right now, I can truly say that I am living the dream.

Photograph by Dani Bower


James Rowbotham

Dance Photographer

After leaving the oil and gas industry, Jim Markland started his photography career at James Robotham Dance Photography and has since built an extraordinary portfolio capturing shots of dancers and aerialists in studios, on location and in performance. Alongside his shoots, he also runs a series of very popular workshops for photographers wishing to shoot dance. Jim gives The Dancer a glimpse into his world of work and an idea of what it takes to get “that shot.�



Photograph by James Rowbotham


When did you first start shooting dance? I first started shooting professional dancers in Plaza Dorrego in the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires. It’s a popular place to find Tango dancers, especially at weekends.

find conventional model shots so boring! When I went to visit an exhibition of the best of the “2014 Taylor Wessing Prize competition”, I wanted to tell the subjects “Don’t just sit there…do something!” - I wanted to see some life!

I was there on a business trip

Have you had any

in 2006 and had been hooked

Photography training?

on the music ever since my first visit to the city some years earlier. I remember shooting with dancers El Indio and the lovely Roxana Suarez – much of the time shooting below the waist as the background was so cluttered! I have been back there several times since and now have a small circle of friends who perform regularly there. It was a real pleasure to see one of them, Natasha Lewinger, recently performing on TV when Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley were presenting “Dancing Cheek to Cheek: An Intimate History of Dance” on BBC Four. Why did dance photography appeal to you?

Yes - I was taught the basics of portrait photography by Simon Young; an excellent instructor who has kick-started the careers of many photographers. When I retired from my previous career in the oil and gas industry, I decided that I needed to know more about dance photography. By then I had become aware of the work of Lois Greenfield and could think of no better plan than to spend a weekend in her New York studio with her team. That was the real start of my serious dance photography; partly because I then had a framework to build on, but also because I had much more time to practice. Even though I had been able to

I’m not really sure how to answer

summarise what I had learned

that in one simple sentence. In

that weekend into just a few

part it is the movement, but there

bullet points, it really took quite

are so many other factors - it

some time for me to realise what

might be easier to explain why I

it all actually meant… and now



When I went to visit an exhibition... I wanted to tell the subjects: ”Don’t just sit there…do something!” I wanted to see some life!

Photograph by James Rowbotham


Whatever we do, I expect them to deliver good dance practice within the style we are seeking to follow.



sometimes, in the workshops I

my portfolio in some way. That

even managed to get the centre

run, I find myself wondering why

may be because it presents

spread in the Polo Times - and

some people find it so difficult!

a new technical challenge, or

that was from a test shoot!

What do you look for in a dancer when you are photography them? That depends on what we are trying to do. I definitely want them to be photogenic and I do look for physique, but the physique of today’s ballerina can be very different from that of a contemporary dancer - and of course the ability to execute pointe work can be a huge advantage at times. So, it depends. I certainly appreciate physique and physical flexibility. Whatever

that we have found a really cool location, or it has some other new element. It may also be because we simply “click”. Who has been your favourite dancer to shoot?

were so expressive, but ballet is

enjoy shooting with a young

always the most popular for the

Russian friend, Daria Mikhaylyuk.

workshops. Last year I began

Daria come from Vladivostok

to focus on aerialists for a while

and spends most of her time in

and really enjoyed that too.

Vancouver. Daria absolutely loves to act; we have so much fun!

are so inventive and incredibly

be suitable and there are several dancers with whom I have worked numerous times. Failing that I might ask around or, if all else fails, I will post a casting call.

be too. I remember once being

out for different reasons. I really

style we are seeking to follow.

worked with if I think they might

photogenic but other genres can

I shot Swindon Tappers as they

friends at Lila Dance - these guys

I tend to ask people I have already

contemporary ballet are incredibly

there are a few that really stand

good dance practice within the

to photograph?

Professional Tango and

very pleasantly surprised when

I also really enjoy working with my

which dancers you want

favourite to photograph?

There are too many to name, but

we do, I expect them to deliver

How do you choose

What style of dance is your

professional, and we are always very happy to work together.

What work are you most proud of? Well there are a few images that are not dance that I am intensely proud of, and they were mostly opportunistic. There is one Tango shot from Casa del Anibel

Another I must mention is Ksenia

Troillo in Boedo that fits that

Ovsyanick of the English National

bill; I just happened to be in the

Ballet. Ksenia came to us for a

right place at the right time. The

weekend some time ago and is

costumes worked perfectly and

a fabulous dancer. We produced

the pose, captured on the spur

some amazing shots both on

of the moment, worked for me.

location and in the studio. Annette Richard Binns made a tutu for Ksenia from tea-bag paper for

These days I will usually only

the images we shot in Pittville

shoot something if it adds to

Pump Room colonnade. We

Then there’s the absolutely iconic shot I created with Natasha Czarniewy was shot in Lois’s studio. Lois came into the room just as we were doing it and she was, I am delighted to say, suitably impressed! Otherwise I might like an image Photograph by James Rowbotham-


I am looking for images that make people sit up and pay attention. The more interesting images are ones that people haven’t seen before.



because it was, somehow, technically different. For example, a few of the massive motion blur shots from “Men in Motion” at the London Coliseum come to mind; the light was so awful that there was little choice than to go for a long exposure, but some of the resulting images are very eye catching. Ultimately, my pride for an image may be due to many factors; a location, costume, the performer, the ambience, or even how much I enjoyed taking the shot. Bear in mind that when the subject and I look at an image we have created we don’t just see the photograph; we remember the whole shoot. We might like something because it brings fond memories as well as it being a good image. Those memories are something that no one else can ever have. What has been the biggest risk you have taken in your photography? Undoubtedly shooting on the wing of a freshly-painted Airbus! Suzie King was on the wing of one and I, with the camera and tripod, was on the wing of another. The results were worth it - but I cannot recommend that anyone else should try it! My

Photograph by James Rowbotham


heart was in my mouth when

there is absolutely no point in

Moulin Rouge! Video is also of

Suzie plucked up courage to do

having a fancy medium format

interest, especially now I have the

a jete, and No, the final images

camera in a gloomy theatre, or a

capability to do a little in that vein.

are not Photoshop fakes! It was

camera that is great in low light

a very long way down and an

in a studio, but you do need fast

awful lot of hard concrete. Having

flash. It’s horses for courses, and

said all that, safety is a very high

it takes time to figure that out.

priority in all of my shoots with both dancers and aerialists. There were also unexpectedly difficult shoots. Rachel Louisa Maybank was freezing in the cloisters of Gloucester Cathedral whilst all my electrics were failing due to condensation on the contacts in the coldest month of the year. The shoot at Buscot park with Miriam Pierzak and Ada Bayazitoglu was plagued by wind and rain - and, for some unexpected reason, focussing problems - on top of which Ada was wearing a that teabag paper tutu in the rain! How did you work to create the opportunities you’ve had? Persistence, learning from mistakes, and building up a very diverse portfolio to show what I can do in the studio, on location and in the theatre. Also, gradually working out which is the best kit for what I need. It is easy to be totally baffled by the hype. You don’t always need the best kit;


Photograph by James Rowbotham

Where has been the most adventurous place you have photographed a dancer?

If a dancer were to approach you about photographing them, what would be the best way to do so? Inspire me! Sometimes we are looking for physique, other times lines, motion, costume, character

Probably the fire lanes of

or simply the dance, and then

Vancouver’s Gastown. At one

we can play with location and

point we were dodging used

lighting. In addition to being

needles, pools of urine, dead

technically competent and

rodents and garbage containers

photogenic, I like dancers and

to get the shot. At least the few

aerialists to be confident and to

local “residents” we met proved

be prepared to climb out of the

to be surprisingly friendly and we

box in which they were trained. I

escaped with all our kit intact! I

am looking for images that make

have to thank Emily Tellier, Daria

people sit up and pay attention.

and Garett Pitton and later Christie

The more interesting images

Cunningham for helping me

are ones that people haven’t

produce some super shots there.

seen before, and that inevitably

Is there anything you would like to do that you haven’t tried yet, or haven’t been able to try? Yes. Whilst occasionally I might have outrageous ideas in mind, I do have a more serious concept that I want to try later this year that is inspired by some WW1 family history research I have been doing. In the meantime, I keep waiting for that call from the

means taking risks and almost always having a lot of fun.

. PETER COULSON PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHER 2010 Australian Professional Photographer of the Year award winner Peter Coulsen shares his wisdom about becoming an accomplished portrait and fashion photographer who loves to shoot dance. He speaks of the importance of personal style and taking risks in photography to separate yourself from the crowd.



Photograph by Peter Coulson


When did you first start

things; my crazy ideas and

how to light a photograph?


things to tease the mind

My first experience with

Why does dance photography

by looking at photographs I love

photography was when I borrowed

appeal to you?

and trying to break down what it

my dad’s Minolta for a Chuck Berry gig. I was photographing musicians and bands on the side initially. The passion grew over time, I just wanted to create. I can’t sing or paint, but photography I could do. I needed a way to express myself. What would you say your photographic style was? I shoot in black and white.

I love the human form and I love creating shapes. Dancers from all different genres have different body shapes and I think it is incredible to work with all those body shapes. Photography is about capturing light, if you get a dancer to move and you get the right light on them, you get that extra movement captured. Frozen movement and light.

Beauty, pretty sad beauty,

Your lighting is so beautiful and

and my personal messed up

natural. Where did you learn



I am mainly self-taught. But it was

was that I liked about them. Then I trained my eye to see light, so I can manipulate it and give the emotion not just from the model, but the entire feel of the photo. I still am a strong believer that we have one sun, so I always prefer to use 1 light. Every now and then we have to use more. Also I am very, very fussy. Your series “On point on the beach” has such detail and strong lighting

how did you achieve this with just natural light? It was down to location, time of day and clouds. We were shooting a beauty shoot when we had more direct sunlight and as soon as the storm clouds came over we had the most beautiful beam of

with my settings on my Canon to

a studio. Some days the light

black and white, so when I see the

just doesn’t work, or at the time

image on the back of the screen

of day you are shooting the light

I see it in black and white. This

will not create the mood I want

makes it a lot easier to see the

to capture. But I do really enjoy

light, but I do move myself around

manipulating light in the studio,

the model a lot to find the really

trying to create shots that were

good light before I start shooting.

originally natural light and making

light coming out from under the

Do you prefer studio

clouds. By manipulating the angle

or location work?

of where I took the photo from, and making sure I was in red filter for black and white (this is to make the sky and water darker), this made the model pop out more. I used the light that was available to its greatest potential. I shoot

Both have their appeals. Studio I

a studio light work like natural light. What work are you most proud of?

have the ability to create the light,

My favourite shots are when I

whereas on location I need to

have inspiration. I might have

find the light. In a perfect world I

been thinking about the idea for

would love to control the sun, so

a good 5 years, and then all of

then I would never have to use

a sudden I get a chance to do

Photographs by Peter Coulson


In a perfect world I would love to control the sun, so then I would never have to use a studio.



Photograph by Peter Coulson


the shoot. It always comes out better than I imaged it could. For example, shots like the tripod shoot with Nicole, the first bunny

do I will be shooting it again. In your workshops what to do teach?

them to. It is very important that the photographer loves what they do. If you were a painter, you would paint what you want. But

series, different shots for different

The whole aim of my workshops

for some stupid reason, I find

reasons. The shots that I am

are to teach people how to keep

that photographers feel that they

most proud of and appeal to me

it simple; in the way that you think

have to shoot with rules that are

most may not necessary appeal

and in the way that you work.

set by universities, camera clubs,

to everybody else, like my crying

I teach everything from digital

competitions etc, which I feel are

series. I absolutely adore making

workflow, very technical aspects

completely wrong. Painters don’t

models cry. I enjoy things that

of exposure, light manipulation,

paint like that; they paint to create

have a purpose behind them and

colour correction, what colour

a work of art or visual stimulation

when I actually achieve what I

space to be in, lighting, gear,

for the viewer. Too many

set out to. I’m also proud of my

models, posing, etiquette with

photographers don’t take that line.

strong images like the women in

models, creating emotions and

uniform series, I really enjoy doing

styling. I try to cover it all because

those. I have gone a bit stale on

I have no secrets whatsoever.

them at the moment because

The strongest point I try to teach

I still haven’t come up with my

is that photographers should

new concept, but as soon as I

try and shoot what they want to shoot, not what other people tell



If you know what you are doing, you are allowed to blow out your whites, and loose detail in the blacks, because that is what you are trying to do. The only time it is bad is when you don’t know

what you are doing, and you

Winning Australian Photographer

Taking the plunge to focus solely

don’t get a correct exposure. I

of the year. It took maybe 6

on my photography as my only

think photographers are getting

months before I was actually

source of income and in the

stale because they are trying

proud of it, but to be honest I

same day taking a new direction

to be technically perfect, and

was quite embarrassed about

in my photography style.

that can sometimes create very

winning. I didn’t feel ready, and

boring photos. So I push for

I didn’t feel that my work was

photographers to work at and find

up to the status of the award.

their own style. It doesn’t matter technically if it is wrong, but if that is the style you like shooting, then that’s what you should shoot. There is always going to be people in the world that will love it and you have to remember that most people looking at your work won’t be photographers. What is the proudest moment you have had in your photography career?

I felt like I needed to do it to become a better photographer, I needed to take photos. While I

Getting my new studio was also

had other things that demanded

massive thing for me. It meant

my time just to make money it

I was taking the next big step

made me unfocussed. I decided

in my photography; to have a

photography needed to be my

very large studio with a lot of

only source of income. That

expensive equipment being

meant I had to shoot every day,

the only person paying for it

even if it meant shooting things

by just doing my own work.

I didn’t like such as real estate,

What has been the biggest risk you have taken in your photography?

babies etc. it’s still teaching me skills, and it is still photography.

A bad day in photography is better then a good day of work.

Photographs by Peter Coulson




I love the human form and I love creating shapes. Dancers from all different genres have different body shapes and I think it is incredible to work with all those body shapes.

Photograph by Peter Coulson


How did you work to create the opportunities you’ve had? The best opportunities came when I went back to the core of shooting what I love and what I want the world to pay me to shoot. The more I do that, the more money I make, the happier I am. When I start chasing money, I start shooting what other people want, which starts confusing people what sort of photographer I am. This makes it harder to separate me from other photographers, and they could easily hire a University student to do it for an 8th of the cost. Whereas if I have my style and my look, people need to pay for that instead of giving them the option to hire someone who didn’t know what they were doing. I don’t have to compete against them. How have you adapted to the industries demand for added moving image? I hesitated at first, but I have tried to bring my photography into the video, rather than just being a videographer. I have tried to find ways of creating my style in video and still having it feel like



If you steal 10 seconds of their life you have won as a photographer. The thing with video is that you can steal a bigger chunk of time.

photography, not just a moving picture. I still want to explore videoing a hell of a lot more but I want to do it my own way. I am not interested in just recording behind the scenes; I would rather have a photo shoot with two different angles, a photography angle and video angle. Even the moving image runs for only 30 seconds. The main reason for video is that if you can capture someone’s attention for 10 seconds on your picture, it doesn’t matter if they hate or love it, or can’t even work out what the picture is, if you steal 10 seconds of their life you have won as a photographer. The thing with video is that you can steal a bigger chunk of time. So I now look at it as 30 seconds of their complete attention, that is 3 times more of their lives I have stolen, I win! Your series of photographs “Two More amazing artist’s” featuring dancers Audrey & Xander Pratt is breath taking, who came up with the posing and positions or was it a team effort?

Photographs by Peter Coulson


I literally jumped out of the boat just to get the shot at the right angle, knowing it was shark-infested waters.



Photograph by Peter Coulson


I started by getting them moving

really liked, so I would try find a

individually next to each other,

complimentary pose for Zander

showing me shapes and doing

to do or entwine with. Some of

stuff, just so I could get a good

the poses like the cross one took

feel on how the two bodies

30 minutes to get perfect, to get

interacted together and how I

the arms and legs perfect. Both

could make it work to create

models wanted to kill me by the

the two bodies into one. The

end of it because they were so

two dancers came from two

sore from re-doing it over and

completely different backgrounds;

over. But for me its about a vision,

Xander was a street dancer,

and I am not happy until I create

not trained, and Audrey a point

that visual. They would dance

dancer, highly trained. I just

until I saw that visual, I would take

needed to give them time so

the photo, show the dancers so

they could work together a bit.

they could understand what I am

Where has been the most

Audrey would do something I

trying to achieve, and continue to

adventurous place you have



try to make the visual stronger. The image of Xander jumping reminded me of a cherub in a religious painting, the next thing I see is Audrey jumping, almost looking like she was floating on a crucifix, so I got Xander to do another jump and entwined it into the other pictures. Apart from the Audrey jump previously mentioned, the rest of the images were all shot exactly the way they look like in the final pictures.

photographed someone? Back in my fishing days, 60km off shore in a tiny little boat, in-between a massive school of sharks, and photographing a

deep, in crocodile infested waters

there are a lot of people. Models,

to get the shot of the sunset and

actresses, like Angelina Jolie, I

the fisherman on the beach at

would love to spend a day with

the perfect angle. The guide

her, as long as she gave me her

nearly killed me afterwards.

trust and let me shoot her the way I shoot, my style and imagery.

fisherman in the boat, while I was

Is there anything you would like

in the water. I literally jumped out

to do that you haven’t tried yet

2010 Australian Professional

of the boat just to get the shot at

or haven’t been able to try?

Photographer of the Year award

the right angle, knowing it was shark-infested waters. It was very, very stupid at the time.

Shoot one of my idols. I have a few different idols; they are all on my bucket list. If I could shoot

Another time in the very far north

any one of them, just to see what

of Australia we have saltwater

I could create with one of the

crocodiles, which are very

models, or the people I really look

dangerous. I waded up, neck

up to. Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer,

winner Peter Coulsen shares his wisdom about becoming an accomplished portrait and fashion photographer who loves to shoot dance. He speaks of the importance of personal style and taking risks in photography to separate yourself from the crowd.

Photograph by Peter Coulson



Illustrations by Rachel Doyle



The Ballet Theatre UK Aladdin Costumes Photo Essay

The Ballet Theatre UK, based in Leicester, is currently showing a spellbinding production of Aladdin. The Dancer is given a unique insight by Bernadette Meyers into the creation of their dazzling costumes that help to bring the production to life… Exotic and glamorous, Ballet Theatre UK’s production of Aladdin is a bejeweled spectacular in an Eastern setting. Costume designer,

costumes were used for a photo-

Asian dress, and every character

shoot and set the mood for the

in the wedding scene shines

development of the production.

with pearls and crystals.

Inspiration for the costume design was drawn from traditional African

Daniel Hope, and company

and Asian dress as well as the

director, Christopher Moore,

illustrations in a favourite childhood

devised the original concept

book of Daniel’s: “Aladdin and the

over a year before the premier.

Wonderful Lamp”. Each scene has

At this early stage, Daniel designed and produced costumes for the four lead roles of the princess, genie, slave and Aladdin. These initial

a distinctive theme. The market scene was inspired by exotic spices, the costumes for the Cave of Wonders scene are influenced by bright reds and emeralds of

Daniel says the Cave of Wonders was the most challenging scene to design for, as the dancers actually become each jewel the genie presents to Aladdin. No amount of beading or jewel encrusting was spared to create the costumes for the Ruby, Amethyst, Emerald, Silver and Gold characters. They were designed

Photographs by Bernadette Meyers




to shimmer, shine and sparkle. Three months prior to the premier of the production, the patterns were created. The bulk of the sewing work began in January with a team of cutters, hand embroiderers, pressers, machine sewers and overlockers. Work continued until opening night and minor alterations are made on a continuing basis throughout the duration of show. Daniel’s method of design is very visual and intuitive, it is quite an amazing experience to watch him pull fabric from one pile, lace from another, braid from a drawer and then add crystals, beads and jewels to create a fresh, new design. The costumes evolve over time as he develops the concept. His experience in every aspect of design and construction of the costumes gives him the freedom to forget about the making and become engrossed in the creative process. For this photographic essay, a crystal was used in front of the lens for many of the images to refract the light and capture a sense of the shimmering jewels from the Cave of Wonders. Aladdin premiered on the 14th March and runs until the end of June with over 60 performances across England.

Photographs by Bernadette Meyers





Ballet School Dancers Alana Brooks and Kayleigh Bestington students at The Ballet Theatre UK in the schools rehearsal space. Photography Dani Bower.

Photograph by Dani Bower




Photographs by Dani Bower




Photograph by Dani Bower





Photographs by Dani Bower





Photograph by Dani Bower




Photograph by Dani Bower


World Ballet Competition Bernadette Mayers reports on this year’s World Ballet Competition Open, held in Sibiu Romania from the 18th-23rd March. Bernadette Mayers gives The Dancer a summarized snapshot of the event‌

are four age categories at the competition, from 8 to 26 years, and competitors arrived both individually and in groups - often accompanied by their coaches. Each morning, performers took a ballet warm-up class on the stage, and non-performers had

This year’s World Ballet Competition Open was was attended by around 200 dancers from 17 nations, with a large contingent from Romania, Japan and Korea. There 165


class in a studio - both locations were terribly crowded! Students were allocated 1min 30secs onstage to rehearse their first solo, and just 1 minute for their second and third solos; even though it

was a short amount of time, it

a shared prize of USD $3,000.

was reassuring to have a pre-

Many of the dancers chosen

test with the music. Before each

to compete also performed a

section, competitors also had 10

solo in the “Sunday Gala of the

minutes of shared rehearsal time

Stars”, which consisted of a

on stage - this was particularly

mixture of both professional and

crowded with up to 47 dancers

unprofessional dancers – they

using the space at one time!

were all there by invitation only,

The judging panel consisted of 12 individuals from 9 nations, with a maximum of 8 judging at any one time. Each dancer was judged on both artistry and technical ability - the highest and lowest scores were dropped so that the final mark was an average score. Every dancer had the option of performing a second or third solo, and the one with the highest mark carried on through to the finals.

so it was quite a special event. The dancers from “Teatrul de Ballet Sibiu” performed several pieces, ranging from traditional through contemporary and even comedy. The whole event was a success and all who attended did incredibly well - two dancers from each category were invited to the World Ballet Competition Finals in Florida this June, a few summer school scholarships were awarded, and there were several

After all sections were danced,

dancers, particularly from Asia,

2-3 competitors from each section

showing outstanding talent and

were chosen to compete for the

potential. It’s fair to say we’ll all

“Excellence Award Contest”, with

look forward to next year’s event!

Photographs by Bernadette Meyers



Photograph by Dani Bower


I Dance

I dance therefore I am



Therefore I am The story of Poppy Garton written and photographed by Dani Bower

Photograph by Dani Bower


dance college together in dance

ceremony of the Olympics. She

group ‘Addict’ that had them both

stood alone in the spotlight

performing on TV shows such as

for the first time in her life and

‘Britain’s got talent’ and ‘Got to

contemplated whether this might

and Rose were always paired

dance’. Poppy decided to take her

be the turning point in her career.

together and mistaken for each

first step on her own. Leaving her

other. This made them both want

family behind to make it in London.

to push to stand out and be the

Poppy found her rhythm in the

best. Constantly keeping each

capital, meeting her dance group

other on their toes being the

‘Trilogy’ that became her family

closest competition for each other

away from home. She started to

made them excel fast and they

grab any opportunity she could

soon become highly talented

to perform. Her first professional

performers. After attending

dance job was at the opening

I met Poppy at the age of twelve. We were both Identical twins that shared a love for dance. Like my twin and I Poppy



To most people dance is a sport, a type of art or just a series of movements. For Poppy, dance is in her veins. It’s what make her heart beat. When sitting next to her on the school bus she would often be lost in music, dancing a routine with

her fingertips. When walking in

all-consuming beauty of dance.

the street next to her, she would

All the dancers in this magazine

be moving her feet in the steps

have a strength, passion and

she had learned in class, her

faith that drives them to be the

head constantly full of music

best they can be which I find to

and body always twitching

be so inspiring. This magazine

to move. To Poppy dancing

focuses on the dancer and

is as natural as breathing.

what it means to be a dancer

The first issue of The Dancer

from those who know it best.

magazine wouldn’t have

Dance is not a choice it’s

seemed right without a feature

a calling and this magazine

on Poppy. She exemplifies what

aims to celebrate those

this magazine is all about; the

who answer that call.

Photographs by Dani Bower




Photograph by Dani Bower




Photographs by Dani Bower




Photograph by Dani Bower




Photographs by Dani Bower


The Dancer  

The Dancer magazine is about building a community for the dance industry and industries that surround it; a place where people can see how h...

The Dancer  

The Dancer magazine is about building a community for the dance industry and industries that surround it; a place where people can see how h...