What’s your background?
I primarily come from a dancer background. I trained at Laban Centre, London and was lucky enough to be taken on with CandoCo Educational team on graduating. I went on to dance with Silesian Dance Theatre in Poland, CandoCo Dance Company, Jasmin Vardimon Company, Yael Flexer’s Bedlam and have also worked with Baila Louca Holland, R & D with Andre Gingras, Holland and with Vincent Dance Theatre – amongst others.
I have always been playing with choreography. I was a commissioned choreographer for the Place Prize 2008, winning the audience vote for the night. My other choreography has been performed at The Place, Touch Wood, Choreodrome and Resolutions, Kalisz International Dance Festival and The Basement Brighton I have made work for Springs Dance company, The Space Cadets various Youth Dance companies and taught a wide range of ages and abilities nationally and internationally. I have also taught professional class and Greenwich Dance Agency, The Place, Laban Centre, South East Dance Agency, the University of Chichester, The Space Scottish School Contemporary Dance, Creative Partnerships Scheme, Bytom National Ballet School, PSTW Krakow, Kalisz Dance Festival, Poznan Dance Festival, Bytom Dance Festival, Warsaw Centre for Culture.
What will you be working on during your time at PDSW?
During my time at PDSW I will be using the time to further develop, edit and shape, delving deeper in to a new work Still I Rise. It’s a piece for 5 female dancers; physical raw dance and a work that is defiant uplifting and hopeful tied together by Maya Angelou’s poem of the same name. It’s really important for me as I’m coming back to dance after a 6 year break. PDSW have given the first support to the company, a kickstart which enables me to begin again finding a voice as a choreographer.
Why do you do what you do?
It’s the only thing I know. Dancing is my way to connect, release, enjoy, and feel. I found contemporary dance through a youth group at school and then the county. I felt like I found my tribe, and coming from a small family and a small town I found other people who had a similar interest. I found what I was good at and how I could express myself. I wasn’t good at school and really struggled academically, so poured myself into something that I was good at where I felt connected and free to be myself. I always made dances to music as a kid, I always wanted to create.
How do you work?
It’s all about the movement combined with music and intention. Will the work speak will it connect to an audience in someway? Will it make them feel? I come to the studio with a lot of images ideas for movement, music, energy or atmopsphere that I want to create or explore. I like to try things out trying and trying again, throwing things away, seeing what works, what movement translates or emits feeling or what I’m trying to explore or give to an audience.
I use the things I know that I’m good at. I like this chameleon effect, wanting to see technique articulate dancing bodies that can also suddenly flick to be wild and free physicality, seeing dancers who can use a full range of emotion and qualities, put intention into movement so its has a truth and can connect, using my past experiences that you absorb as a dancer working for other people. I like to layer movement material to keep adding to it so that it has depth in which it can be read or interpreted in someway. There never a clear message, just to be moved by what you see.
What has been a seminal experience?
Meeting and working with CandoCo when I was 16, changed my perspective on what dance could be. Until then I had mainly learnt dance techniques. These workshops and creating a piece with disabled and non-disabled dancers was a revelation in the sense that we worked to pull our own movement out of the body finding your own juice finding what you had to offer.
I taught a two week workshop in Bytom Poland. I fell in love with the company (Silesian Dance Theatre) and the people, making highly physical dance work in the theatre working with large sets and touring Europe. I joined the company and got my first job as a professional dancer. I stayed in Poland for 3 years dancing for Jacek Luminski in his contemporary dance style developed from his fascination with cultural traditions of Polish Jewry and Polish folklore. I also met my now husband there, in the Jazz club attached to the theatre, as a DJ, so going to Poland was a life changing experience in many ways!
Most embarrassing moment?
When dancing with Jasmin Vardimon in Justita I played the character of the lawyer, I wore a mic pack under my costume and quite frequently forgot to switch it of as I went to the toilet before the show… needless to say the sound technician wasn’t impressed!
What is your dream project?
To choreograph with ballet dancers. Ballet was my first love. My mum took me when I was 3. I was a child with a lot of energy and I think she liked having Saturday mornings free to shop! Seeing Ballet was my first experience of going to the theatre and also where my love of classical music comes from, I will always be a secret bun head!