Is there a person or an event that set you on your career path in dance?
I always wanted to dance. My parents supported me with what I wanted to do, sending me to auditions and summer schools. It was one of my dance teachers that suggested that I tried out for stage school.
Have you had a notable mentor?
I have never had a mentor as such, but all my teachers have been inspiring, giving me advice which I now pass onto my students.
What was your biggest career break?
I can’t pin anything down as being my biggest career break. Everything has contributed to my success. I value every piece of work that I have done. From playing leading lady Maid Marion in a pantomime where I went beyond being just a dancer, to having the privilege of being responsible for dancers as a dance captain on a ship. They have all been very different experiences.
What qualities do you think you need to possess to be a successful dancer?
Thick skinned. You need to be able to take knock downs. You are going to be told ‘no’ more than ‘yes’. You just have to be able to take it and not let it affect you by moving on to the next thing. Countless times I have had no, no, no then finally got a yes. You have just got to stay positive. You will get rewarded if you have a hard working attitude.
You studied at the Royal Ballet. How do you see ballet meeting contemporary dance?
Ballet is the most important dance style as it sets you up for other dance styles in terms of technique, strength and core. It ties into other types, for example having to always think about your posture. It’s a great primary basis.
How would you describe your choreography – a mixture of contemporary and traditional?
I try to adapt it to different shows. I like technical and lyrical dances. I also do other styles of dance though, such as street dance. At KSA we teach a lot of different styles.
Are there any other disciplines that you draw upon?
Personally, I have done zumba which was quite inspiring because of its Latin roots.
What part does music play in your choreography?
I listen to the music and see what styles of dance works best. It’s a case of trial and error. I write everything out, which makes sense to me.
How do you write it down?
I write it down to what makes sense to me. Some students might video it, whilst others might write it down in a different way.
The first NHS specialist dance injury clinic has just opening. Why is this important to have?
I think it’s brilliant and about time one has opened. Dancers’ bodies are put under a lot of stress and quite often have to be realigned. It’s great it’s specialised.
Dancers are often underpaid and undervalued. Can you rationalise this?
Dancers work so hard, I am not sure why they aren’t paid more. You have to go into dancing because you love it. Money would just be a bonus.
What are the health issues for dancers?
It’s like a car; without fuel, it won’t go anywhere. When training or doing shows, it’s important to eat during breaks and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Employees understand the importance of performers getting their energy back up.
What artists or choreographers inspire you?
I had some amazing teachers at college and do look at people like Darcey Bussell. However I don’t always look at who choreographed something. I prefer to look at the dance itself.
Do you watch television dancing competitions such as Strictly Come Dancing?
I love to watch Got To Dance starring judges Kimberly Wyatt, Adam Garcia and Ashley Banjo. Also certain choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance are amazing. It’s inspiring for upcoming dancers to see them how well they can be.
And finally, what can students expect from KSA training?
Students have to be a sponge; it’s such an intense year. They can expect hard work with great advice from fabulous working professionals. The one year course provides very good training in all three disciplines. [KSA offers training in singing, acting and dancing.] If you weren’t a dancer in the first place, you will be at the end.
You can never go wrong with being a ‘triple threat’. Students will always favour one over the other but they will be able to do the other two. They will receive rounded training and confidence in all three disciplines at KSA.