Freelance contemporary dance artist
Up until now I have been adamant not to write an overview of my experiences and job qualifications in the form of a curriculum vitae or short biography on my website, however after five years of contemplation I have decided to share with you some of my highlights.
‘Kate Lunn’ was my debut as a filmmaker, made in collaboration with Johanna Levy.
Filmed on Hampstead Heath and edited on IMovie, it was the first of a series of works titled ‘do it yourself projects’ Johanna created the music, I edited the film, we both choreographed. ‘Kate Lunn’ was shortlisted for the Jerwood Moving Image Award and has been show at a variety of Festivals and events.
‘Revealing Eve’ is a short solo that I created for myself about the objectification of women, commissioned by Stratford Circus and first performed as part of a mixed bill 'Small Dances'. Dressed in a long polka dot dress and cardigan, holding an apple and being only one of two contemporary dancers I felt a little out of place in comparison to the super cool vibe of the rest of the performers, I though I was going to go down like a lead balloon, my stomach was in knots and was considered bailing. Half way through the piece however, when there is a moment of stillness, the audience cheered and whooped and it took all my efforts to stay composed and not show the delight and relief on my face until the piece was over. I always try and make work that connects with a broad audience range and so it felt quite an achievement when ‘Revealing Eve’ was received in this way.
London Studio Center
For three years I had back to back lessons in dance and related subjects including Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theater, Contemporary, Drama, Singing, Choreography, Design for Dance, along with Lectures and various performance opportunities. I didn't excel in all these fields in fact in some I failed successfully; I don’t think I’ll sing the Little Mermaid in front of an audience ever again. It didn’t take me long to realize my real interest was in contemporary dance and choreography and I was heading for Intoto, the third year contemporary dance company. Through my training I developed a curiosity for all styles of dance and a passion for entertainment, which has certainly influenced my work, I worked hard, had a ball and made friends and connections in the industry that are still strong today.
Henri Oguike Dance Company
I danced for HODC for three years and had quite a few highlights over this time. I was pushed physically and mentally and achieved things that I never considered possible; I made amazing friends and experienced the delights and horrors of being on tour.
It was during this time that it hit me that I was a professional dancer. Walking out onto the Royal Festival Hall stage and looking out into a packed auditorium I was overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility. I was aware that no longer was I performing to supportive friends and family but to a paying audience and this was the first time dance felt truly real for me.
Whilst performing in Syria with HODC I experienced the most overwhelming reaction from an audience during my career. The audience went mad. The theater was more than sold out, people were pushing to get tickets (they squeezed extra audience on the steps in the aisles) and at the end of the show (which had a power cut in the middle of it) they flocked to the front of the stage cheering, I think it’s the closest I’ll ever get to feeling like a rock star. One last highlight I have to mention is working with National Youth Dance Wales, a great opportunity where I had two weeks to choreograph on enthusiastic students with the support of Henri and time in the theater, to collaborate with the lighting designer Guy Hoare.
Richard Alston Dance Company
It’s not everyday you get a phone call from Richard Alston and he offers you a job. I was expecting him to offer me educational work and was chuffed when he offered me a job as one of his dancers, how could I turn him down? I had previously stepped in for a couple of months when one of his dancers was injured and the company had a premier of ‘Petrushka’ coming up. I had been around The Place a lot creating a piece for The Place Prize and teaching evening class. I think my name on his studio door played a part in him asking me to step in. I remember it all being a blur, I had four days to learn the piece and was on stage in Glasgow on the fifth. I punched my partner in the face (accidentally on stage) and cried (probably from relief) after the first performance. Working for RADC brought about the opportunity to perform at the Saatchi Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Sadlers Wells and my all time favorite, The Joyce in New York. I also had the opportunity to learn and perform ‘Forest’ by Robert Cohen. I think this could have been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, being bent in half by my partner and spun around in the craziest positions, whilst nervously trying to take direction from Robert Cohen and Darshan Singh Bhuller.
I feel I should mention teaching, now I am not sure if teaching should be classed as one of my highlights but it has definitely played a part in me making all the other things possible. The thing about teaching is that when I was younger I never saw myself as a teacher and never imagined or planned for it. When I am teaching I become a student again, I learn as much as I teach, I think differently, I think more, I read more, I talk more, I am inspired by the energy (sometimes the lack of it) in front of me. The more I teach the more I enjoy it and realize teaching is just another strand of performing.
After being based in London for over ten years I am now living in Cornwall. The move here has brought my career as a dancer to an end but brought my work as a performer and video artist back to life.