Hello and welcome to the updated site, thanks for stopping by! The written word is not my greatest strength however I decided I wanted to share something more personal with you rather than reiterate the highlights, hopefully the rest of the website has taken care of that. Here is a little backstory as to how I have arrived at where I am today.
What a roller coaster of a journey it has been so far, for someone that had to audition more than once to get into the world renowned Laban centre I guess I am doing ok. I was turned away the first time not for my lack of dance ability apparently, but for not being thin enough, tall enough, flat enough, long enough, the list goes on. The second audition was no better, the ballet Mistress Simone Michelle barked at me in her French accent ‘you N – ever ave ce figure of a dancer, why are you even ere.’
That comment along with many others seeped into my sub conscience and as a young women I started to deny my femininity, walking into a mirrored dance studio today can still be a loaded affair if I allow it.
I do not have the stereotypical ballerina’s body and what my dance tutors failed to notice or even accept was that I had curves and a bust! Had I stepped out into the big wide world during the era of Mad Men when I started auditioning I may well have been the next Cyd Charisse – well a shorter version who knows! Instead, I immediately started to gravitate towards choreography rather than following my dream of performing first and gradually evolving into a choreographer.
From an early age I attended ballet, tap and jazz classes, I was a member of my school dance club and as a teenager I was part of a successful youth dance company that performed throughout the UK. I literally lived, slept and ate dance from the age of five onwards. Its ironic I notched up way more performance’s as a teenager than I did professionally, basically my self esteem was so low post Laban (they let me in eventually) I lost my bottle to perform.
Sometimes I question had I trained as a musical theatre performer where characters of all shapes and sizes are at least needed to fill the various roles a musical demands would I have performed more? My professional training was contemporary where the desired aesthetic is more akin to that of a waif like ballerina, which I am not. The flip side is Laban is renowned for teaching you the art of choreography and really putting you through your paces, so considering what I have achieved so far, maybe Laban was the right choice after all.
As dancers we work in the most brutal industry in the world, constantly judged, criticised and compared. The self scrutiny can be crippling. Only in the last year or so have I stopped comparing myself to every other body in the street and started accepting and celebrating who I am. I can’t think of another job where you stand in front of a mirror to perfect your skill. No ‘fat days’ for dancers!
TV director Russell Thomas once asked me in an interview ‘is that what you feel you do, you get the best out of people?’ that question really made me reflect on how I conduct myself as a choreographer…
yes I feel I do get the best out of people and that starts with the audition process, although it is necessary I dislike it. The thought of a dancer experiencing what I encountered horrifies me, therefore I always endeavour to make the process as humane as possible, from here my natural instinct is to coax, tease and persuade the very best performance from the person in front of me whether that be a singer, actor, dancer or model.
As a society the eye has become so conditioned that anyone with boobs, hips, thighs or heaven forbid all three, feels she is just not as cool as the women next door who is a size zero, and why not? It is time to embrace our womanly curves once again and stop denying our femininity. Channel your inner goddess and lets bring the hourglass figure back. Christina Hendricks lead the way please!
If our paths do cross and we happen to work together, I do hope you walk away from rehearsals feeling inspired, empowered, confident and above all truly comfortable in your own skin.
‘Enjoy your body, use it every way you can.
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it,
it’s the greatest instrument you will ever own.’
Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)