What does the dx Choreography Award mean to you and how will you use your time at DanceXchange?
I am excited to be supported by DanceXchange (DX) – it means a lot to have your choreo-graphic work being recognised by the regional dance agency. I am already lead contem-porary and ballet teacher at DX and so I love having the opportunity to build on this now as an artistic relationship too. It’s great that this relationship is developing as I believe DX can really support me in my professional development, both artistically and in terms of Company growth for Vanhulle Dance Theatre. This opportunity comes at the perfect time for me as I work on an ACE funded research and development phase for my production ‘Infinite Womanhood’. Through this research period I am looking to define a direction of travel and a clearer understanding of how I want to present next years full length touring version of the production. I expect to receive challenge, encouragement, enhanced industry connections and to generally be pushed professionally.
Tell us about you and your practice?
I trained at NSCD and went on to do a post-graduate apprenticeship with ACE dance and music. I have worked with Shobana Jeyasingh, Coda DanceTheatre, Keneish Dance Theatre, Motionhouse, Rutherford Dance Company, Room 2 Manoeuvre, Aakash Odedra, Sonia Sabri Company and Autin Dance Theatre. I am a nationally recognised dance artist with a strong teaching reputation in the West Midlands, working regularly with organisations like DanceXchange. In 2013/14 I received ACE funding for R and D for dance film project ‘Angles In Life’, and estab-lished Vanhulle Dance Theatre (VDT). The first full full-length production ‘Angles In Life’ toured na-tionally in 2015. VDT now operates on a project basis. In 2016: – I went to Hong Kong for Vangelis Legakis’ flying low program and worked with The Van-L Dance Company. – I was selected to work with DV8 Company in Berlin to learn their methods – I was awarded the Choreographer strand of Choreomatch, part of BDN’s ‘Introducing…’ In March 2017 I will be working in Portugal with Companhia de Danca de Matosinhos.
Dance : Sidi Larbi
Non-dance: Jimmy Choo, Fashion Designer
First dance experience?
I can’t remember one clear dance experience but just a general sense that I was always moving to music in my mum’s living room, so much so that she then took me to my first ballet class. In the ballet class I was continually told off for being disruptive and doing things like hanging upside down on the ballet bars. I tried to break the structure of the class, rather than focusing on my demi pliés! Not much has changed since then! When they introduced a 10 minutes improvisation to the end of the ballet class, this was when I remember always feeling happy and free. I soon became aware however of how important technique is and then became obsessed with being perfect and right. Now it’s gone full circle and I try to break away again!
Favourite dance video of all time?