By Richard Tyson
Tell me about your journey as a professional dancer. What have you done and what are you doing now?
Although I have been dancing all my life, my professional journey began when I became a member of ‘Vizaviz’, the youth dance company at my secondary school, Dame Allan’s Schools. This was when I began to take dance seriously as my love for this form of art grew. Whilst dancing with the company, I got to perform at national competitions and showcases. I also had further training on the CAT (Centre for Advanced Training) scheme at Dance City in Newcastle upon Tyne. I then did a three-year degree at LCDS (London Contemporary Dance School). I am now dancing with ‘Emergence’, a postgraduate company with the University of Salford.
Throughout these years, I have met and worked alongside many inspiring artists who have taught me so much about dance and choreography. Although I am a professional dancer, I see myself more as a dance artist. This is someone who collaborates with other dancers/ choreographers and is inspired by a variety of art forms.
What makes a talented dancer?
Someone who captivates a viewer. By viewer I mean, audience member, student, teacher, friend, passer-by. Dancers who use their whole self to share their story, express emotion, fail, and grow are talented in my opinion.
What makes a talented choreographer?
Talented choreographers have the skill and ability to physicalise their ideas, while empowering and enriching whoever they work with.
When it comes to choreographing a piece, what would you start with? Music, theme, idea etc.
When it comes to creating my own work, I usually begin with an idea or theme. With this idea/ theme in mind, I then improvise to that music in whatever space I have, even if it’s just me daydreaming in my head.
How would choreography differ between a studio theatre audience and an arena crowd?
When it comes to choreographing a dance piece, the space in which the performance will take place is important to consider from the beginning. For an arena crowd, I would create movement that will be seen from all angles as the audience is around the stage. As an audience member, it wouldn’t be enjoyable if the dancers performed away from their viewpoint. In a studio theatre, the choreography would be angled towards the audience as the stage is forward-facing into the audience, giving only one point of visibility to the stage.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a professional dancer?
Set your goals. Put in the work, look after your reputation, and keep collaborating with other artists.
Why do you dance?
Because I love it. It enables me to communicate and express myself and feel empowered. The reason I started dancing was because of the way it made me feel. Even though there are hurdles you need to get over.
How does the online world/ space help dancers and choreographers?
There is a wealth of resources online. So many websites and places where dancers and choreographers can find inspiration, learn new skills and connect with other artists.
What are your plans for the future as a dancer/ choreographer?
I don’t have any concrete plans, but as a dancer, I want to keep performing. It’s something that really exhilarates me. I would love to work with a company where I can travel and share work with audiences around the world.
Alongside this, I want to draw upon my experiences and ideas and create my own work. I think it’s important as an artist to find your own voice so you can feel fulfilled. I would love to inspire and use dance to spark conversations and make people think differently.