DanceEast Academy - student stories
DanceEast Academy students regularly
progress into professional careers in dance and other related fields.
Read the latest stories from current students and Academy
Charlotte, November 2012
|Having carried out my work experience at The Place at the start of 2010, and joining in with one of the CAT classes held there, I was amazed by the idea of the CAT scheme and the training and opportunities which it was said to offer. I auditioned for DanceEast Academy that year and joined in September. Now in my third and final year, the intense training I have received there has helped me develop as an ambitious and self-disciplined dancer. It has given me numerous opportunities to perform in spectacular venues alongside word-class choreographers such as Darren Ellis, members of the Hofesh Shechter Company, Jasmin Vardimon’s Company, and many others. It is at these times when I realise that there is nothing else I want to do other than perform to others, communicating the strong passion I feel when dancing. I feel so lucky to be part of such an amazing organisation and to have the chance to be involved in such fantastic programmes.
||Being in my last year of the Academy, I was recently involved in an ‘Audition Toolkit’ with the other final year students at the Academy. Coming together with students in the same position as us from all the other CAT schemes, we were involved in three intensive days where we visited London Contemporary Dance School, The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Trinity Laban. At each of these renowned conservatoires we took part in a mock audition day: we were able to participate in audition classes, practice interviews and tours of all three schools. Having been involved in this toolkit, I feel so much more informed about the audition process and what the schools have to offer, as well as understanding the competition and necessity to try one’s very best and reveal pure passion, against the countless other students who are all driven to receive the same thing. Rather than being nervous and apprehensive about my forthcoming auditions, after these three days, I am now excited, enthusiastic and equipped to embrace whatever is thrown at me.
I cannot stress how thankful I am to DanceEast Academy, without whom I would never be in this position I am today: in the process of auditioning for world-renowned dance schools. The professionalism of the training and the preparation for the dance world which I have received there has made me feel ready and determined in my ambition to become a devoted dancer.
Marie, November 2012
|Marie has been a member of the DanceEast Academy since September 2011. Recently she was one of two successful applicants to apply for a work experience placement day with Re:bourne (Adventures in Dance), which is New Adventures Education and Emerging Talent Programme and the repertoire of Matthew Bourne. Re:bourne is also an Associate Artist of DanceEast. Here is Marie’s story of her day.
Harry Galloway and I were the successful applicants for the re: Bourne work experience placement day at Norwich Theatre Royal, currently staging Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.
Marie with Matthew Bourne
In the morning we had the chance to observe and take notes on a workshop based on a variation from the production led by two members of New Adventures. They were very informative about the contrasting twist Matthew Bourne has made to the original Sleeping Beauty. We also had the opportunity to see all the final costume designs for the cast, which were brilliant!
Later on in the afternoon, Helen Prosser (General Manager of Re: Bourne) guided us to the theatre where we were lucky enough to watch the cast of Sleeping Beauty in a technical rehearsal, and directing it behind us was none other than Matthew Bourne himself. After the rehearsal we met several of the cast who answered our many questions on their background and training prior to joining New Adventures, and we heard of their aspirations for the future.
|Incredibly, we then met Matthew Bourne, and through his responses to our questions we found out about his inspirations, where and how his career began, and how he started the company New Adventures.
Overall the placement day was fantastic and has given me useful insight on a typical day in a prestigious dance company. It was great to be part of such a professional working environment and has inspired me to challenge my movements further in my dance classes.
Thank you to everybody involved for the amazing opportunity and I am so much looking forward to watching the production at Sadler’s Wells soon.
Mari, October 2012
|DanceEast Associate Artist Darren Ellis offered a very exciting opportunity for one Academy student in 2011 to perform in his professional touring production Long Walk Home. The performance featured individual portraits of four women at different stages in their lives. Mari was the successful Academy student and was the youngest dancer of a company of distinguished dancers; Jo Wenger (ex Richard Alston Dance Company), Lauren Potter (London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Siobhan Davies, dv8) and Linda Lewcock (Company of Elders).
Mari with Darren Ellis
|When I was picked to be in the piece, I was so excited and nervous at the same time. In the audition, I liked the idea of using balloons in the piece and I thought that it could be really fun to do. On day one, I was a bit nervous but once I started dancing to the music and the choreography I felt at ease. I think that this whole experience helped me learn how to be more confident and be really articulate and show my personality on stage. I thought that the lighting and music were really inspiring and fitted well in the piece too.
By being in the shows, it made me learn about how to perform in a gallery space, pay attention to important cues and how to fake it when you injure yourself during a performance! It's been a really memorable time working with very talented dancers that I look up to and the whole experience in general.
Over the last year Darren made changes to the solos. Through this process I learnt to be adaptable with my choreography and to get into the character of being a young girl with big hopes and dreams ahead. After the Rough Cut show at DanceEast in December last year I performed at The Place and at no.1 Carlton Gardens, the house of foreign secretary William Hague. It has been a really memorable experience so far and I hope that I can get more performance opportunities in the future.
Georgia, August 2012
|In October last year, I successfully auditioned to be part of the newly formed U Dance Ensemble under the choreographic influence of Hofesh Shechter. Being part of a nationwide youth dance company completely changed my attitude towards dancing, as after returning from the residential rehearsal periods, I found myself really motivated and striving to improve my technique.
||The movement material was really challenging especially to begin with, as it was fast paced and you needed to absorb a lot of information very quickly. As the residentials continued (Glasgow, Cardiff, and finally London), the specificity of Shechter's style started to come naturally.
Being part of the Academy indefinitely helped me with not only the audition part, but the professionalism needed for the rehearsal periods. Being part of the summer and Easter intensive courses every year helped me become associated with working with different choreographers and adapting to a particular style quickly. This helped me in the auditions because I felt I had experience of learning movement at a fast pace. As well as this, it was the tutor Tom Hobden who introduced me to Shechter’s work in the creative classes we do. This, coupled with the piece we created with two of his company dancers in summer 2011 inspired me to audition for the U Dance Ensemble.
The experience was invaluable to me as I learned professionalism and gained strength whilst being part of such a hardworking environment. As well as this I made lots of new friends from around the UK that I’m sure I will come into contact with in the near future.
Harry, July 2012
|I joined the DanceEast Academy in September 2011. Before I joined DanceEast I had very little dance experience. I am currently studying dance at GCSE and I was a member of JYDC (Junction Youth Dance Company) Cambridge. My first year at the academy has been amazing. I’ve experienced new forms of dance, classes are great and there have been many opportunities and chances to perform.
||I was very lucky to be involved in a very exciting project this summer, performing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London in an event called One Big Stage. The Artistic Director was none other than Gareth Malone. Twenty-two dancers from DanceEast were lucky enough to spend time at the Royal Opera house meeting other dancers from other CATS, rehearsing in the same studios as the professional dancers and meeting the good and the great of the dance world – Darcey Bussell, Carlos Acosta, Wayne McGregor to name but a few.
Our performance on the main stage at the Royal Opera house was a sell out. Walking out on to that stage was the most amazing, exhilarating and scary sensation I have ever felt. The performance was over far too quickly and before I knew it the final curtain had come down.
|I still don’t quite believe I actually danced on the main stage at the Royal Opera house but I learnt so much. It has given me self belief in my own abilities as a dancer, I met so many wonderful people and it has confirmed to me that dance is what I want to do in life.
DanceEast is a great place for people who love dance and want to pursue dance as a career.
Emily, July 2012
|Before joining the DanceEast Academy I was part of the Suffolk Ballet
Scholarship Scheme. I started at the DanceEast Academy when I was 11 and
have really enjoyed the past four years on the scheme. It has given me
many different opportunities, ranging from performing at the DanceHouse,
to dancing at The Place, London.
My most recent performance with the DanceEast Academy was at St Pancras
Station in London for the launch of Big Dance 2012. We had a very early
start - our train departed Ipswich at 6.14am! We warmed-up outside the
station and got some very funny looks! We were then directed to the main
stage where we were introduced by Hakeem Onibudo (one of my past
choreographers). We performed our piece for High Voltage 2012 called
Shift (choreographed by Tamzin Fitzgerald).
After being on the main stage, we danced for people who were passing by.
To finish the day off we participated in a quick workshop and were
joined by Arlene Phillips and Boris Johnson.
Emily - left of Arlene Phillips
I would recommend
the DanceEast Academy to anyone who wants to dance in the future. It
really helps with your dance technique, and the opportunities given are
amazing! Thank you to DanceEast for having me on this wonderful
Philippa, July 2012
|I have been dancing since I was young and joined the DanceEast Academy when I was 11 (four years ago).
part of the Olympic Torch Relay Project was incredible! It gave me the
chance to work with new people and experience different styles and
interpretations of movement. I also worked alongside Aldeburgh Young
Musicians who created the accompaniment for the piece, which gave me an
insight in to how music is created. Dancing to their live music was an
||Our choreographer was inspirational, the way he created the movement and
how he worked gave me an idea of what it’s like to be a professional
dancer. The rehearsals were hard work, but they really did help me
understand the demands on a professional dancer.
itself was amazing. Performing in front of 15,000 people is something I
will never forget, and it is possibly the biggest audience I will ever
|The whole experience made me decide that I really want to tour and
perform in front of large audiences when I finish training. Thanks to
the DanceEast Academy team for giving me this amazing opportunity and
helping me decide what I’d like to do in the future.
Charlotte, May 2012
The U.Dance Ensemble is the first youth dance company of its kind with
young dancers from across the UK between the ages of 16 and 21 years.
The company is led by Hofesh Shechter.
Academy student Charlotte became a member of the group after a successful audition in December 2011.
|The U.Dance Ensemble has been one of the most amazing experiences in my
dance career so far, but I wouldn’t have dreamt of applying if it wasn’t
for the DanceEast Academy. DanceEast gave me the confidence to
audition, and seeing Level 3 Academy students work with Hofesh Shechter
company dancers last year made me feel more confident with his style.
The whole experience has been entirely refreshing and I am relishing the
opportunity to work with Shechter and other young people from across the
|It has been intensive and the demand for movement is high, but
learning to pick up material quickly and how a professional company
works is such an unforgettable experience!
The first residential in Glasgow was fast paced and demanding, but it
was amazing to witness Hofesh’s choreographic process, and of course
make new friends.
The Cardiff residential in Easter saw us make
the majority of the piece, and I loved the chance to really develop my
movement, and explore new movements and combinations that I would never
have thought of! I can’t wait for the next residential in London, and
then the performance at the Southbank Centre in July.
having a great time, and I am thankful to DanceEast for promoting the
Ensemble to me. I know now more than ever that I want to dance and I
can’t wait to get out in the dance world... oh and Shechter now knows my
Tashan, May 2012
Former DanceEast Academy student Tashan reflects on her time at the
Academy and gives an update on her progress at The BRIT School.
|I started dancing when I was four and joined the
DanceEast Academy when I was 13 years old. The training I received at
the Academy really gave me the discipline and the technique to grow as
After two years in the Academy I auditioned for The BRIT
School of Performing Arts and Technology. Some of the Academy
contemporary teachers helped me to prepare a routine for my audition
which really showed off my skills and ability. Along with this I had to
perform a song and a monologue for the audition. I then successfully
gained a place there to study musical theatre!
|The discipline and technique taught in the
DanceEast Academy classes have helped me in the dance classes at The
BRIT School, and I have consistently achieved distinctions in my work.
At the end of my time
at sixth form I am hoping to audition for a drama school to continue
studying musical theatre.
Many thanks to everyone at the DanceEast Academy who were
involved in my teaching and training - you have helped me get where I am
Richard, April 2012
DanceEast Academy student Richard had the opportunity
to go on a work experience placement with the Re:Bourne department at New
||When New Adventures came to Norwich with the Nutcracker! I was
lucky enough to be chosen from a group of candidates from DanceEast to
be given a placement with the company for three days.
On the first day, I met with Helen Prosser (Manager of Re:bourne) and
listened in on a meeting between New Adventures and the Norwich Theatre
Royal. I took part in a Nutcracker! workshop lead by Danny Ruebens who
plays Fritz and Kate Lowenhoff who plays Clara in the show. Later, I met
with one of the dancers; Tom Greaves, who talked to me about how life
works in a company and answered my many questions about schools and
|In the morning of day two I took a company class with Dena Lague,
which had contemporary and jazz content. For those few hours on the
set I felt I knew what it would be like to dance as part of a company.
It showed me that whatever you put into something you really do get out
After class I watched the matinee performance of Nutcracker!
which showed me what the dancers I had seen and met with were capable
of. I kept noticing parts of repertoire that I had been taught cropping
up on stage.
To round off the productive and eye opening two days, I met with some members of the company for a post-show talk.
On the third day I went for a tour of Sadler's Wells, the home of the
company. The stage alone was inspiring. It was by far the largest I had
been on. I also went to the New Adventures offices and helped with some
administrative tasks before meeting with Etta Murfitt, Associate
Director and Matthew Bourne himself.
The placement taught me what it takes to make something out of your
dance dream and the attitudes and practices needed for that to happen. Thank you to DanceEast for the opportunity!
Contact the DanceEast Academy
The DanceEast Academy is always looking to meet talented young people who will
benefit from the training. To find out more call the team on: 01473
295230 / email email@example.com