"I decided to apply for London Contemporary Dance School because I had a lot of respect for the faculty, their range of backgrounds and specialisms. I also liked the school's connection with the professional dance world: The Robin Howard Dance Theatre, Artist Development, Richard Alston Company and the choreographers who work here, all in the same building. Having done classes at The Place over the years, and taken part in Resolution! I already felt familiar with the environment and keen to become a further part of it.
The Advanced Dance Studies course offered the possibility of combining modules from all the three main specialisms: performance, choreography and dance education (the three areas that constitute the portfolio career of many dance artists). I had wanted to apply to a postgraduate course at LCDS before but was put off by having to 'choose' between these three strands. ADS was exactly the course I had been waiting for and I chose modules in all three areas, to help me grow as a dancer, choreographer and teacher.
The School's location is ideal as it is in the centre of London with good links to the bus, tube and train networks. I was able to handle my studies and a part time job purely because it was so easy to commute to and from the School. As a Londoner of 12 years, I love the cosmopolitan and multicultural city; the mix of nationalities at the School for me was simply an extension of that. I enjoyed getting to know people from so many different countries, and learning about their experiences and understanding of contemporary dance.
This year has been busy, intense, and worth all the sacrifices! The course required a lot of self-discipline and initiative, a lot of reading and personal research was necessary after class. I had to maintain a part time job, and I wanted to keep a foot in the professional dance world by auditioning, teaching and choreographing whenever possible, so days off and a social life were rare! But that was a choice I do not regret, I was really committed to make the most of my year of study. I chose to do all the performance modules and residencies possible, enjoying the contrasting styles, this included: Cunningham technique and repertoire with Jeannie Steele (Merce Cunningham Company); repertoire including Siobhan Davies' White Man Sleeps with Sasha Roubicek and Hofesh Shechter’s Political Mother; residencies with Richard Alston Dance Company and Hofesh Shechter Company as well as a commissioned work choreographed on us by Arthur Pita.
Working with Arthur Pita was very stimulating, I enjoyed the change of approach from learning repertoire (or complete improvisation) that we had done for most of the year. I always enjoy devising new work and feel privileged when I get to be part of a choreographer's creative process. The work was also very theatrical and I had a lot of fun embracing the symbolic world Arthur created with us - the character work, costumes, etc.
LCDS was a great place to study and interact with a wide range of students of various ages, at various stages of their studies/careers and with various interests. I just wish I had more time to collaborate with the other students! I danced in BA3 student Dominique Mitchell-Bennett's work for Collaborations with a designer from Wimbledon College of Art and I also did a few independent projects in and outside the school with fellow ADS student and choreographer Jose Campos. It was great to be taught by a combination of teachers and visiting professionals, and to be able to mix with students of various ages, backgrounds and experiences. As a postgraduate student, I expected to be able to pursue my own path within the course, with a lot of guidance but just enough so that I felt I was still in charge of my journey. I felt fully responsible for my training, whilst receiving the support, challenges and evaluation I needed from people I regarded highly and fully trusted.
The highlights of the course include the highly stimulating choreography sessions we had with Sue MacLennan in the first term; Somatics with Susanne Lahusen left me wanting for more and all the works I was able to perform in, especially White Man Sleeps which was an interesting journey for me.
I plan to carry on working as an independent performer, teacher and choreographer in a wide range of contexts and at international level. Right now I am assisting Arthur Pita on his adaptation of The Metamoprhosis for the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio, an opportunity he offered me soon after the LCDS Graduation Shows. In the autumn I will return to teach improvisation workshops (based on Butoh) to the BA (Hons) and Postgraduate students at the Central School of Speech and Drama, and soon after that I hope to do a yoga teacher training course. I would also happily return to LCDS and contribute to student dancers' training, teaching or choreographing for them."