4dancers would like to introduce a new feature–Student Spotlight. In this column, we’ll be sharing some information about students from all over–a little glimpse inside their world as they work to move into a career in dance. Today is our first….
1. Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?
I was first exposed to dance through the Physical Education curriculum at my local state school. All of the students at my school had to take dance on rota like all the other sports, such as rugby and football. At that time I was playing rugby at a very high level. After breaking my wrist twice in the same year I was forced to spend more time off the pitch, and coincidentally ended up heading to the dance studio for refuge.
The ball just started rolling from there. I was intrigued by what I saw and the dancing I experienced. Even though I was a sportsman as a child, I was always interested in theatre, dance appeared to be the natural and obvious way that both my interests found harmony; it was physically and theatrically exciting.
From there I started joining local youth dance companies and then regional youth companies, eventually I was dancing every day after school with a different group in a different place. Then I decided to pursue it as a career and continued my training at London Contemporary Dance School.
2. What do you find you like best about dance class?
There are countless positive experiences that dance brings me every day, and that truly is the joy of following an art form you are passionate about. But if I were to just consider class, which is a different environment to rehearsal let’s say, it would have to be the simple physical satisfaction the movement brings.
Class is evidently a repetitious process that any dancer endures through their career; the satisfaction of movement keeps me curious. I value being able to step into class, and no matter what challenges and dramas you face in the outside world, the class becomes a time for you to leave it all at the door and bask in the enjoyment of movement. Even though a lot of the time classes present their own challenges, it can become almost a meditation allowing the body and mind to physically and artistically release.
3. What is the hardest part about dance for you?
I think there are many things within dance that at times prove huge challenges–but they also provide joy as well. The challenges we have to overcome within class, or during a choreographic process often only last a limited time, and once we have overcome these barriers, the satisfaction and joy overrides the difficulty we faced. Otherwise we would probably not go back in the studio every day.
But I think to have confidence in yourself, your artistry your beliefs as a dancer and a choreographer, especially when you are young is one of the hardest things. It is tragically easy for young dancers (which I certainly still am) to always feel a huge pressure to try and conform. To always feel they have to look, dance and think in a certain way, and as the industry is so competitive it feels very risky to not follow the crowd.
Yet it is clear that people who have found their own voice, whether that be in the way that they understand their own body through movement, or their own choreographic endeavours; the result is far more successful and exiting artistically. It is very hard to believe in yourself and your own strengths on a daily basis, but I think we should all try to remember their value.
4. What advice would you give to other dancers?
Much of what I said previously about having faith and belief in yourself. It is so true what they say–“if you can’t believe in yourself how can you expect other people to?”. There’s a big difference between that and overexerting your confidence onto other people, but recognising your strengths and potentials is very powerful.
Also travel! If you have the resources to travel it can be the most artistically fulfilling experience. I had the opportunity this year to tour around Australia and spend 4 months studying in New York; the whole journey has had a profound effect on me. There is so much exciting dance happening around the world, and yes, the internet does give us the amazing ability to view so much international dance, but there is nothing like going and experiencing the different dance cultures for yourself.
5. How has dance changed your life?
For the last number of years dance has been my life. It has influenced most of the major decisions I have made in recent years and it has been one of my highest priorities. I guess being in the arts does this to you, but I certainly see that as a blessing. I know that dance has really moulded me into the young adult I am today, allowing me to approach life with compassion, sensitivity, artistry and flair. Being in the arts allows you to be very free and open-minded this kind of lifestyle can be extremely rich and fulfilling and I am lucky to be able to follow a path that keeps me curious in life.
BIO: Chris Scott is a graduating student at London Contemporary Dance School. Last year he completed a six week scholarship tour of Australia as well as a semester of exchange at State University of New York’s Purchase College Dance Conservatory. Chris has been invited to the World Dance Summit in Taipei this July to present as a Key note speaker on ‘internationals perspectives for young people’.
Do you know a student who should appear in “Student Spotlight”? E-mail the editor at: editor (at) 4dancers (dot) org to submit their name and information.