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Alumni have found their 'Golden Ticket'

London Studio Centre alumni have started in the new cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London's Drury Lane Theatre. Alexander Bartles, Katrina Dix (assistant dance captain) and Rebecca Hodge (swing) join existing alumni Georgia Carling in the ensemble of the Roald Dahl classic tale; as it enters its final year in the West End.

We caught up with two of the new cast members before opening night to see how they were getting on: 

Q: How does it feel to be getting closer to opening night? Are you getting excited?

Katrina: It's very exciting, but of course there's some nerves in the mix too. We've been very fortunate to have quite a long rehearsal process to prepare us, however I still can't believe how fast it has flown.

Alexander: Very excited to be getting closer to the big day! I think everyone at this point knows the show inside out; it’s just a matter of running the pieces and practicing with wigs and costumes. Because the costumes are so elaborate and heavy, it does change the choreography somewhat; so we are just adapting and making our bodies ready for the opening night.

Q: How have you found the rehearsal process? What skills had LSC given you to prepare for this?

K: The rehearsal process has been challenging. With this particular show there are a lot of prop and costume elements to contend with and such a wide range of styles vocally and physically. At London Studio Centre, the training is so diverse you really are prepared for any styles that are thrown at you!

A: The rehearsal process started really fast and hard, we learnt a routine everyday and almost all the songs by the end of week one. By having all the information and material as soon as possible, it allowed us to spend more time developing our characters and get as strong as possible in the dance routines ready for the costume runs. In general though the rehearsal process has been physically and emotionally quite tough. This cast change over has been quite large however so there were a lot of us in the same boat who could lean on each other for support. The rigorous training we had and became accustomed to at London Studio Centre really made me aware and knowledgeable about what my body can do. This meant I could push through the first few weeks of rehearsals confident of my capabilities and not become overwhelmed by the workload.

BackstageCharlieBackstage Photo collection, featuring alumni Alexander Bartles, Katrina Dix and Rebecca Hodge.

What skills had LSC given you to be able to audition, rehearse and perform successfully?

K: At London Studio Centre, the schedule was very rigorous and demanding, which helped me to develop the strength, stamina and technique needed to sustain me through the rehearsal process. Also throughout our training we were presented with multiple audition and performance experience opportunities, so upon graduation I felt well prepared for audition scenarios.  

A: LSC really helped me learn how to conduct myself in auditions. I graduated from Seedtime (LSC's Musical Theatre professional third year company) directed by Matthew Shaw. Within the company I learnt advanced audition etiquette and our weekly repertoire sessions gave me a strong portfolio of material to use in auditions. The first two years of LSC provided me with a stable foundation; the technique classes made me feel comfortable in all auditions. I have a strong understanding of jazz and ballet technique, which is what you really need to rely on in all auditions. LSC’s continuous focus and development on precision and attention to detail, within barre work and jazz technique has helped me enormously in auditions and jobs so far.

What skills have you had to learn/develop through the rehearsal process?

K: Learning to tap dance on my hands is something I can definitely say I have never done before this contract!! It was so enjoyable and exciting to learn a skill that none of us could have imagined doing prior to this show. There are so many things I have enjoyed about this process so far, but one thing in particular has been the extremities to which you can push your performance and character - there is no such thing as too much, especially with the Oompa Loompas! Every move has a detailed thought process attached to it; which really stimulates you mentally and enables you get lost in the story.

What have you found hardest? What advice can you pass on to aspiring performers?!

K: I've always enjoyed physical and athletic ways of moving, but this show really pushes you to new heights as some of the costumes are particularly heavy (one weighing 4 stone!). The first time we rehearsed with costumes was a real challenge mentally and physically, but the more we persevered and encouraged one another, the more we were able to get to grips with it all. My advice to aspiring performers would be to always embrace new challenges with an open and positive mind. Mind over matter is always the way!

A: The hardest thing I have found since leaving college is the mental and emotional side of the industry. We are prepared physically very well but even if you are prepared to face rejection; it still doesn't prepare you fully for the amount of no's you will hear. I have been extremely lucky in my career so far but I have also had periods in which I just had to motivate myself to not stop driving forward. You can be your own best friend and own worst enemy, so a good support system is always needed. My advice to new performers would be to really go for it but also remember there are always going to be other opportunities. Make a good friendship group at college and through auditioning and working, and help each other as much as you can. Tearing down other people's confidence helps no one, be happy, be humble, be just a nice person to work with!

What have you enjoyed most? What are you looking forward to the most?

A: In this job I have enjoyed getting to know my colleagues the most and just marveling at what we are doing in the show. In college you are taught to dance but when in a show like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory we are also performing with props that no student would dream of working with, such as tap dancing on our hands and dancing whilst juggling bouncing balls. Now I am looking forward to becoming confident with the show and really having fun with what I do!

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are currently taking bookings until January 2017. For more information about the show and how to book tickets, please click here.

We wish all our alumni in the cast the best of luck on their venture into the land of Willy Wonka.  

Boys' Day 2016

This year's Boys' Day took place on Saturday 30th April and was a roaring sucess, with boys traveling from around the country to join us in London for a day of specialist training.

London Studio Centre provide free workshops and classes in Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop , Jazz, Singing and Musical Theatre. These classes are especially designed for boys of all abilities with an interest in dance and theatre perfomance. The day is a fantastic opportunity to get a feeling for full-time training at London Studio Centre and to visit our state-of-the-art facilities at artsdepot. LSC produces this day annually to further encourage and develop the training of male dancers within the performing arts community. Each year the day features industry professionals who teach classes and offer a challenging and positive experience along side a wealth of tips and advice from the best in the business. 

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A lot of fun was had by all staff, students and attendees involved. This year we recieved some fantastic feedback about the event via social media and through the attendees testimonials. 

"Above and beyond expectations. Absolutely amazing day, enjoyed every second!" (Alfie)

"All the teachers and students were very welcoming and the dancing was really fun. Lived up to previous Boys' days at LSC" (Will)

"The day was fun and enjoyable and gave an insight into full-time dance education" (Harry) 

"Professional, informative and fun" (Toby)

"Useful feedback on how to improve, friendly, happy atmosphere" (Fabian)

 

We are excited to get started with the planning of the next Boys' event and eager to make 2017's Boy' Day even bigger and better. A big thank you to all staff and creatives involved, we look forward to welcoming you all back again next year. 

Bradshaw strides into uncharted endeavours

Luke Bradshaw trained with London Studio Centre and after opting for the contemporary dance pathway. He graduated from INTOTO DANCE, in 2013.

"INTOTO DANCE was a great learning curve and experience. The structure of each day is exactly that of a professional dance company; class in the morning and then into rehearsal for the rest of the day. It helps build the staying power and mindset needed to suceed as a professional dancer. Also when in INTOTO DANCE the working relationships with the leaders of the company developed from that of a student and teacher, to dancer and artistic director; this prepared me for professional life and allowed me to hit the ground running." LUKE BRADSHAW

LukeBradshawAbove: 5 SOLDIERS promotional tour image, Luke Bradshaw, centre.                                                                                                                                     

After LSC Luke went onto dance with various dance companies including The Burklyn Ballet Theatre and Kim Robard's Dance Company, in America. When returning to London he also worked with James Wilton Dance and Jorge Crecis. Luke has had sucess dancing for Citrus Arts, a contemporary circus and theatre company based in Wales, where he began his training in the art of Corde Lisse. After touring with Terry Gilliam's production of the opera Benvenuto Cellini, he began dancing for Dam Van Huynh Dance Company. Most recently Luke can be found dancing in Rosie Kay's Company, who won best international dance company of the year award at the National Dance Awards 2015, in a production called 5 SOLDIERS.


soliders

Rosie Kay Dance Company's latest production 5 SOLDIERS has been hailed as a five star, award-winning show, that promises to change the way you think about war forever. A moving, dramatic and unique work that looks at how the human body remains essential to war. The production has been awarded best dance production 2015 from the North East Theatre Guide and has been given an Arts and Health Special Commendation by the Royal Society for Public Health for the company's excellent contribution to arts and health practice. 

"5 SOLDIERS which, in it's humane, unsparing study of modern army life, has taken Kay's choreography, and dance as a whole, into radically uncharted territory." THE GUARDIAN

"Simply a five star must-see however you view the armed forced." BIRMINGHAM PRESS

"Deeply moving, relevant and so representative of how soldiers are. Arresting and disturbing." FORMER GREEN JACKET SOLDIER


We caught up with Luke recently and asked him what advice he could pass on to aspiring performers in the world of contemporary dance:

L: I would tell them to trust the guidance of their teachers and the outside perspective they have on you. The impact of this guidance from LSC has had a hugely positive impact on my career and filtered through into my life in many other ways too. I would also implore them to not take notes and criticisms too personally. If you have the job, the director/choreographer likes you already, everything from that point onwards is about working together to produce the best possible work. Always be open and show up ready to fully commit to the process of creation and rehearse with as much energy as you perform; and then you can react and deal with surprises as they come. 

What skills did LSC arm you with for the professional world?

L: The biggest skill LSC gave me is knowledge and the importance of prioritising attention to detail, you have to always be personally responsible for retaining choreography and correction for yourself while remembering to be musical. LSC also taught me a range of dance techniques, the variety instilled in me a flexible mindset and approach to dance. This has been invaluable in allowing me to work with the varied and interesting companies that I have so far. 

 

Luke is a fantastic example of our alumni who are conscientiously always striding to improve upon their skillset. He has further developed his passion for writing after being awarded a BA hons at LSC and has seen his work published in dance magazines Tanz and Dance Europe. Luke also works in his spare time as a Yoga teacher and as a class pianist for a variety of dance classes in London.

"All three years of LSC are a journey and so is the rehearsal process in a professional company. Be open to constantly grow and become the best dancer you can be, even if it is not in the direction you had originally imagined. Always be open to learning new skills as you never know where they will take you." LUKE BRADSHAW

Luke is currently on the Army of Scotland Tour of 5 SOLIDERS until the end of May, visiting Glasgow, Glencorse, Stirling, Inverness and Aberdeen. For more information how to book tickets to catch this must see production please click here.   

 

LSC takes America by storm

Performing arts students often aspire to achieve their dreams of dancing in the West End. Several LSC alumni are currently showing us why we should broaden our horizons to Broadway and beyond. 

ScarlettStrallenScarlett Strallen in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder; photography Joan Marcus 

Many of our alumni work far and wide across the world, including the dizzy heights of American theatre and Broadway. Scarlett Strallen, who has vast stage credits, first made her Broadway debut back in 2008, playing the title role of Mary Poppins after transferring from London. She has previously appeared in many other West End shows playing lead roles; including Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mavis in The Witches of Eastwick and Cassie in A Chorus Line. Scarlett has recently completed a run as Sibella in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Broadway. Feeling quite at home now ‘over the pond’, this summer Scarlett is sure to make more waves in American theatre when she will be playing Mabel in the Barrington Stage Company's production of The Pirates of Penzance.

Another LSC alumni who is spreading her horizons wide is Rebecca Howell. Upon graduating, Rebecca joined the ensemble of UK tour Kiss Me, Kate, was a cast member in We Will Rock You and was in the original cast of the Wizard of Oz at the Palladium.  As her career has developed Rebecca has been able to progress her dance captain skills and began working more and more as an assistant to choreographers as well as a choreographer in her own right. She has now worked extensively across the industry for film and theatre, West End and UK tours. Some of her work includes; Tommy (Peter Frosdick Productions); Blockbuster (UK Tour); Falstaff (Royal Opera House) and Jest End (Jermyn Street, Players Theatre, Leicester Square Theatre). Some of her associate Choreographer theatre credits include Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory and West End; Associate to Lynne Page); Oh What a Lovely War (Theatre Royal, Stratford East); Viva Forever (Associate to Lynne Page; West End); Billy Elliot (Tap Tutor, West End) and Little Shop of Horrors (Menier Chocolate Factory, West End). Most recently Rebecca has seen her work on American Psycho, as associate Choreographer to Lynne Page, successfully transfer from London to the Almeida Theatre, Broadway. 

 

American Psycho the Musical, on Broadway (Choreographed by Lynne Page, assistant Choreography by Rebecca Howell) 

“I love working both sides of the Atlantic. Broadway really is a magical place. You idolise it so much as kid, & the bright lights don't disappoint. But it hasn't been intimidating as I thought it may have been. I've always felt that the West End has been regarded as second rate compared to NY, but I didn't find that to be the case at all. The talent is just different, and both great in their own rights”

-Rebecca Howell

 

Simeon Weedall is a percussive tap dancer who trained at London Studio Centre and graduated with the Vic Ray Tap Award. He has appeared in Chicago (tour and West End), played the lead tapper in Magic of the Dance (international tour) and was lead tapper for the Liam O’Connor Show (international tour). Simeon has also successfully choreographed, produced and appeared in his own tap company About Time (which toured the UK, before a stint on the West End) and he also co-created and produced Percussive Feet at the Brighton Festival and Pleasance Theatre London. These days you can find Simeon as dance captain; leading Stomp on a U.S Tour onto their residency in New York later this year.

SimeonWeedalOn the left: Simeon Weedall, in STOMP (American Tour) 

“ It's always good to remember where you started in life and I will never forget London Studio Centre and how my time there helped me move forwards and grow in the right direction. I will never forget the opportunities and encouragement everybody gave to me while I was there and the continued support you gave to me after I left”

Simeon Weedall

 

To all our alumni working in exciting ventures across the world, we wish you the best of luck from everyone at London Studio Centre.

BalletBoyz Masterclass for LSC students

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This term students will have the exciting opportunity of receiving a Masterclass ran by the critically acclaimed BalletBoyz. Students are looking forward to the company visiting London Studio Centre on the run up to their performance at artsdepot on May 11th 2016. 

Originally founded in 2001 by Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, both ex-Principal dancers for The Royal Ballet Company, BalletBoyz is renowned for working innovatively with choreographers, designers and dancers. In 2010 they began a mentoring system, coaching young male dancers to a high standard to be able to progress into the company. With this system of training the company has gone from strength to strength; winning multiple awards. 

Michael Nunn, Billy Trevitt and Kerry Whelan (BalletBoyz Executive Director) have also recently become Artitstic Directors at bbodance, formally known as the British Ballet Organisation. Our own Director and CEO of London Studio Centre, Nic Espinosa is the Chairman of bbodance and is closely involved in the day to day running of the Organisation. 

While London Studio Centre has always maintained strong and current links to the wider performing arts industry, we look forward to continuing this close relationship with the BalletBoyz in the future. 

For more information about the BalletBoyz 2016 tour, please click here