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Performing arts and entrepreneurship go hand in hand

Making the decision to train in dance and theatre performance to a professional level, does not only prepare you for a life on the stage, but provides with many transferable skills which can make you an ideal employee or entrepreneur. Through performance we not only learn, motivation and commitment, we also perfect collaboration and teamwork skills; creative thinking and problem solving. Numerous avenues are open for you when you’re a graduate; on top of your ability to utilise the multi-disciplined expertise you have learnt in the studio. Many of our students go on to become choreographers, directors, agents and casting directors within the industry, as well as teachers, designers, or even entrepreneurs or company managers. Success can only be increased by performers strong capabilities in communication, time management, teamwork, adaptability and working under pressure. 

Emily Evans and Jessica Evans have recently set up their own entertainment company with a twist, The Twin Swing. The Twin Swing are a professional dance act available for hire at corporate events, private events, festivals, product launches and much more, and pledge to bring something memorable with a touch of sparkle to any event. They are delighted to say that since beginning their start up business providing entertainment and dance tuition, they have performed their act at well established venues such Chessington World of Adventure, The Hilton; London, Intercontinental; London Park Lane and Shangri-La Hotel; The Shard.

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We caught up with Emily Evans and Jessica Evans who make up the double act to see how they were enjoying their new enterprise:

How did LSC prepare you for the professional industry? 

The standard of training at LSC is extremely high. The degree course creates a strong work ethic and the students that join are committed to succeeding not only academically but also in the dance performance side. Everything about LSC prepared me for the professional industry from the high standard of teachers to the academic lectures.

How did LSC provide you with the skills you needed to start the Twin Swing

The work ethic at LSC was so high and this is something you need to start a small business alone. Also, LSC instilled confidence to put creative ideas forward and present them in the most professional way. More than that however, necessary skills such as promoting, marketing and networking were a strong part of our training at LSC and these have been a vital part of the success we have had.

What motivates you?

We have always loved dance and that is something that motivates us both. Seeing other people genuinely enjoying what we do and now giving them the opportunity to have a go - and seeing positive results is really motivating! I guess when times have been tough; we are lucky to have had each other to keep the motivation high.

What new skills have you had to develop?

We have become social media marketing 'keen beans' as it really does create hype about your business, as well as help it get out there to the masses. Just getting people to see what you do! On top of that, we have developed skills in dealing with clients, event planning and much more!

What advice do you have for other budding entrepreneurs/theatre school alumni?

When you get a positive response about an idea you have had - run with it and be passionate about it. If you are not whole-heartedly in it, how can you expect anyone else to be? You will be the face of this business so stay positive, enthusiastic and motivated even when things aren't going so well as hard work does pay off.

Third Year Company Success

This year our third year companies have toured across the UK, from Yeovil to Luton, Brecon to Gravesend before bringing their productions home to London. Their final shows were held in prestigious theatres in central London; including The Peacock, The Place and The Lilian Baylis Studio Theatre at Sadlers Wells. Each company has worked with a series of professional creative teams to help direct and choreograph the shows, as well as coordinate costumes, lighting, sound, sets and logistics. The tours provide the students with a great opportunity to experience first hand what it would be like to be in the cast of a full scale production, gaining knowledge about theatre procedures, touring life and learning skills required from professional theatre performers.

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Images Ballet Company photography: rehearsal photos by Adrian Hobbs and marketing photos by Pari Naderi

Images Ballet Company have worked with choreographers including:

  • Morgann Runacre-Temple (choreographic credits include: Ballet Ireland, English National Ballet and Ballet Central)
  • Jonathan Watkins (choreographic credits include: Northern Ballet, Ballet Black and New York City Ballet)
  • Sally Marie (choreographic credits include: Protein Dance, Jasmin Vardimon and Tilted Productions)

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INTOTO Dance photography: production photos by Fiona Whyte

INTOTO Dance, contemporary dance company have worked with choreographers including:

  • Eleesha Drennan (choreographic credits include: National Dance Company Wales, recipient of the prestigious Sky Academy Arts Scholarship culminating in the creation of a new dance production: Channel Rose)
  • Gemma Nixon (choreographic credits include: Rambert Dance Company, Goddard Nixon and New Movement Collective)
  • Freddie Opoku-Addaie (choreographic credits include: Ballet Boyz, Siobhan Davies Dance, Random Dance and Royal Opera House)
  • Luke Brown (choreographic credits include: Luke Brown Dance)

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Jazz Dance Company photography: stills from video by Joseph Edwards

Jazz Dance Company have worked with choreographers including:

  • Matthew Cole (director and choreographic credits include: West Side Story UK tour, Footloose UK tour, Never Forget UK tour)
  • Kane D. Ricca (choreographic credits include artist such as: The Wanted, Pharell William and Bon Jovi)
  • Matt Flint (choreographic credits include: Tell Me On A Sunday at The Watermill & UK tour, West End Heroes at The Dominion and Brass Leeds City Hall)
  • As well as Kevan Allen, Ryan Francois, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Jono Kitchens, Dax O’Callaghan, Regan Shepherd and Nikki Trow

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Seedtime photography: production photos by Mark Douet 

Seedtime, music theatre company have worked with a creative team that includes:

  • Director Luke Fredericks (directing credits include Bat Boy: The Musical at Southwark Playhouse, Carousel at Arcola Theatre (nominated for four 2014 Off West End Awards and nine 2014 Broadwayworld.com Awards), The Revenge Of Sherlock Holmes! at Hoxton Hall and Jekyll And Hyde at the Union Theatre)
  • Musical Director: Lee Freeman (musical director credits include: Miracle on 34th Street UK tour, Jewish Legends UK tour, Cool Rider: The Cult Musical Sequel [West End] and Copacabana UK tour) 
  • Choreographer: Chris Whittaker (choreographer credits include: Through The Mill at the Southwark Playhouse, Gatsby at Arts Theatre, Leicester Square. And at Christmas this year Chris will choreograph Anything Goes upstairs at the Gatehouse)

 

“The thing I most enjoyed was seeing the progression of the show from opening until closing night and also as a company our confidence grew along the way. Performing in different sized venues helped me take on notes quickly and the fact that our pieces were so different to each other made me a more versatile performer” Stacey Walsh, Jazz Dance Company 2016

Congratulations and good luck to the class of 2016!

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Today is the final graduation day for our third year students as they collect their degree certificates from Middlesex University this afternoon. Last Saturday we celebrated the work and achievements of our graduating year group in a ceremony at the New Wimbledon Theatre. Staff, students, family and friends gathered together first to watch Dance Overture, a first and second year performance; before third years were called up to the stage to collect their award certificates. This year the students were greeted and received their awards from LSC alumni Daniel Crossley, who is known for his roles in Singin’ In the Rain, Hello, Dolly! and Mary Poppins to name a few.

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[LSC Graduates: Daniel Crossley, right (Cosmo Brown) Scarlett Strallen, centre (Kathy Selden) with co-star Adam Cooper, left (Don Lockwood) Singin' in the Rain, Stage Entertainment. Photo © Manuel Harlain]

 

As well as being presented with a certificate of their achievements, the following students also received special awards:

Terilee Christiansen – Most outstanding performance in INTOTO Dance

Michelle Rose – Peter Brinson Award (awarded for achievement in Contemporary Dance)

Jessica Keable – Lia Williams Cup (most outstanding performance in Seedtime)

Gabrielle Pemberton – Sheila O’ Neill Award (awarded for achievement in Music Theatre and Dance)

Jacqueline Back – Most outstanding performance in Images Ballet Company

Demi Aldred – Founders Cup (awarded for achievement in Classical Ballet)

Nolan Robba – Most outstanding performance in Jazz Dance Company

Emma Cooke – Gillian Lynne Award (awarded for achievement in Jazz Dance)

Hannah Tunnicliffe – Vic Ray Shield for Tap (awarded for achievement in Tap Dance)

Heidi Dilley – Espinosa Award (awarded to the most accomplished student of the year)

Georgia Homewood – Hilda Coleman Trophy (awarded for the most progress achieved)

 

Congratulations to all third year students on your achievements. Remember to check out our Alumni Association page, keep in touch with us and up to date with your all endeavours.   

LSC alumni soar into the wizarding world of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child artwork

The frenzy around Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is beginning to rise as the productions cast and creatives work on the finishing touches before opening night in less than a month's time. Based on an original new story by J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne will receive its world premiere in London's West End at the Palace Theatre this Summer. The play is based 19 years later after the original well-loved story finished and will be the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. 

The cast brings together a mix of actors from various performing pathways and includes two LSC alumni; Nuno Silva and Joshua Wyatt.

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Above: Nuno Silva (left) and Joshua Wyatt (right) 

Nuno's career has credits from a wide spectrum of theatre; including The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe for Birmmingham Rep, The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare's Globe, Little Shop of Horrors at the Royal Exchange Theatre. He has been in The Light Princess at the National Theatre, Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre, Maria De Buenos Aires at Cork Opera House. As well as appearing as a dancer in Dr. Dee at Manchester International Festival and the ENO, The Crane Maiden in Yokohama, Japan, An Anatomy in Four Quarters and The Most Incredible Thing at Sadler's Wells and God's Garden at the Royal Opera House. 

Joshua graduated from LSC and went straight into the emsemble of Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre, London. Later appearing in Tommy at Blackpool Opera House and Loserville at Union Theatre, London. Joshua is making his debut in his first acting based role in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

We recently caught up with Joshua to see how excited he is about his new venture:

Joshua: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has undoubtedly been completely different from anything else I have done since leaving college. However, at the same time, the sheer scale of the production makes it feel like a hybrid, almost a brand new genre of theatre altogether.

What has made your experience in this rehearsal period so different from other productions?

J: When in the cast of a musical theatre production I was used to a patterned process, a dance warm up and a singing warm up, then onto learning and rehearsing the production numbers. In my previous jobs, the productions were mostly set and only varied slightly during the rehearsals. In one day of rehearsals we would learn a whole song and dance number and then the creativity involved was more concentrated to an individual putting their unique spin on a character. At the moment each day is different for me, we still have a physical warm up in the morning, but because this is the premier of the play, there is an infinite creative process going on. The challenging part for the whole cast  is keeping up with the huge amounts of changes and rewrites, constantly learning new adapted lines and cutting old ones, it really tests you as a performer.

What have you enjoyed the most about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child so far?

J: Being able to observe the progression and development of the production is one of the most appealing parts of doing a piece that is brand new. Compared with a musical where you can have a text, song and dance to convey the storyline to the audience, this is one of the first times I have gone into so much detail with a script and character. You bring your body, character and ideas with as much detail as you can to rehearsals and the director works with you once you have interpreted the text. It is a very interesting process and I enjoy the flexibility and freedom it brings. You get to use so much of your imagination; it's very exciting.

How did London Studio Centre prepare you for different genres of theatre?

J: LSC provided me with the skills to be able to adapt to pretty much all scenarios and jobs out there. The training was intense with a heavy dance schedule. In a normal day we could be running from ballet in your tights straight into a singing lesson; still glistening in sweat, then throwing on your tap shoes before being given some papers on how to do a northern accent for your acting class. The training was so diverse, which is what attracted me to LSC in the first place.

What advice would you give to other eager performers?

J: LSC instilled in me the idea of being a 'thinking dancer', which is such a valuble message for when I was out auditioning in the industry, it reminded me to not fall into the habit of being a clone. If I could give any advice to others it would be to never turn down opportunities and if none come your way, create some! Keeping your skills and talents at an employable level is one of the hardest tasks when you've finished college because as soon as you stop doing class everyday it's like an hour glass, unless you keep going, improving and maintaining skills, then when the time comes you won't make the grade. Treat everything like a muscle. It needs to be worked to be maintained and strengthed. And always be polite!

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.