2023 - Dance Interview with ex student - Ellen

Dance Interview
Ellen M

Ellen is an ex Meadow student who was contacted to take part in this interview. She was very impressed to see the new facilities around the school- especially the new dining hall with dance mirrors and a ballet barre. She was also excited to see the new Hall set up as she used to take part in many of our school productions. Ellen was an avid dancer at Meadow and her passion grew throughout the years here. She took part in dance club, production club, performing in many shows and took Dance options qualifying in a dance leadership award to coach others. This gave Ellen opportunities to see the different roles within the Arts which she mentions in her interview - guided her onto her path. Ellen was always very supportive of her peers and was enthusiastic to explain to her peers the benefits of Dance at Meadow.

What have you done since leaving Meadow?

I went to BCA College and did 1 year of Art and design then 2 years of Production Arts, graduated from college and I got a nursing job (from the work experience I had at Meadow). I also did some volunteering at the Compass theatre, some wardrobe, ushering, bar work there. I went for a technician role at a college and worked there full time. Then also, I went for amateur dramatics company backstage as and when I can help with every other Sunday.

What do you feel has helped you most from doing Dance at Meadow?

From taking part in both Dance and the Production shows, it gave me the passion and the ideas for going into production arts, which started at Meadow. It let me explore what other avenues there were and it helped see the other possibilities. Doing Dance gave me a good idea of what the performers do and how it works. This gave me a rounded understanding of what the people on stage where going through.

What memories do you have at Meadow that stay with you now?

Mostly taking part in the Productions really! Just being a part of it all and the process of starting it from scratch - the scripts to putting it on stage. I learnt that I enjoyed seeing it through. I pushed myself to performing on stage. If I had known in year 7 I would be doing a solo by the end of 6th form I wouldn’t believe you! I do have to lead others backstage. Teaching is like putting on a show, so I feel like this helped. I show others health and safety with a list and talk through all the important tips.

How do you ensure you are at your best to perform?

I like to have a plan! I know that is very autistic of me, but it makes me feel calm. I normally dance when I am feeling stressed, it will relieve the stress out of me. If I am even on break, I will go for a walk with my music on and dance it out. With Covid and work I haven’t been able to do any proper dance lessons. I have also been working on my driving, so it gets very busy! I do want to find more classes to access now and again. I do go to the gym, but I miss going to a good dance class.

Describe the best performance you’ve ever put on. What did you learn from it?

The best performance I have been a part of was this year I was deputy stage manager so I led a group of students. They made some mistakes but by the end they were really confident. Timings got worked out and it was a learning curve.

Describe a time when you disagreed with an instructor or other dance member. What happened?

I can sometimes disagree in how someone else might explain something to others and I think I can do it differently. Some people can speak to others in blunt ways in the industry. I am not one to disagree so keep my head down.

What are the most important traits a dancer should have?

Dedication - It won’t always happen overnight so be patient. It will take time to practice being patient with yourself and others.  You can get frustrated, and you won’t get it all straight away so just take your time. Some situations that happen are out of your control. Consideration for others and their abilities, that people do get things wrong, make mistakes, but you should not put them down.

Have you ever forgotten the dance steps during a performance? What happened?

Yes, I have just phased out and then looked over realising! I think it was one of the Bruno Mars ones, I did it at a party and then didn’t even realise but no one else knew so it was okay!

What advice can you give to our dancers at Meadow?

Do not write it off. Give it a go! I think many people write it off and think because it is in the Arts you have to be dramatic and flamboyant, but you don’t have to be. I got to a point where I was asking to do private tap, jazz lessons with Miss Kalia and was a bit of a secret weapon.

What did you enjoy the most at dance?

The freedom of it, I always liked music and being able to create. It was not to society norms. Open but also structure, which works the best for my brain!

Interview conducted by Miss Kalia, Class Teacher and Dance Lead