6 March 2018

March Profile - THE DANCER

It's time for the next instalment in my monthly profile series!

Over the course of twelve months, I am interviewing a range of creative, enthusiastic and dedicated professionals, passionate about their respective areas of expertise and willing to share the love for their subject with you all.

I hope that these interviews will be inspiring, helpful for those wishing to pursue similar careers, and most importantly, an interesting and insightful read.

My March profile is the immensely talented Emily Brown; dancer, choreographer, teacher, and founder of Forged Line Dance Company. 

T H E  D A N C E R 

March Profile - THE DANCER Emily Brown
Image credit: Malcolm Rea

How did you initially become interested in dance? 

When I was very small, I watched my big sisters go to ballet every Saturday. Naturally I wanted to be a part of this, so I went to my first class at the age of three, and haven't stopped since! 

How did you go about pursuing your interest in dance? What did you study at school and university? 

In my early teens I started training seriously, attending weekly ballet classes at the Hammond School and then at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. At age 14 however, I went to a contemporary dance class at the DanceXchange in Birmingham, and realised I felt much more at home with this dance style. From then I attended Reflex Youth Dance Company, as well as continuing my ballet training. I studied contemporary dance at the University of Chester, and completed an MA in dance performance at the University of Chichester, where I toured as part of Mapdance graduate dance company. 

What sort of work do you do now? Is there a particular genre of dance that you focus your time on? 

Since graduating in 2012, I've choreographed contemporary dance work and performed with various artists across the arts. I also teach contemporary dance to adults and children. Recently I founded Forged Line Dance Company, and last year toured my first full-length work, Lina, a contemporary dance duet inspired by the lives of astronomers William and Caroline Herschel. Contemporary dance is a really free and expressive dance form, and a perfect genre to tell a story and explore really wide ranging creative ideas, so I never get bored with it! 

March Profile - THE DANCER Emily Brown
Image credit: Hannah Smith

Do you spend your time mainly performing dance, choreographing, or a bit of both? What inspires you when devising new pieces?  

Choreography definitely takes a lot more of my time than performing, as even if I am not in a studio, I tend to be thinking about ideas for new work. I choreograph in my head a lot! I really enjoy making and watching collaborative work, that doesn't quite fit into a particular box. When creating Lina, I took inspiration from science, music and local history. Finding the connections between art and science is something I definitely want to explore further in future work. 

Are there any role models, dancers or choreographers who you look up to in particular?  

I have a musical background, so I have always been drawn to choreographers that work across music and dance, in particular Jonathan Burrows and Matteo Fargion, who are a fantastic combination of a ballet dancer and a composer who collaborate to create really unusual, humorous and sometimes unexpectedly moving performances. 

What does a typical day’s work look like?  

My days tend to vary quite wildly! I teach dance in various places, so some days I'll have a topsy-turvy day of having a morning at home, usually planning classes or catching up on some admin, then teaching in the afternoon and into the evening. If I'm creating work in the studio, a typical rehearsal will go from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, as that's when everyone is usually most alert and creative. 

March Profile - THE DANCER Emily Brown
Image credit: Hannah Smith

What are the best bits about dancing for a living? 

The moments where I can share something I love with other people - whether that's performing on stage, or teaching a new phrase to some children. Working with like minded people is definitely a massive bonus. The dance community in Bath and Bristol is full of lovely, hard working people who are brilliant to work with. 

And the worst bits...? 

It can be quite physically demanding - mostly I relish that but sometimes it's hard work to drag myself to a class if I'm feeling under the weather. 

I imagine you have to keep very fit as a dancer! Do you follow a particular diet, or any other forms of exercise to help sustain this? 

I'm vegan so I tend to eat fairly healthy food without too much trouble. When I'm dancing I eat things like flapjacks and bananas to keep energy up. As I dance most days I don't do much additional exercise, though I tried a street dance class the other day, and it was the best cardio workout I've had in a long time! 

March Profile - THE DANCER Emily Brown
Image credit: Malcolm Rea

Where would you like to see yourself and your work in dance in a few years' time? 

I'd like to have established Forged Line as a successful company in the South West, and created more dance works. I'd also love to be working more with youth dance, as this is something else I really enjoy. 

Finally, do you have any advice for others looking to pursue an interest or a career in dance? 

If you're interested in finding out a bit more about dance, the best and quickest way of getting to know more about it is just to go to a class and get moving. Dance doesn't present a straightforward career path for most people, so don't worry if you find yourself taking unusual routes - you'll find you were heading in the right direction even if it's not the one you expected! 

Forged Line Dance Company is based in Bath, and committed to creating high quality dance work in collaboration with different art forms and cultural organisations. For information about upcoming performances, or to have a look at their blog, visit their website forgedlinedance.co.uk or their Facebook page. You can also tweet them here.


Take a look at the other monthly profiles here:
January Profile - THE THEATRE MAKER 

February Profile - THE ARTIST 

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