We caught up with ENBYouthCo 2020-21 dancer, Honor, to talk about her experience with our youth dance company, the challenges and benefits of working online for a lot of the past year, her newfound love of choreographing dance for camera, and her future dancing plans.
How long have you been dancing?
Since I was five – so for twelve years.
You took part in an ENBYouthCo-nnect course before applying to join ENBYouthCo – how did you first hear about ENBYouthCo-nnect?
I did your summer school in 2019, which I found out about through a friend at the London Children’s Ballet, and then I just stayed on the mailing list and found out about the six week ENBYouthCo-nnect course. I didn’t know anything about it until just before the summer school, and that was the first thing I had done with ENB.
Have you seen any ENB productions? If so, do you have a favourite?
I’ve seen a couple, and one of my favourites is your Reunion this year. It was just so nice to be back in a theatre, and to see a mixture of things on stage was just so cool.
Do you have a favourite style of dance, either watching or taking part yourself?
How was the experience of being in ENBYouthCo this past year? What was it like taking classes, rehearsing and creating works online when in-person activities weren’t possible?
They’re really different, being online versus being in the studio, but ENBYouthCo used it to their advantage. There were things we did that we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do – workshops on film and with teachers all over the world, which was amazing. It was difficult at times because you didn’t get to know your company the same way, but used Zoom in the best way you could.
Do you have a favourite workshop you’ve done over the last year?
I think the (Dance4Camera) workshop with Jess and Morgs (dance filmmakers) because I hadn’t done much film at all – and not much film with dance. But it’s something I was really fascinated by and how you can use it in creating a piece or in a choreographic sense.
You were not only involved with creating a dance film (A Comedy in Longshot directed and choreographed by ENBYouthCo Creative Director Richard Bermange) with ENBYouthCo, but you also created your own solo dance for camera. What was it like creating new choreography for camera, both by yourself and as part of the group?
Again, it’s something that I hadn’t done before, and so choreography wise there are things that you can do on film that would be impossible otherwise – play it in reverse, speed it up, slow it down – which makes it really interesting. And there are things outdoors you can’t do so much of – like floorwork or turns – so there are different things to think about, which is interesting. With the group, you miss out on the rehearsal time, so you learn the material and then film it and we’d have all picked it up slightly differently. But then making my solo, you don’t get to bounce off the others and do fun things with different boxes flying around the screen! So they’re definitely different, but amazing opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have gone and done.
Do you think you would like to create some more dance works for camera in the future?
Definitely. It’s something I’ve been really captured by and would like to explore further – and what you could do with a group piece but if everyone was in the same place. So for my solo I was there alone and for the group piece were all separate, but what could you do for film if you were all together?
Do you have a favourite piece of choreography you have worked on as part of ENBYouthCo?
Probably the one we’re working on at the moment (with Alleyne Dance, who are choreographing) – it’s in its early stages and we’ve only had a Friday night and a Sunday on it so far, but I have really enjoyed that process and the way our choreographers put it together.
I’m quite interested in the choreography side, and so when they took our solos and you magically have a ten minute piece, you think where did that come from?! To be in an environment where other people are creating things and pulling them together has been really cool to see. We learned some group material, which is in there and has been developed slightly but we also got the opportunity to create a solo. What’s really cool about that is there’s our own movement in the piece as well. Then to see it pieced together and there’s a story through it even though we all did our own work.
What do you think is the most important thing you’ll take away from this year in ENBYouthCo?
There are definitely so many! I think friends and the people – peers as well as teachers and choreographers – they’ve been really valuable and something to take forwards. And I think just taking every opportunity – like taking opportunities to film dance and take class on Zoom. There are little tasters of everything to take and see what you like, which I think has been important.
How have you found the industry elements of being part of ENBYouthCo? (i.e. the Q&As with dance artists, the headshot photoshoot etc.) Did you enjoy that?
You get the aspects that you don’t necessarily get in regular dance classes– so you get access to the choreographers, you do headshots and things. The Q&As were really useful because it’s that insight into training or company life or whatever part of the industry they’re in, (for example we had a Q&A with our video editor). It’s the whole package rather than just ‘how do I get to be on stage?’. And work-life balance! And you’re able to ask someone only a couple of years older who had just gone through it, and so yes, the Q&As have been really useful.
What are your top tips for other young people thinking about applying for ENBYouthCo or anything you would say to other young dancers?
I think you never lose anything by applying, you can only gain from it, so even if it’s that you gained a free class or a different way of moving, you haven’t lost anything. And I think what you’re getting yourself into is really cool! Opportunities to be involved in different processes, creating pieces, being surrounded by like-minded, talented, enthusiastic dance artists: it’s really unique and special.
Is there anything else that was really important to your ENBYouthCo experience?
The mentoring – that one-on-one support is really valuable. Richard (ENBYouthCo Creative Director) mentors us – whether it’s a structured time or always just having someone at the end of an email who’s there to make it personal and tailor it to what you’re working on and whether you’re applying to schools, advice and just that general support for each individual. We are all at slightly different places so that’s been really useful.
What’s next for you with your dancing plans?
I’d really like to go into full time training. I’ll start auditioning this coming year to then start in 2022, so I have auditions coming up. And then then end goal would be to choreograph, and maybe even have my own company, is the dream! But in the shorter term, full time school.