With their imminent return to the GLive stage, I had the chance to interview the BalletBoyz regarding training, breaking out, and redefining the rules of ballet.
Ed Pearce, who graduated from the Rambert School in 2010, is enjoying his third season with the company whilst also being a freelance dancer and teacher. He offers his advice, experience, and encouragement to all those who are seeking to pursue or continue in a dance professional at University and beyond.
Tiffany Stoneman: The Dance programme at the University of Surrey is very popular, but what avenues did you pursue after formal training (if any)?
Ed Pearce: I was very lucky in that I got a job with BalletBoyz two weeks before I graduated. I know how hard it can be coming out of training unemployed, so was very grateful for this opportunity. I also pursued some dance teaching work and choreography work in schools.
TS: There is currently a student-run company at Surrey, called Actual Size, but how do you push out of the relatively ‘safe’ environment of university, and establish yourselves at the beginning?
EP: I think just push the boundaries and try and be innovative. Don’t try to copy things that are already out there. Also try and perform as much as possible, as during training you can sometimes forget dance is a performance art and not just an intense workout regime.
TS: BalletBoyz turns away from traditional ballet, and creates something bold, inventive, and relevant to new audiences – what (apart from these attributes!) drew you to build a different style of dance?
EP: I think the idea of two men dancing together in a tender and beautiful way is very interesting while still maintaining that masculine quality. This is something I haven’t personally seen in dance for a long time if at all. This style is attractive to people from all different walks of life.
TS: How hard was it to break out of the traditional training habits of ballet to become so ‘free’ with your choreography and design?
EP: I trained in contemporary dance as well so it wasn’t too difficult. I think improvisation helped and was a way of learning how to dance with the other company members when I first joined.
TS: What piece of advice do you wish you’d been given just before starting out in the big wide world?
EP: To audition for absolutely everything as you just don’t know what they’re looking for. And don’t underestimate your competition!
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