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Company Blog: Alex

Alex reflects on his second NYDC 2016-2017 residency

National Youth Dance Company

Ever since the end of the first residency, I’d been vigorously counting down the days until the second one. I couldn’t quite believe that I was being separated from such an aspiring and diverse group of individuals for (what seemed like) such a long time. However, the time went over so quickly and I began to get nervous for rehearsals to commence again… would I remember all of the movement? Have I forgotten something? Many questions raced through my mind, but when I arrived and was reunited with everyone at the train station, all of these nerves and anxieties began to settle, and I realised that everyone was feeling the same.

Similar to the last residency, we plunged straight into rehearsals with the artistic team into Damien’s legendary ‘washing machine’ phrase. At first, mesmerisingly confused looks appeared from everyone in the room, but when we started dancing it was intriguing to see the improvement from everyone in the group and how people approach the movement from a different perspective. I could really feel the uplifting, positive energy emerging from everyone from the very moment we started rehearsals again: I felt extremely happy to be back again!

One key highlight from the start of the residency was watching a preview of Verve’s ‘A Fable in our Time’ choreographed by James Cousins. I loved the controversial element to the piece and how it showed off the flaws and worries provoked in modern-day society. Alongside this, it allowed everyone to get an insight into life after vocational training and life at Northern School of Contemporary Dance as a Q&A followed this outstanding performance.

A second highlight was in a toolbox session near the end of week where we divided into smaller groups and wrote our name on the bottom of a piece of paper. Then we passed it around in a circle and everyone would write a positive quality or something they admire about you. This really made everyone believe in themselves a lot more, especially with this residency being very physically and mentally demanding. The morning after, there wasn’t a sad face in sight – forty faces of happiness gleamed across the studio all day.

Near the end of this tremendous experience, Damien began to structure the most complex parts of the piece together. From this point onwards everyone was more understanding of what the piece was about and how it links together. Everyone was so desperate to get everything right; breaks would be spent on practicing material or improvising with a particular quality in mind to get to grips with the material.

By the end of the week my head was baffled with mentally perplexing rhythms and severe breathlessness, but one key thing I understood was that NYDC is a family – we all love to feed off the collective energy of the group to get past our ‘off days’ and we are inspired everyday by everyone in the group.

I really can’t wait to see how all of the rest of ‘Tarantiseismic’ is put together… bring on the premiere!