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Dancing towards our goals – a Masterclass at Rambert

Straight from their HQ at Southbank, March’s Masterclass had us visiting the contemporary art company, Rambert. 

We were thrilled to be hosted in the beautiful Rambert building, home to Britain’s oldest dance company. The panel for the night included a range of industry professionals who make the magic happen both behind the scenes and on the stage.

First up was Rambert’s Head of Operations, Tigho Feldman who introduced the panel by asking them about their academic backgrounds and how that helped shape their career choices. Tigho began a degree in events management after being made redundant from her job and moving to Australia for a year. Here, she particularly enjoyed her time working in events at a temping agency, leading her to make the decision to return to the UK and complete a degree in a subject she felt was her passion and her drive – event management.

‘I educated myself because I wanted to, not because I had to.’

Rambert Dancer, Liam Francis notes that a lot of dancers in the company do not have a degree, as it is their ‘practical skill and experience that helps them to be top in their field’.

Production Manager, Mekel Edwards echoed the same sentiment as he began a degree he later left before graduating, after being offered a role that would act as a stepping stone into his dream career; ‘there’s no better way to learn than doing it’.

Next, Archivist Carly Randall found her calling through her further studies and volunteering; ‘because archives rely a lot on volunteers it’s really easy to get in’. Studying Anthropology  & Archaeology enabled her to combine her multi-disciplinary interests and pursue her one true passion; people. Describing archiving as a living time capsule, she said history is utilised in ‘material culture, from everyday objects to things we treasure such as the books we read to the films we make’.

The panel members all urged that the best way to  progress in a career is to surround yourself with people who inspire you and encourage you to reach those goals.

Liam says that ‘mentors are like borrowed experience.‘ Much like how a business operates ‘you can create your own little board of people, even if it is just your own friends’

Carly added, that mentors might come in with an ‘entirely different perspective’ but help give you a ‘well rounded, holistic view’.

Following this, the panel was asked about their experience as a minority in the industry, to which Liam replied that there may be unspoken bias. Having grown up liking hip hop, Liam only felt accepted in the industry when he learned ballet at 18, which is considered more of a ‘high art’, saying ‘the roof is so heavy on the system and everyone is so frightened of it coming back so people don’t want to restructure the system to one that is fair or equal’.

In their closing statements, the panel bestowed their final top tips on how to make it in the industry:

  • Mekel: ‘Try and experiment, the arts are very open and there are always opportunities;  you’d be surprised by the different skill sets you will learn from different arts. And keep going, keep asking. 9 times out of 10 people are happy to help
  • Liam: ‘Work like an underdog – don’t expect to get anything but fully expect to earn it. I work harder than everyone else.’
  • Carly: ‘People in the arts like talking about what they do so don’t be shy to reach out and talk to people. If they can’t answer a question, they know someone who can.  You can define what success is for you, it’s your own story.
  • Tigho: ‘don’t underestimate your work experience in any field and look at your transferable skills. Something you learn early may come in use later in life’

Another incredible masterclass to have us dancing towards our goals. A huge thanks to the panel for their time and valued words of wisdom.