VIDEO: Chesterfield dancer returns to roots to train next generation
A professional dancer from Chesterfield whose work has taken her around the world is returning to the region this summer to host an intensive training programme for budding youngsters.
Sophie Duncan, 26, who has performed with some of the most prestigious companies in the world - including the legendary Cirque du Soleil - will be running the course this August at a studio in Nottingham with her friend Joshua Ecob from Hucknall.
They themselves met at a similar course which took place when the pair were just teenagers and now want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.
She said: “The course we will be running, NGDance, is for kids between 11 and 18 who want to experience what it is like to be a professional dancer.
“Me and Josh have been friends for 12 years now, since we met at a similar course in 2004 and we realised when we were chatting that there was nothing else like this that exists at the moment in this area.
“Because we’re performing and creating work right now, we’ve got nothing to hide and we can shed some light on this bizarre industry - to demystify it a bit both for students and their parents.
“And as well as focusing on contemporary and ballet styles of dance, we will be doing sessions on choreography which will really help the students get top grades in their exams.”
Sophie has just returned to the UK after spending the last three years in Macau, China, performing in one of the world’s biggest and best shows, ‘The House Of Dancing Water’.
That show is the brainchild of legendary Cirque du Soleil director Franco Dragone and involves a 3.7 million gallon pool into which performers dive from a 24 metre platform.
“Training with these legends - these very intense people who have won Olympic medals - was absolutely wonderful,” she said.
“We would do really long days and be performing 10 shows a week. By the end of my time in Macau I had done 1,242 shows in just three-and-a-half years.
“When I left university I was just messing around a bit but getting the job in Macau made me realise I could consider dancing a career that I could make a good living with and travel the world”
The course she and Josh will be running this summer will cover professional ballet, contemporary dance and choreography but will also give students the chance to learn the skills and habits of top dancers.
“As well as the choreography, one of the great things about our course is the ‘unlimited access’ sessions we will be offering at the end of each day,” Sophie said.
“We want the kids who come to be able to ask anything they want to so they can really feel what it would be like if they became professional dancers.”
Sophie, who attended Brookfield Community School, on Chatsworth Road, says she personally owes her success to her inspirational teacher, Nia Yule.
“She came in specifically to teach us GCSE dance and without her there is no way I would have been a dancer,” she said.
The course will take place over six days, from Monday August 1 until Saturday 6 at The Dance Studios in Hockley, Nottingham.
It costs £120 reduced to £100 for the first 10 applicants who pay in full via the website.
In addition, Sophie and Josh are offering three scholarships for the programme, one in partnership with The Dance Studios, the other for a current member of C.A.T and one which will be chosen by Sophie and Josh themselves.
For a full course outline or to book go to www.ngdance.org. To receive updates, also visit their Facebook page @ngdance.info.
For young people in Chesterfield who think they might struggle to get to Nottingham, Sophie is hoping to organise a car share to help them get to the studio.
Anyone who is interested is encouraged to get in touch with her via their Facebook page.