Dancer Q & A

Thank you for all your questions. If you missed the opportunity to submit your questions, you could always add them at the bottom of the page.

Here are our answers (in no particular order):

Who was your most influential teacher and why?

A New Zealander, Russell Kerr, who actually used to dance for Rambert. He taught me what it was to be an artist; the importance of a simple hand gesture or eye movement. Lucy Balfour

Christine Hughes who was my first ballet examiner, and became my mentor, second mum, friend. Luke Ahmet

Adam Linders, former New York City Ballet dancer. He took me in and gave me a chance to become a dancer. Simone Damberg Würtz

Ever considered another career?

Apart from the obvious of becoming a dance teacher, choreographer and rehearsal director, I am extremely keen on dance photography. I recently captured us all in the group photo, above. Pierre Tappon (My website) 

I wanted to be a jockey, when growing up. Luke Ahmet

Dance careers are often short, and I personally have a very keen interest in photography and so this year ventured further into professional photography. I most recently photographed production shots and rehearsal shots for Rambert, for Didy Veldman’s The 3 Dancers. Stephen Wright (My website)

Do you have any favourite Rambert facts from its 90 year history?

Marie Rambert was just her professional name, as according to her passport her surname was originally Ramberg. And her original family name was Rambam! Patricia Okenwa

What can you tell us about your shoes?

I have four pairs on the go at once…
1 flesh colour and 1 black, for rehearsals; 1 flesh colour and 1 black for performing. Joshua Barwick

I don’t wear shoes, just holey socks. Dane Hurst

Do you eat mushrooms?

Yes I do (although I used to hate them as a child). But I don’t just eat mushrooms, I dance a mushroom! Check out Simone’s new piece :) – Edit Domoszlai 

Definitely not!! The worst vegetable in the world. I think it’s to do with their texture. Liam Francis

Are you tired?

I believe we go through waves of tiredness sometimes; it corresponds to the body adjusting to difficult work or workload. Tiredness is also a part of building up stamina. Pierre Tappon

‘If you’re already thirsty, you’re already dehydrated’

Stephen Wright

Why did you want to join Rambert?

They offer a great paid apprenticeship scheme which is how I began at Rambert. Stephen Wright

I wanted to change from classical ballet to contemporary dance, to explore new things, and also move back to London. Luke Ahmet

Do you have any great recipe ideas for maintain fitness and strength?

No but prepare your own meals at home so you know what’s going into them. Stephen Wright and Vanessa Kang

How many showers do you have a day?

Three times a day. It’s very relaxing for my body. Miguel Altunaga

Three when working. Adam Park

Three, maybe four if we do circuit training. Simone Damberg Würtz

What are the demands of being on tour?

Finding digs and the local M&S. Once you’ve found them you’re sorted. Stephen Wright

Well there are several. One is dealing with being in the dark (with artificial light) for long hours. It affects peoples’ moods, so we try to make the most of our free time to be in natural light. Then eating warm food – it isn’t always easy to eat on tour as some cities’ restaurants close early, which makes eating boring sometimes. Pierre Tappon

What do you think of the rain?

I love the rain, especially when you’re inside with a hot chocolate and it’s pouring outdoors. Liam Francis

What’s the most challenging work/ rep?

For me the most challenging rep I have performed with Rambert, would have to be the Cunningham Event; one hour performing across two different spaces on different floors. But a fantastic challenge and a very award experience also! Lucy Balfour

What would be your dream role you’ve never danced?

Carmen. Brenda Lee Grech

What is your guilty pleasure, food-wise?

Maccy D’s! Simone Damberg Würtz

Fried cheese in breadcrumbs. Luke Ahmet

Curry every Sunday night. Adam Park

What is the best way to get re-hydrated after doing so much dancing?

Lots of tap water, and eat fruit all day long. Vanessa Kang, Patricia Okenwa

If you’re already thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Stephen Wright

Eat half a watermelon. Adam Park

What’s your top tip for flexibility?

Flexibility is an attitude. Vanessa Kang

Eating pineapples. Patricia Okenwa

Where’s your favourite place in London?

I think London has the most amazing parks, and Holland Park is one of my favourites! I love to take a good book and sit with my back up to a tree in the sunshine, and let the hours pass. Lucy Balfour

Little Venice; it’s so quiet and there is an amazing pub. Luke Ahmet

I must say that it changes. London is one of those cities which always has something to offer; at the moment the Olympic Park and Homerton, both in East London. Pierre Tappon

What’s the most common misconception about dancers?  

That we don’t eat, or we have to watch everything we eat. To dance you need energy, just like an athlete, and so a good balanced diet that can sustain you for a six 6-hour rehearsal day, or a performance, is very important. Lucy Balfour 

I must say some people think our job is only performing, thinking the rest of the time we are paid to do nothing. But it takes about 5 – 6 weeks to create a 30-minute piece and hours and hours of practise to have the choreography in our muscle memory which is so important, and to stay aware of everything that could change (such as music being played faster, a smaller stage, etc). Pierre Tappon

What’s your party trick?

I can pull my belly button out. Simone Damberg Würtz

Doing ‘the worm’. I even managed to get the move into Labyrinth of Love and A Linha Curva! Stephen Wright

How many sit ups they can do in a row?

I don’t know how many sit ups I can do, but I can do 30 full press-ups! Lucy Balfour

60+ push-ups in 50 seconds! Dane Hurst

'Flexibility is an attitude.'

Vanessa Kang

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