Creating a curtain raiser for JV2

What's it like to open the show for your favourite company? Natalie tells us about her experience.

In September last year, the Gulbenkian Youth Dance Company was formed, in partnership with Jasmin Vardimon Company and Kent Sport. After auditioning to join the company, successful young dancers have taken part in weekly sessions each term, led by Andre Rebelo, a Jasmin Vardimon Company dancer. They’ve worked on a piece that was performed at the University of Kent’s Kent’s Sporting Legends event, and most recently, they created and performed a curtain raiser for JV2‘s tour performance at Gulbenkian.

So what’s it like being part of a youth dance company and getting to open the show for one of your favourite dance companies? Natalie tells us about her experience with the Gulbenkian Youth Dance Company.

‘I have followed Jasmin Vardimon for many years; going to see as many performances from her main company to JV2 as I can. I absolutely love her work, they work in such an abstract way that I always wanted the opportunity to learn about and from. This is why I joined the Gulbenkian Youth Dance Company to begin with.

The audition was eye opening but extremely fun. We learnt a section from Park and then were given the opportunity to develop in other ways through physical theatre and experimenting with movement ideas, which is how the company truly work. During the term we then got to further have an insight of how the company is run during rehearsals for our piece that we as a youth company performed as a curtain raiser for JV2 themselves!

As a youth company we had developed a piece with the stimulus of sirens, dark mermaids, with the intention of being weak and having a hunger for food. We worked with our teacher, a dancer within the company, who directed the piece and taught us the material that we later had our own chance to develop into some sections.

This style is so different to anything I had ever come across before and the learning process was also different, however I enjoyed this as it sets me up for what I want later on in life when I go to audition for companies. To be learning within this environment this closely with a company is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in as it gives you the chance to learn so much and shows you’re eager to learn and take on new things. Being a part of this gives us amazing opportunities to perform in such amazing things such as doing the curtain raiser for JV2. As a dancer moving forward, this was such a brilliant opportunity to perform alongside them as they are exactly what we are aspiring to be and shows the progression from us to them.

This was something utterly amazing to be a part of and I enjoyed every second from all the gruelling rehearsals to being backstage doing costume and makeup feeling so nervous because of this amazing opportunity. If you’re a dancer looking for something new or simply want something that will give you an edge over another candidate at auditions or applications to university this is definitely something to get your teeth into.’

Feeling inspired by Natalie’s experience? Find out more about joining the Gulbenkian Youth Dance Company here.

Natalie Austin

Guest Contributor

Natalie is a member of the Gulbenkian Youth Dance Company.