Joss Arnott runs Joss Arnott Dance, an internationally touring, cutting edge, a classical contemporary dance company based at the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield. We caught up with him in the run-up to the company’s Triple Bill tour coming to the Gulbenkian on 17 March, to find out more about his creative life and his ‘top tips’ for anyone interested in following the path he has trailblazed!
What do you do?
My primary role is being the Artistic Director of Joss Arnott Dance, but I am also a freelance choreographer, teacher, and mentor. I am also developing a new MA Dance Performance and Professional Practices with the University of Salford, for which I will be the Artistic Director of Emergence – the postgraduate performance company embedded within the MA.
- What does an average day look like for you?
My work is heavily studio-bound. At the moment we are in the studio rehearsing for our Spring tour which consisting of a triple bill programme. Other days I will be working with multiple groups, companies etc. in spaces across the country, some days I will be in the office working on administration so it’s quite varied depending on what is in the diary!
- How did you get to where you are today?
I studied at Laban and London Studio Centre. When I graduated I founded Joss Arnott Dance and made my first professional work ‘Threshold’. I was fortunate enough to work with a Producer, Phil Hargreaves, who I continue to work with today on all aspects of the company which has helped shape the company’s success to date.
- Did you always plan to go into this way of life?
I always knew I would work in the arts. I think it is something that is ingrained in you from an early age and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I like to entertain people with exciting dance work and to inspire audiences.
- What is your proudest achievement in your creative life?
For our fifth anniversary tour, we worked with the world’s premier solo percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie who is a GRAMMY Award and Polar Music Prize award-winning musician. She played live for my work ‘Wide Awakening’ which was just incredible to tour with such an iconic woman.
- Equally, what is your biggest failure? Sometimes it can be intimidating to look at established creatives who look like they never get anything wrong, especially when you are just beginning!
As an artist, I’m always learning – each activity, project, tour… it’s always different and things come up and you find ways to resolve them but it’s all part of the process and fun!
- Who has been the most influential person to you?
I work very collaboratively with the dancers and I feel that our current triple bill really reflects the company’s aesthetic and what we want to present. I’m very fortunate enough to have a team of creative who surround me who develop my artistry every day.
- What’s the best piece of advice ever given to you?
Work hard, be proactive and persistent.
- What advice would you give to anyone hoping to have a similar career as you?
I would suggest the above and stay true to what it is you are interested in, find your audience and networks whilst surrounding yourself with people who will enable you to flourish.
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