Blogs

13 June 2018
Author: The Place and Olly Bell

Meet The Dancer: Olly Bell

We caught up with EDGE dancer Olly Bell

Olly was born in Leeds and began taking dance classes from an early age at his local dance school.


You are touring the UK and internationally with 19 dates in 6 countries, what are you most looking forward to about this?

I can’t wait to begin sharing our pieces with audiences throughout the UK and Europe. For months we have been working hard in the studio creating and rehearsing the work and now the time for performing has come around and we are all incredibly excited.

How do the different cultures in the company (Costa Rica, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, Taiwan, USA and the UK) come together? In which ways do you inspire each other?

The eclectic mix of people and cultures within EDGE is one of the most enrichening things about the process. Everybody has completely different backgrounds in dance and life and has something new to bring to the table. I feel very lucky to be able to be part of such a diverse company with dancers I may have never met if I was not in EDGE. I have learnt something new from every single member and am inspired every time we dance with one another, all our knowledge comes together to create one company.

You are working with four contrasting choreographers, what are the different ways of working and how do you adapt to each?

Every process we had creating these four pieces was completely different, however there were things that we learnt in each that could be implemented into others. It is quite a tricky task having to quickly switch our ways of working in between each piece. We can go from extremely theatrical and dramatically driven work to suddenly having to suddenly find a very specific physicality in the next and then getting into a certain frame of mind where we are in touch with all of our senses before quickly changing to a very connected group piece.

What can audiences expect from the mixed bill?

Each piece creates a completely different world and atmosphere that we invite the audience to join us in. There is definitely something in this bill for everybody, whether you want to see the group moving together as one in contact or unison, or if you are interested in a live process of investigation into our own bodies.

What do you hope to learn and achieve throughout the tour?

Throughout the tour I hope to learn more about what is to be part of a touring company, how we need to support each other and how to cope with touring life. I hope to achieve consistency in my level of performance whilst continuing to keep the pieces alive and investigating my roles within them.

What has the process taught you about yourself so far?

The process so far with EDGE has revealed a lot to me about myself. I’ve learnt that the energy I bring to a rehearsal is one of my most valuable assets and that this becomes very useful when you are deep into a rehearsal period, when everybody is tired, and you have to pick each other up. I’ve also learnt that when I’ve made progress on one of my roles in a piece, it is really important for me to set this as the new level of performance that I hit every time and continue to grow on.

One of your performances in Portugal is dedicated to works created by yourselves, how does this add to your experience?

This experience of creating works for each other will be an extremely valuable one. We are such a diverse group who all have different ways of choreographing that there will be an incredible amount to learn from each other. It will be fulfilling to be on the other side of the creation process, doing the creating and rehearsing rather than being created on.

How do you feel being a member of EDGE has helped to prepare you for professional life?

EDGE has prepared me for professional life in a number of different ways. I have had the chance to experience different modes of rehearsals and the range of roles a dancer has to take on, from working creatively during the choreographic process to the rigour of implementing corrections immediately when cleaning the pieces, and then the patience required during tech rehearsals where you have to be in place whilst keeping warm ready for a full run of the work at any point. I’ve also learnt the importance of maintaining a standard of performance in rehearsals so that the piece can keep improving rather than having to go back to corrections that have already been given.


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