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Dance teacher Daniel Squire – ‘Students should immerse themselves and reserve judgement’

Daniel Squire. Photo: Daniel Squire

Daniel Squire teaches the Merce Cunningham technique at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and elsewhere (as a guest)


How did you start in dance/performance?

Dancing around the living room, when alone, to Tom Paxton folk records at a very young age was my discovery moment in dance. I played percussion in a local orchestra and the first performance I remember clearly was outdoors, in a park. That blend of an intentional audience and unsuspecting passers-by has stuck with me.

What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?

By all means connect with what interests you most in each class you encounter, but also judge nothing during class. Immerse yourself with complete clarity of engagement: reserve judgement. You never know how far into the future you might find value in something you did once and felt was insignificant at the time.

What would you change about training in the UK?

I would love to see an option for thorough and high-calibre vocational contemporary dance training, separate from the degree programmes. This still exists for classical dance training and I believe it is still right for some contemporary dance students.

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing unexpected sudden moments of magic from an entire class of students.

And your least favourite?

The volume of emails.

Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?

Anyone working adaptively and with integrity in any art inspires me. I would hope such people do not go unnoticed by students. Any time I hear of someone who is respected by almost everyone they’ve ever worked with, I am deeply impressed.

What is the one skill that every successful theatre/dance professional should have?

To be as clear as you can about your intentions as often as possible when on stage or in the studio. At the same time, remain open about how your work will be received, and in what diverse ways it might touch others.

Daniel Squire was speaking to John Byrne