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Associate choreographer Martin Lawrance: ‘I’ve experienced dance company life from all angles, which is incredibly helpful’

Martin Lawrance. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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My first job was with the Richard Alston Dance Company as a dancer in June 1995. After my degree at London Contemporary Dance School, I auditioned for the fourth-year touring company 4D and got a place. During that year, I worked with some great choreographers including Richard Alston. It was announced that RADC was auditioning for dancers, so I submitted my CV and was accepted to take part in the audition. After a very tiring but exciting weekend, I found out I had made it to the final shortlist of seven dancers.

Richard was looking for two men, so the odds were high, which gave me confidence. I then went to Paris to perform with 4D and to my amazement Richard was there to watch. He told me and a couple of the other dancers that he couldn’t make a decision until he had seen us perform. We were terrified. A week later, I was offered the job.

I danced for Richard’s company for 12 years before I retired due to injury in 2007. I took over the role of rehearsal director – as I’d been helping out in that department, it felt like a natural progression. I had also begun to create work for the company – the only choreographer other than Richard to do so.

Having been a dancer has helped me be a better rehearsal director and choreographer. I’ve experienced company life from all angles, which is incredibly helpful. I still make a new work with the company every year. I continue to rehearse Richard’s work and teach company class. I mentor new talent that comes into the company through the London Contemporary Dance School apprenticeship scheme. All that experience helps in my choreographic work for other companies such as Ballet Black, Scottish Ballet and Ballet Manila.

My route is a very particular one but generally I would advise dancers that the more you let choreographers know that you like and admire their work, the more they will remember your interest and commitment.

CV: Martin Lawrance

Age: 45
Training: Coventry Centre for the Performing Arts; London Contemporary Dance School
Dance creations include: About Face, Brink, Stealing Poison, Body and Soul (for Richard Alston Dance Company); Pendulum, Captured and Limbo (for Ballet Black); Run for It, Dark Full Ride (for Scottish Ballet); Misfit or Maverick, Rebel, Aria (for Ballet Manila)
Agent: none

Martin Lawrance’s new work Detour can be seen as part of Richard Alston Dance Company Season at Sadler’s Wells on March 1 and 2

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