Faith Prendergast is currently performing the title role in Protein Dance’s adaptation of French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince. She tells Giverny Masso how she created the role…
Tell me about The Little Prince.
The Little Prince is almost other-worldly. It’s presented as a book for children, but the dreams are quite deep and adult when you break through the layers. It’s about remembering how to be a child again. It’s based on the narrator’s experience of being a pilot who has a near-death experience after crashing in the desert.
How did you create the character?
I read the book a lot. I’ve worked with children before, so I used that experience and kept thinking of how a kid would act – how everything is super-exciting all the time. I was really attracted to such a strong character and I love being part of the creation of a new show.
How did you get into dance?
I have a lot of older siblings who did dance and I got into it through them. I began in a local dance school, then started taking summer courses. Then I moved from Colorado to San Francisco to train at the Conservatory of Dance. I auditioned for Rambert School and went there. It’s a great school and as it’s just outside London, you are very focused on the training.
What kind of work do you enjoy the most?
I love improvising, it’s something I feel really comfortable doing. But I also appreciate highly choreographed work, as I’ve done a lot of ballet. All that training is great for being precise with specific movements when you are repeating the same thing. I just want to keep doing new stuff all the time. I’m always trying to push my boundaries. I have loved the last couple of shows I’ve done, which have been child roles and character-based work.
What are some other career highlights?
The other show I’ve been doing is The Little Match Girl with Arthur Pita. It’s been going for the last five years. I also enjoyed performing in I Loved You and I Loved You with Sweetshop Revolution. That was an amazing role. It was narrative as well – about a Welsh, female composer. I spent a lot of time researching that character to understand her. One of the things that made me start dancing was music – I love just moving to music. In that piece, I loved listening to the amazing music a woman had made that was written back in a time when it was a male-orientated world.
What is the biggest career challenge for you?
The way the freelance system works you don’t always know how long work is going to last for – although I’m learning as I work longer in this field that stuff always comes up eventually.
Training: San Francisco Conservatory of Dance (2009-10); Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London (2010-13)
First professional role: Apprentice with dancer Vivienne Wood (2013)
The Little Prince is touring until May 19