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Liam Riddick: dancer

Liam Riddick. Photo: Hugo Glendinning

After seeing Michael Flatley on television when he was six years old, Liam Riddick begged his parents to take him to dance lessons. Nineteen years after they obliged, Riddick is a member of the Richard Alston Dance Company and has been nominated for the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards for the third year in a row. He is preparing for the company’s 20th anniversary performance at Sadler’s Wells, London

What will the anniversary performance involve?

We’ve got four pieces in our bill, and within the four is one new commission by Sadler’s that Richard is choreographing. We’re also collaborating with an up and coming hip hop-based artist to incorporate different styles. We’ve a choir coming over from New Jersey to sing for us. And we’ve got contemporary ensemble Icebreaker playing, and a pianist playing live music… so there’s lots going on and lots to do.

The four pieces in the show are all different. What holds them together?

Hopefully we do. We’re such a small company – eight dancers and two apprentices – and because we’re such a tight-knit unit as a company, we’re like a little family. There’s so much trust and there’s so much respect for one another, and I think that really reads on stage. We’veperformed at big venues but obviously Sadler’s is one of the biggest dance theatres in Europe. So for us to be there is amazing. As a 10 we really stick together, we really trust one another in order to have each other’s backs and get through it.

What’s working with Richard Alston like?

I love the fact that Richard is constantly being challenged by us. And he’s constantly learning. Even though I’ve been here for five years, I still feel like there’s an excitement every time I work with him. He knows every single dancer inside out, and he knows how to get the best out of each performer.

How does the third Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards nod feel?

To be nominated once, let alone for three consecutive years, is just phenomenal. I still can’t believe it. But it’s not everything. The award really is having this job, and doing what I do on stage, and that’s winning for me. The nomination is a bonus, and winning would be a double bonus. The award isn’t everything. What I do for a living is my reward.

If you weren’t a dancer what would you be doing right now?

Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. I thought about this at school because when you’re doing your GCSEs and everything, they always want you to have options. But I really didn’t have any option other than to do what I do. It sounds corny and cheesy, but this is all I know how to do.

CV: Liam Riddick

Training: London Contemporary Dance School (2007-10)
First professional role: Dancer, Richard Alston Dance Company
Agent: None

Richard Alston Dance Company performs at Sadler’s Wells on January 26 and 27

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