My name is Sarah Blanc and I am a dancer currently based in London or am I a dance artist? or am I a dancer who choreographs and teaches and likes to delve into theatre and performance art? Or am I just a weird arty wanna be type? OR (imagine this) - am I ALL of the above?
Yes i would like to think the latter! I mean does it really matter? Yes but no but yes to me haha I mean so many times we get labeled a dancer or creator or a teacher. What about the few of us who love to do it all?
So as you can tell I am here in the dance world but still finding where I am and my path is just beginning. I graduated from The Place in July 2008 off the one year certificate course and my intention for this blog is to really just document the crossover from student to PROFESSIONAL (dum dum dum). A bridge we all cross and well for me its been interesting so far.
I suppose before I begin to tell you about me now I should prehaps go back and for this, my first blog, explain what I did with my life up until now:
I am originally from Waterford, Ireland. I was always heavily involved in the arts scene there mainly with an amazing organisation called Waterford Youth Arts. Through them I got involved in Contemporary dance through a lady called Libby Seward. It was very different to the jazz and street dance I had done before. I remember in my first class with her thinking 'yes this is the type of dancing I have always wanted to do', i had just never known what it was called! I just knew this is how I should be feeling.
I was 14/15 at this time and acting was still very much in mind as to what I was going to do. Dancing I felt was too far out of my grasp as I had never done ballet BUT I knew I loved it. From a very young age I had always said I am going to be a dancer and actress in my spare time or vice versa (apart from that one year when I had a best friend called Serena and I wanted to be a Zoologist like her but of course a dancer and actress in my spare time!).
So through WYA a group of us took part in an exchnage with Dawns i Bawb communuty dance group and on one of the legs of the exchange I saw a company (dont know their name) do a physical theatre adaptation of a Samuel Beckett play (dont know what play) and well that was me.... I had found my niche, my inspiration, my goal. Through WYA I also was selected for the National Youth Theatre the summer just before I went to university in Liverpool John Moores. Here I studied Dance Studies but majoring in Physical Theatre.
It was an amazing course with such great teachers such as Pauline Brooks, Manny Emslie, Sue Ackroyd, Fran Leaver and Bernard Pierre-Louis. Doing physical theatre from a dance point of view I feel gave me a different edge than if I had learnt it as an actress. However coming from an acting background I didnt graduate looking trained enough. So I applied for Scottish School of Contemporary Dance..... and surprisingly I got in.
So I went into year 2 and graduated with a HND in Contemporary Dance Performance in 2006. And wow what a journey I had there. i dont know how many times I 'found' and 'lost' my body. I had never REALLY understood the idea of training and what it was going to take to get me to where i wanted/needed to be. I mean i think my brain did after doing the course at LJMU as I had been fed soooo much and but my body was not sophisticated enough to get there......yet.
At SSCD I had so many great teachers and guest artists come in such as Angus Balbernie, Sean Feldman, Erol White, Peter Royston, Janis Claxton, Kim Elliot, Tommy Small, SDT, Janet Smith, Anthony Missen to name only a few. To be surrounded by by 'great' people all the time really raises your game and expectations for yourself and others around you.
I graduated in Summer 2006 and through SSCD I was given an apprenticeship with SDT during the few months of that summer. I then joined them again in December 2006 to shadow Adam Benjamin during the creative process of Angels of Incidence which was part fo their Spring '07 tour. I wanted to shadow Adam as I was and still am interested in working within integrated dance as a performer, teacher and hopefully one day a choreographer. I am sure I will talk about this more as my blog's blog on but for now I shall carry on with what has become a brief but yet long winded rendition of my career thus far.
So anyways I basically spent the best part of my first year out of college with SDT which helped me realise my dreams and goals but most importantly understand what I was needing to do to get there. I mean I was getting work and creating opporunties for example I danced for Angus Balbernie in MEAT in Bristol and shadowed Lisi Perry's company Collision in Warrington and also set up my own company Moxie Brawl with a fellow SSCD student Katie Miller but I knew I had more to give and without more institutional care and attention I felt I wouldn't get where I wanted to be which was to be confident and strong and well happy with myself!
Ahoy I packed my bags and off to London I sailed and to The Place It went!
What an amazing year. Again being surrounded by greatness ALL the time was ssooooooooooooooooooo inspirational. Being taught by people you have only ever seen on DVD or read about everyday such as Pippa Duke, Kirsty Alexander, Jeenie Steele, Martin Lawerence, Jan De Schenkyl, Marc Brew, Kate Price, Richard Alston, Hanna Gillgrin oooooooooooh my god the list goes on and on and on. Best and hardest year ever. And may I say it was well worth doing 3 jobs and being skint for a year.
Studying at The Place and SSCD was hard financially as I am Irish i was not entitled to any funding so I paid my own way through it all which in a way makes it more real and well I did it myself so at least I know I love it as I couldn't have done it otherwise.
As i said before I graduated in July. I then went straight into work with Katie Green (Green Bean) for the London Festival of Architecture then began work for Moxie Brawl through a residency at Clarence Mews studios in Hackney, London and then began working on an improvised solo with a live musician (Tom Van Hoffelen) and a film artist (Stevie Taylor) called Run Rabbit Run for theMOXIEcollective. After that I began with a company in Ireland called Animated State Dance Theatre Company under the direction of Libby Seward.
And now I am here- on the eve of the premiere of my first commissioned work Hard Rain which was choreographed alongside Peter Royston for the HND and degree students at SSCD and I am feeling soooooooo nervous! Is this normal?
Thus far my crossing over my bridge hasn't been so bad but when do I reach the other side Do you ever reach it and if so who says so? Or this bridge metaphor we speak of only a state of mind, and therefore we are in charge of deciding when we 'get there?
Anyways I hope you will join me on this journey.