From an audience members perspective, it’s hard to grasp the gritty details of what it’s like to actually be a dancer, and the challenges faced when attempting to start a career in dance.
Dancer Emma Palmer is currently one of four of FERTILE GROUND’s wonderful professional dancers who are participating in our Spring Tour of ‘Dancing the Road’, premiering on May 11th at the Arts Academy, Sunderland College. After undertaking a wonderful interview with Emma, she guides us through a very visual journey, talking to us about her background of dance whilst also demonstrating a clear vision of her future aspirations within the dance industry.
Her enthusiasm for dance first flourished when she was at Oxclose Community Academy, her secondary school located in Washington. Emma then went on to study dance at Gateshead College and gained a place on the Centre of Advanced Training Programme at Dance City, providing her with the knowledge and skills required to further develop her career. However, she didn’t stop there as this knowledge fueled her passion to pursue her career choice, and although aware of the challenges she may have to face, she went on to study at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance and worked extremely hard to achieve a First Class Honours Degree. What a wonderful achievement!
Emma was very aware of FERTILE GROUND’s established presence as the first professional dance company in the North East (and one of the only PAID graduate company’s in the country) and had followed our Spring Tour 2015 of ‘On the Darkened Wing’ with interest. This of which showcased contemporary dance and costumes inspired by the Birds of Paradise – Plumes and Feathers in Fashion exhibition displayed at The Bowes Museum in County Durham.
Having already undertaken an advanced training programme located at Dance City, in the very building in which FERTILE GROUND are based she was inspired to audition, following her graduation from The Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Taking into consideration that FERTILE GROUND looks to hire professional dancers, Emma said that she felt very lucky, especially after a tough auditioning process, to have been accepted to further her career in dance at such a reputable dance company.
Emma mentioned that “It has been an amazing opportunity to gain more experience as a performer working with renowned choreographers such as Malgorzata Dzierzon, James Wilton and Dora Frankel”, and with such valuable experience under her belt, Emma wishes to pursue her dance career further, particularly focusing on teaching within the dance field. The valuable experience that Emma has gained from teaching workshops to children at primary schools, alongside teaching workshops at universities to undergraduate dance students, has provided her with confidence and the skill set necessary to undergo a career within teaching dance, using her experience to help aid this career choice.
As our Spring Tour of ‘Dancing the Road’ is fast approaching, Emma is particularly looking forward to seeing her families and friends long awaited reactions when they have the opportunity to see her perform at the Sunderland College premiere. In particular, Emma wishes to demonstrate the hard work her and the other dancers have put into the performances, and show them how much she has progressed with her dancing.
Towards the end of our conversation, Emma talked about her aspirations as a dancer and where her future will lead her after she finishes her contract here at FERTILE GROUND. She most definitely wants to pursue a career as a performer and there is the possibility that this may even include the exposure to other genres of dance, and even acting. We discussed how she feels drawn to London in order to gain further employment and aid her dancing career but also feels that this would be a shame, she hopes that the work she and the dancers that follow her at FERTILE GROUND will highlight the level of talent and passion for dance in the region and that there will be more employment opportunities for her in the North East as a result.
Having had the opportunity to work alongside amazing choreographers during her professional full time contract here at FERTILE GROUND, Emma feels that this is also likely to set her up with a good foundation for her dance career in the future.
We wish you and the other dancers the very best of luck for the Spring Tour of ‘Dancing the Road’, and we hope that the future brings you many more exciting opportunities to help further develop your journey in dance. See you at the premiere!