Course Consultant: Anthony van Laast MBE
Course Director & Artistic Director, The Jazz Dance Company: Robbie O’Reilly
The aim of this graduate year is to refine and polish the students’ physical and artistic capabilities for a professional career. A challenging and exciting opportunity is provided for the serious jazz dancer to train, rehearse, perform and tour as part of a dedicated Jazz Dance Company. This environment develops the resilience, physical skills and stamina required by today’s emerging professional performer, as students are exposed to the latest trends and ever-increasing technical demands of today’s workplace. Care is taken to ensure training is balanced and provided to the highest standards and that the particular gifts and interests of each student are valued and nurtured in the context of professional standards and goals. The year’s syllabus builds towards a final term largely committed to performances in public.
Emphasis is placed on the concept of isolation technique as a feature common to all the different and personal characteristics of jazz dance. The vocabulary of the different jazz styles – ballet, tap, contemporary dance, singing and drama – are combined to create the comprehensive yet balanced training required to equip students for a successful career in commercial dance. Essential skills such as focus, projection, interpretation and style, linked to the ability to absorb and memorise choreography are also developed.
Training also includes work on the styles and personalities of past jazz dance icons and is further enhanced by regular workshops and masterclasses given by leading choreographers and dancers from companies, television and West End productions. This, coupled with visits to performances, provides students with valuable experience and the vital opportunity of working with potential employers.
Encouraging and emphasising the individuality of a dancer is a vital element of the graduate year. The diverse nature of dancers’ skills are polished, advice is given on careers, agents, Equity, CVs, photographs, portfolios of audition material and identification of possible job opportunities.
The association of Anthony van Laast, internationally prominent choreographer and director, ensures that the course remains at the forefront of jazz theatre dance training.
"...a very thorough system of jazz technique of proven professional efficacy"
THE JAZZ DANCE COMPANY
The company was established in 1996 to present a limited season of evening-long programmes of jazz dance. Performances are toured throughout the UK at established theatres. The challenges of learning to be part of a creative team in a company environment and appearing on the professional stage are the culmination of the students’ training.
The company performs works which have been specially commissioned by experienced, professional choreographers from the dance world. These have included Lee Alexander, Kevan Allen, Adrian Allsopp, Stewart Avon Arnold, Chris Baldock, Darren Charles, De Napoli Clarke, Vikki Coote, Alistair David, Gail Davies, Donald Edwards, Lizzi Gee, Diane Hampstead, Alan Harding, Dollie Henry, Robert Hylton, Ellen Kane, Mavin Khoo, Anthony van Laast, Gavin Lee, David Leighton, Gary Lloyd, Sam McAvoy, Drew McOnie, Stephen Mear, Adam Murray, David Needham, Robert North, Lynne Page, Sean Parkins, Katie Pearson, Ian Piears, Kate Prince, Simeon Qsyea, Paul Roberts, Paul Robinson, Gareth Walker and Sheron Wray. Musical directors and vocal coaches who have worked with the company include Phil Bateman, James Draisey, Philip Foster, John Rigby and Andy Smith.
London Studio Centre has an impressive record of students successfully finding work in the mainstream of commercial theatre. Graduates have performed with classical and commercial jazz companies, such as Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (Canada), Djazzex (Holland), Souls in Motion, Zoots and Spangles, JazzXchange, Bounce and ZooNation. Many others have been employed in leading West End shows, such as Cats, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mary Poppins, Wicked, Daddy Cool, Chicago, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King, We Will Rock You, La Cage aux Folles, Crazy for You, Fame, Fosse, Grease, Joseph, Riverdance, Starlight Express and Saturday Night Fever.