AN outstandingly talented young dancer from Thatcham has been selected to join the National Youth Dance Company (NYDC), the country’s flagship organisation for young dancers. Seventeen-year-old Dominic McAinsh has just been in residency with the rest of the company’s 40 dancers, rehearsing for the world premiere on April 7 of a new piece created by award-winning contemporary dance choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, an associate artist of Sadler’s Wells. Arts Editor TRISH LEE spoke to him
How happy are you to have been selected for NYDC?
I am extremely grateful for being picked to be in NYDC. It’s an amazing start to a career in dance, which is what I aspire to.
How did the residency go? What have you learnt?
Both residencies have been really inspiring – we learned so much in the space of just a week. One of the key things I have learnt is the importance of watching, as well as doing. While learning a piece of repertoire, our choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan told us to watch the whole thing first before learning the individual steps, in order to understand what the finished product will look like.
How does it feel to be working towards the world premiere of a new piece? Are you excited/nervous?
I can’t wait for the premiere, it’s so exciting. It’s also my 18th birthday on the same day, so it’ll be particularly special for me.
How is it working with Michael Keegan-Dolan?
Michael’s way of working allows us to be ourselves in the studio. He creates choreography around our own improvised movement, enabling us to work to our strengths. In the February residency we also did a yoga class every morning before breakfast, which was hard but a really great start to the day.
When did you start to dance?
At the age of 11 I joined the Read Dance and Theatre Company in Thatcham, where I took jazz, acting and singing classes. I later joined a contemporary dance company called In the Mix run by Jackie Cullen, of which I have been a member ever since. I also go to the CAT (Centre of Advanced Training) scheme at The Place in London every Saturday, where I take ballet,
contemporary and creative classes.
What school do you attend? Is it difficult to combine dance with studies?
Kennet School. It is sometimes difficult, because it can be hard to switch off one or the other – either deadlines at school or upcoming dance performances, for example.
What’s the best thing about dance?
It is the feeling of relief from other things going on in my life and getting to spend my time in a studio with other like-minded people.
What is your ambition after NYDC?
I am hoping to go into vocational
training in September and from there I want to become a professional dancer.
NYDC guest artistic director Michael Keegan-Dolan said: “The work of the National Youth Dance Company is changing the way youth dance is perceived all over the country. The company’s inspirational performances exceed expectations and I am thrilled to be part of this momentum. I’m looking forward to the year ahead, to working with this wonderfully talented company of young dancers.”
Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and currently receives approximately 10 per cent of its revenue from Arts Council England.