Alumni Achievements: Arielle Smith
5th December 2018
Arielle Smith graduated from the School in 2016 and was this year appointed as the first-ever Young Associate Choreographer at New Adventures. She is currently playing an integral part in the creation process of the companies new production of Romeo & Juliet, which will premiere and tour the UK in spring 2019.Here, we take a look back at her training and experience that got Arielle to where she is today.
Arielle first started dancing as a child. “I’m Cuban and I lived in Cuba until 9 years old. Social dancing is part of the culture, so I enjoyed dancing when I was younger but wasn’t introduced to classical until I came to England. I watched Giselle at the Royal Opera House age 11 and was inspired to take up ballet. I got a scholarship at The Hammond School (Chester) during Year 7 – I was very fresh, I got accepted based on potential rather than technique. I was there until the age of 16 when I was offered a place at Rambert School.”
During her time at the School, following injury, Arielle found her passion for Choreography. “Every person at the School has a strong ambition. They have a real desire to make something of themselves and they’re all completely different. There’s a massive support network, not just between students but teachers and mentors. It feels like a company by the time we’re in the third year”.
Of the School’s recent Student Choreography performances, Arielle said “It makes me think back to my 3rd year when I asked the teachers to use 15 dancers to make a 15 minute piece, I was breaking all the rules, but they supported me as they knew my ambition was to be a choreographer. This piece helped me get my first choreography gig. I will be forever grateful to the teachers that mentored and supported my work.”
“As a choreographer I love to see the dancers on stage doing my choreography, that’s such a fulfilling feeling. When I started out I was younger and you feel you ask people as a favour to be in your piece, but now people want to. Having people enjoy the piece and getting something from it is what I really, really love.”
“I enjoy finding out how each dancer moves, taking chances on people – I try to take people who aren’t so obvious a choice and to see their journey. I chose a dancer in a piece I made last year when others may not have done, he ended up as my muse for the piece – he was my statement. Then hearing people at the end saying where did he come from? – I was glad I took that chance.”
Since graduating, Arielle has performed with Rambert dance company and gone on to choreograph professionally. Her work Cradle premiered at the Barbican last year as part of a collaborative project between Rambert School and London Schools Symphony Orchestra. She continues to work closely with the School and others, including Legat, as a choreographer and teacher and continues to work for The National Youth Ballet, under the artistic direction of Mikah Smillie.
As an independent choreographer, Arielle has produced two works – The Thing’s We’ve Done and Lot’s of Varied Expectations, which featured at Resolution festival at The Place in 2018.
Arielle is passionate about drawing attention to the talent among young artists and feels excited and privileged to join the team at New Adventures on the Romeo & Juliet project that celebrates young people. In addition to her choreographic role with the company, Arielle became a trustee of New Adventures in September 2018.
Arielle is definitely one-to-watch and we cannot wait to see what comes next!