Arielle Smith-JonesGraduated from Rambert School in 2016
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.
When did you first start dancing?
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.
When did you discover that you could choreograph?
I was injured and had to take some time out. Working on projects such as Design for Dance in my second year, that’s when I realised I have something I can give.
What do you love about being a choreographer?
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.
What do you think makes Rambert School special?
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.
How has your final year prepared you for the transition from student to professional dancer?
The teachers have connections, working in the profession, and Rambert School alumni are always in touch with the school – it’s a strong family network. I will always have that connection as a Rambert School student.
Very exciting… I am taking a new commission to collaborate with a composer from the London Schools Orchestra. This will be the first time I’ve ever had music made specifically for my choreography. I start work in September and the piece will be shown Spring 2017 at the Barbican Concert Hall.
I also have another commission from National Youth Ballet at Sadler’s Wells in the Autumn and after that it’s about getting my work seen which can be quite hard. I’m applying for Resolution 2017 at The Place. Choreography is different to being a dancer; you need to get the right contacts and have people notice your work.