I learnt how to become an artist at Rambert School, I was given time to ask questions and then go off and find my answers.
When did you discover your passion for Choreography?
I came to Rambert School with an interest in choreography and the School opened the doors further, it helped me to try and to fail. I think the best thing for creatives is to have a playground to test bed ideas before you actually get into a job where you can’t “fail”. My passion is fuelled by crazy talented people that I work with who make my work better and help me to learn from my craft. Through working with my peers at school, some of the most interesting upcoming choreographers in their field, I was able to discover my own language and process of what makes me interested in storytelling. The question that lives within everything I do in life and work is the question “Why?”. Why do we do what we do, what message, what impact am I trying to leave. It can be as simple in social groups as giving a warm lasting impression or working on a global campaign making people think differently about how they live their lives with each other. I had an amazing opportunity to work on the Colin Kaepernick Nike Campaign shortly after he took a knee at the NFL games. This was one of my favourite pieces of work because it had such a strong why and moved people emotionally and changed culture. Gaining experience through the Design for Dance project and choreographic platforms at Rambert School allowed this to happen, it allowed me to explore and to figure out what stories I want to tell and how to tell them.
How did your experience at Rambert School help shape your career?
In every way and shape. I learnt how to become an artist there, I was given time to ask questions and then go off and find my answers. I truly believe Rambert School allowed individuality within their training to have a diverse career. I was taught that it is important to be great at being a dancer but what I also learnt is the skills you need to process information for your body and mind.
I was able to unlock other avenues within my career because of the way I think. I believe the process of thinking creatively is at the essence of the arts which allows you to cross borders into other platforms whether that it is design, fashion, art, dance or music. The school allowed me to be able to shed one skin of identity and jump into another. For years people have jumped from training within dance/classical into other areas of directing, creative direction, set design and movement direction which I think is a beautiful think. We had some guest teachers come in to talk about transferable skills and I don’t think this is taught enough at other schools, yes we train in dance to be the best dancer we can possibly be but the skills you learn, discipline, hard work, holistic approaches, team work, leadership are all skills which can be used in other career paths. Without these teachings of transferable skills I wouldn’t know that it was possible to do this. Now I can explore how to become a creative director because essentially a choreographer for theatre and film is a creative director, they are both visionaries.
Can you describe your career as a Movement Director, Choreographer and collaborator?
I work with a vast amount of people on a daily basis. I alter between fashion, music, film & dance. One moment I’m working with a highly tuned athlete on a sports campaign another I am working with an artist on their movement and performance while working with extras to create characters and background work and also choreographing the main dancers for the scene. Another moment might be working with a celebrity model on a catwalk show, telling them how to move and giving intention. You forget that everything we learn is intention based, why and how we move? Just because I am not teaching them how to do Gaga or double toure doesn’t mean it isn’t connected, intention can be anything from picking up a cup, there’s about a million ways to do it.
I believe my career is about finding intentions and exploring them with people. Mission statement: What is my why and intention? I am able to jump between different projects which demand a different result. Now we have social media and digital world to compete with, its important to know this landscape and how to work with it. I can thank Rambert School for helping me process information and find the right tools on how to tackle it. I am branching into other forms of art such as writing and directing which is also an extension of choreography and movement just with words and actions/intentions.
You have worked with some of the world’s most exciting fashion brands. How do you find your skills translate to the Fashion industry?
I have worked with brands Nike, Puma, Adidas, Dior, A COLD WALL, HBO, Apple to name a few. The ability to understand how ones body works habitually helps me. When I look at a body and know where I need to take it, depending on the art director, photographer, client and brief. Without understanding deeply my own habitual body I wouldn’t be able to access and excess another’s body. Like any profession, you understand how it works, like on a film set who do you go to for certain things, 1st AD to speak to about schedule, 3rd AD for talent and extras. Everything has a order and process, once you understand what world you are working in, the rest is easy, you just do your process. Understanding information and how to process it was the biggest skills I learnt at Rambert School. Even to the smallest of actions like the importance of a plie, there’s so much detail in a plie, it is everything, that same mindset I can take into every platform I work in.
Can you tell us about some of your recent film/music projects?
I recently worked on a Nike Japan campaign shoot, I worked on the film Make up which premiered at the BFI and then screening in Curzon cinemas all over the UK and recently appeared on BBC 2. I had the lovely opportunity to pick up an award for my work at the UKMVA for best pop newcomer video for an artist called Ashnikko – “Hi It’s me”. Before lockdown I worked on H&M studio new global campaign helping them shape the creative across digital and experiential projects. I worked with one of my favourite artists London Grammar on their newest album “California Soil” and “Passenger”. I am now exploring my own directing work, making a short film and writing a script.
How are you finding ways to keep active/ maintain your positivity during lockdown?
Over lockdown I found it rather lovely to have my own time and space. Without creativity I am lost, so I decided to explore other creative pursuits and hobbies, such as photography, writing and painting while also consulting for brands on their creative concepts and working remotely on a couple of music promos one being “Pour The Milk” which was a social media Tik Tok campaign. I was running 5 days a week and working a lot of dance and art documentary. I have always believed we have banks of references, what I mean is, the more successful you become and the
bigger the projects the more you need to rely on your creative references so seeing galleries, pictures, art, films allows you to take something from each and make something new. This is where originality lies.
You asked one of your 360 Yourself guests to share advice for those looking to enter the creative industry or a quote you live by. How would you answer this question?
My two favourite quotes are “Boring people make boring work” & “Don’t worry about plan B because it distracts you from plan A.” I’ve always been very determined, hungry and driven. You can ask many of my teachers at , . There’s something about having a vision and knowing you will reach it at some point, that patience when all things might not seem to be going right its having that deep passion for what you do and knowing you will come out in the end and find the door with the light. Anyone that is coming into the industry I would say be clever and know your stuff. Knowledge is the key to power. The more you know the more you will get on. Make connections and partnerships that you can grow and move up the ladder of success. Without collaborators and friends you wont make it, no one builds a company or business alone. Meet new people and explore different ways of working and how you can help each other to achieve each of your visions/goals. And finally, say a mantra every morning to keep your head on, mine is “happiness is a choice” I say this every morning as the arts can be a very difficult place, so keep strong, smile and enjoy yourself, life is too short!
Find out more about Jamie here.