The ability to appreciate ballet and contemporary dance equally really separates Rambert School from other
Alumnus Sharia Johnson now performs with Rambert company, here she looks back on her time at Rambert School. See more of her background on the alumni page here.
What memories do you have of your time at Rambert School?
A memory I miss daily is Barry Ganberg playing music for a Ross McKim class. Probably my favourite memory of being at Rambert School was the energy of the school. It was beautiful and quite overwhelming. Another great memory for me would be the support from the physiotherapy team Pete Dunleavy and Kio Tomiyama. I was injured for a while and I never felt abandoned by any of the staff at the school. I felt especially welcome to use the Physio room when I needed and Pete and Kio were always available when necessary for me. The ice cream van every year before the summer holidays is also a great memory!
What do you think makes Rambert School special?
The ability to appreciate ballet and contemporary dance equally really separates Rambert School from others. They don’t accept one without the other, the school pushes you to excel in both, regardless of what you want to pursue when you graduate as they compliment each other so well. Performing both ballet and contemporary solos every term at that age requires some soul searching and is psychologically draining but immensely insightful in many ways! It gave me the opportunity to put myself in an uncomfortable situation, as life often does, and no matter the outcome, feel accomplished. The school has a very supportive environment from the students up to the director of the school so I never felt as though I could fail.
How did the training at Rambert School prepare you for a successful career in dance?
I was able to take the knowledge and experience in both ballet and contemporary to begin my career as a contemporary dancer. Being a contemporary dancer with experience of performing classical ballet solos every term whilst at school gave me some kind of edge I believe.
What advice would you give to new students about training or the industry?
Take all the information and experience provided, even if somehow you think it contradicts itself, try to apply and inform your body with all of it. It may seem overwhelming at first but it’ll build a great toolbox for you to leave school and experiment in your future with. Never believe you know it all, you can always learn more. Most importantly, in my opinion-dance for yourself, sometimes you can forget once you leave school with the pressure of finding a job. Don’t forget to dance because you love it and not because “it’s a job”.
Images from Johan Persson.