This month, we sat down with 15-year-old Paris Robinson to chat about her experience at our first week-long Contemporary Intensive during our Autumn School Holiday Workshops.
We talked about how she began her dance journey and what she’s done so far in class, including her time learning Sydney Dance Company repertoire.
When did you start dancing?
I was five when I started dancing and I just began Ballet classes because my friend in Kindergarten started and I said “I want to do that as well!”. It kind of took off from there and I’ve been dancing six to seven days a week for 11 years now.
What do you love about dance and why do you do it?
I dance because it’s so free and it makes me feel alive. That may sound cliché, but I really value that. We live in a world that can be very structured but dance just lets me be who I am as an individual and I just love it – particularly Contemporary styles.
Between Ballet, Contemporary and Lyrical, which dance style is your favourite and how do you think they complement one another?
Personally, I love Lyrical, Modern and Contemporary, but I also do a lot of Ballet because it is very necessary. If you want to do basically any other style, Ballet is important because you need the technique to be able to have a beautiful line with a pointed foot on the end. I suppose they all complement each other but you have to do a lot of all of them to get where you want to be.
Why did you decide to do the Contemporary Intensive Workshop?
I actually won a scholarship, and these holidays I wanted to use some of that money. I was looking at a few different intensive autumn schools and workshops and I chose this one because I felt it was really suited to me. I looked at some of the teachers and choreographers and people I would be learning from and they looked incredible and they have been incredible. It was the right amount of everything I enjoy and everything I wanted to work on.
Tell us about your experience in the Workshop so far, what have you learned?
I come from a very rural area – in Orange – and although I go to a fabulous school and I love it I only get taught by one teacher. It’s been really nice to be able to branch out and experience other choreographers and teachers’ perspectives and teaching styles. Also in this Workshop, we’ve had separate classes between Lyrical, Contemporary, and Ballet styles, Contemporary technique, Contemporary routine, and structured improvisation, instead of just having it all jam-packed in one. It’s been intense but I’m loving it.
How was your experience learning Sydney Dance Company repertoire from Company dancer Juliette Barton?
I found it very different, it’s nothing like I’ve ever really done before. It was certainly very tiring. It was great and amazing to be taught by her, because I’ve looked up to her for a while.
What’s been the most challenging aspect of this Workshop?
I’m very sore and I’m very tired. It’s a full five days so it’s intense! I’m used to dancing most days of the week but only for about four hours or less. And not to this level either. It was hard getting out of bed this morning but I wanted to be here.
What’s been a valuable piece of advice given to you by a teacher during this Workshop?
I would say, just getting out of my own head. I know it’s what all teachers say to do but it’s a lot harder to actually put into practice. You shouldn’t worry about the girls and boys in class that are better than you, those who can get their leg up next to their head. Everyone has different talents and strengths and you need to let those shine through. I’ve been trying to let loose and do that. I’m getting there.
What are your future plans regarding dance?
I want to be an artist, whether through dance, singing, performing, visual arts, or photography – anything like that. I am definitely leaning towards dance at the moment. To be with Sydney Dance Company would be incredible at some point in the future.
Would you come to this Workshop again and would you recommend it to a friend?
Yes I absolutely would! It’s just been great so I would absolutely recommend it.
Stay tuned for updates on our July Winter Holiday Workshops for young dancers ages 5 – 18.