Daniel Bolton: Rising Star

Daniel BoltonDaniel trained at Laine Theatre Arts and has appeared as a parade performer, ice skater, sky runner and dancer at Disneyland Paris for several successful seasons. His television credits include Britannia High (ITV) and Libra Television schools documentary, and his theatre credits include Peter Pan (White Rock Theatre, Hasting) and Sleeping Beauty (Civic Theatre, Chelmsford).

When did you begin dancing, singing and acting, and where and why?

I was 9 years old when I joined a local Amateur Dramatic society in Horwich (my home town) for the year 2000 production of Oliver. I then continued to do a number of productions with various adult and youth societies in and around Bolton. By the age of 13, I decided I wanted to try to do this as a career, so I decided to start some formal training in dance. I joined Frances Bleasdales School of Dance in Bolton and started to follow ballet, modern and tap gradings.

What were your early years of performing arts like?

Fantastic, I loved my time performing in various amdram productions around Bolton. This is where my hunger for performing on stage began.

How long have you been performing? Did you start young?

I was 9 when I started performing on stage, but I only started formal dance training at 13. So I suppose I was a late starter for a dancer, as most people start to learn to dance from the age of 3!

Where did you train and what was a typical day like?

I trained professionally for 3 years at Laine Theatre Arts, in Epsom. My typical day would start at 8.30am and finish at 6pm. It would consist primarily of dance. I had ballet and jazz lessons at least once a day.

What is a typical day like now?

I am currently touring with Fiddler on the Roof, so my day depends on if it’s a double show day or just an evening show. On an evening performance day, we have to be at the theatre for 6pm for warm up. Warm up consists of a 20 minute dance and 20 minute vocal, leaving time to tune musical instruments and run anything that needs to be ‘cleaned up’ before the performance. The reason we have musical instruments is that the show is actor-musician, so we don’t have an orchestra and we all have to play the music as well as act, sing and dance. I also try to get to see some of the city or town we are currently performing at and do a spot of sight-seeing.

What’s the best part about performing?

I really like the challenge of this production of Fiddler on the Roof, as I have had to learn how to combine playing a musical instrument with my acting, singing and dancing. It adds a whole new vibe to our cast, we have to be listening very carefully to all the other performers even more than in any other production I have been involved in. Even when I’m in the wings, I have to be in the music booth playing the music for my fellow cast mates.

What would you say was your greatest achievement to date?

I think Iid have to say my persistence in wanting to train at one of the top training colleges. My journey to college had its ups and downs and it’s quite a long story but I feel I should share it with you. I auditioned for Laine Theatre Arts for 3 consecutive years and each time I was offered a place but fell at the funding stage!

I couldn’t afford to self-fund so I took on all types of jobs for 3 years, saving as much as I could and writing to charities and trust funds to find any means I could to acquire the fees. Jobs that I did were waiting on tables in restaurants, call centres and my favourite was working at Disneyland Paris. It really was an incredible time at Disney.

On my third attempt to get the funding for Laine, once again, I wasn’t offered the 3 year DaDa funding but Miss Laine offered to help with a 1 year bursary. With the money I had saved and the kind donations from the hundreds of letters/application forms I completed for trust funds, I was finally in a position to feel I could financially take up my place that had been there for me for 3 years.

I was beaming; I moved to Epsom that summer and found myself a part-time job to help me pay for my living costs. At that point I knew I had finances to help me get through approximately half of the 3 year course. So I continued to write to trust funds to continue to search for additional funding for the second half of the course.

Towards the end of my first year, Miss Laine offered me a 2 year DaDa which provided me with the funding for my final two years tuition fees. I will always be very grateful to all the people that helped me find the finances I needed to get through the 3 year course. However, with determination to not give up, I graduated last summer and started an incredible job with Fiddler on the Roof.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to be part of the dance industry?

“It’s ok to fail, but NEVER be defeated.” Napoleon Hill

I think this quote pretty much sums up my time to date, not just in the industry, but also for during the training required. I strongly believe that if you want something, you can get it, if you are never defeated.

What’s next for you?

I will be moving back to Epsom after my tour finishes. I have just got my job back waiting on tables. I will be attending class to keep the training up and back in the audition rooms hoping to find my second job in the career I love.

Laine Theatre Arts: Funding Trouble

Laine Theatre ArtsStudents at the prestigious musical theatre college Laine Theatre Arts have had a blow ahead of the new academic year. Epsom and Ewell Council, the area in which the college is situated, has withdrawn housing benefits which many of the student receive.

As an institution of further education, Laine Theatre Arts students were entitled to the benefits in order to subsidise their tuition fees and rent, however September may see many students unable to pay their rent to stay in Epsom and attend college.

Laine Theatre Arts is now deemed a provider of higher education, alongside universities and similar institutions, awarding its graduates with a diploma. This would presumably make the college eligible to receive student loans for the hefty tuition fees which are charged by most performing arts colleges, yet this is not the case. With no access to housing benefits or loans for fees which may see many parents remortgage their houses to pay up, for example, Laine Theatre Arts students are in a rather unfortunate position.

In the wake of cuts to arts funding and speculation as to the survival rate of many West End shows, theatre and dance organisations and providers of performing arts training, it is becoming increasingly clear that the arts are being brushed to one side, devalued by the lack of investment and support from funders. Just last week there was musings in The Stage online as to what would happen if the Royal Opera House was to lose its funding. Whilst the venue is not every audience’s choice for the arts, it would be a great pillar lost in the upholding of the arts and what value they stand for.

Unfortunately there does not appear to be a clear step forward in terms of funding for the arts, but in the short term it is hoped that the students of Laine Theatre Arts will be eligible to apply for student loans to aid their studies.

Easter Courses For Young Dance Students

Easter 2013 Dance Courses

Despite many dance schools taking breaks for the Easter holidays, eager dance students still have the chance to dance their way through the holidays. There are a wide variety of courses to suit every dance taste, such as hip hop, musical theatre and ballet, enabling students to build on existing skills, and even gain an idea as to further training in dance which they may like to undertake in the future.

ZooNation Easter Academy are inviting beginner and intermediate level dancers to learn from ZooNation company members, covering a wide range of hip hop and street dance styles including Locking, Popping, Breaking, House and Waacking. Students will also be able to learn some original choreography from the hit West End show Some Like It Hip Hop.

The Place Youth Dynamics course can see students work with the renowned national touring company Tavaziva Dance, allowing young dancers to develop their contemporary technique and learn some of the company’s repertory.

The Royal Academy of Dance are holding a Boys’ Day of Dance for male students aged 7 – 16, enabling them to experience four different dance styles: Ballet, Street Dance, Contemporary and Capoeira. The classes held will be taught by professional male teachers and performers, helping to inspire young males in introducing them to dance.

Laine Theatre Arts’ International Easter course will incorporate Jazz, Musical Theatre and Drama workshops, building up a range of skills for students perhaps interested in auditioning for the vocational training course offered at Laine Theatre Arts in Musical Theatre and Dance.

All courses offered by a whole host of dance companies, examination boards and training institutions are fantastic opportunities to inspire new talents and develop existing skills of dance students who are eager to further their training and improve their skills.

Mass Movement Agency

Mass Movement

A new dance collaboration has been launched by Mass Movement, a London based dance talent agency sourcing and representing some of the best choreographers and dancers in the world, ranging across the board with a number of different specialities and abilities. Their new project group, “The Movement”, encompasses a tight-knit and powerful collaboration of respected industry chorographers and dancers. Each Mass Movement choreographer offers different styles and skills across Modern Commercial, Contemporary, Jazz, Street Dance and Hip Hop, with extensive experience in Artist Creative Direction and New Artist Development contributing also. The works of the choreographers of Mass Movement have been featured in a variety of media, such as music tours and videos, TV specials and commercials, and live corporate events.

Self-titled as the UK’s latest dance phenomenon, The Movement hosts 16 remarkable dancers fusing dance disciplines. Aiming to take the dance sector to an entirely new level that has never been seen before, The Movement is operating under the direction of Creative Director Christian Storm and some of the most highly acclaimed choreographers of the industry. Fusing a multitude of dance genres with fantastic skill ranges and talents, The Movement looks set to become a “super group”, creating a remarkable new concept for dance. Whether your interest is “pretty in pink” pointe shoes, the dapper tap shoe or the urban skills of those in dance trainers, Mass Movement is sure to hit the spot.

Storm’s enthusiasm for the dance and leotard clan of Laine Theatre Arts where he trained, lead him to open his own talent agency and live event production company, having worked in this capacity for so many of his own performing and choreographic years.  Mass Movement ensures that the very best talents and the most elite professional dancers in varying genres are within easy reach of clients. Storm’s choreographic and directive success relies on his unique combination of incredible talent and innovative, creative ideas which are delivered by his personable yet professional nature. Storm is renowned also for instinctively knowing how to achieve the best from the performers and clients he works with, instilling confidence that Mass Movement is able to deliver with style.