LCDS alumna Hannah Ekholm impressed at this year’s Resolution festival, when she presented not only one successful sell-out show, but also jumped at the opportunity to fill in for an injured artists with a second new work created in only 4 days! We spoke to Hannah about her time at LCDS, embracing challenges, seizing opportunities and making things happen.
The Place: When did you study at LCDS? Why did you decide to study contemporary dance? Any highlights of your time studying here?
HE: I did my MA at LCDS from 2016 as an apprentice with James Wilton Dance Company, and obtained a distinction in my MA dissertation through the University of Kent. I chose this programme as I saw it as a great step to develop as a professional dancer. During my time at LCDS both Mary Evelyn and Martin Hargreaves were excellent tutors and I felt super supported during my year at the school.
The Place: Tell us a little bit about what happened since! What are the key moments in your career?
HE: Whilst touring with James Wilton, I auditioned for Alexander Whitley Dance Company, and got a contract for the piece ‘8 Minutes’ that we premiered at Sadler’s Wells in 2017. I continued to work with AWDC for the last 6 years, as well as on projects with Rambert, Didy Veldman, and Natalia Osipova, and I had the pleasure to work with some incredible dancers and artists along the way.
Alongside this I started a journey in ballroom, specialising in New Way Vogue and joining the International House of ‘ELLE’. I have walked and competed internationally and won multiple awards. I have judged balls and events, as well as hosting my own ball in London.
I’ve really enjoyed working in the commercial sector as well, performing and choreographing for artists and brands such as; RAYE, Lacoste, Gareth Pugh, Tinie Tempah, La Roux, Jax Jones, BBC, CR Fashion Book, NOWNESS, YEARS & YEARS, Joy Crookes, HUAWEI, Floating Points, Daniel Avery, Grey Goose, MARVEL, Calvin Harris, Sam Smith, Boozt and many more.
Most recently I presented my work ‘STIMULI’, a piece with 4 Musicians and 5 dancers on stage, for a sold out show at The Place as part of Resolution festival. Then two weeks later myself and Faye Stoeser presented a new work ‘Splice’ as a last minute adaptation. Both works were greatly received and I’m really excited about where they will go next.
The Place: What did you take away from your creative education? What lessons do you carry with you through your career?
HE: During my time as an apprentice with James Wilton, I performed as the soloist for 13 shows around the UK which was a very big responsibility and learning experience that has helped me greatly throughout my career so far. Always to be curious to learn, prepared for any possible changes and how to deal with them and to be kind to the all the artists around you. Writing my dissertation supported my researching skills, that has come in handy both in creating and for producing new work.
The Place: How has dance shaped your life? What were the challenges you had to overcome to keep dancing or to remain in the dance industry?
HE: I have danced for as long as I can remember, I have always loved moving and allowing my mind to be in that present moment. Dance has helped me appreciate all kinds of artist who have a passion to create something beautiful out of nothing. I feel so lucky to be in a position to create art and express myself through movement. Becoming a dancer, I definitely had challenges throughout my training, long days of very intense movements on your body, challenges of standing in front of a mirror every day from the age of 10 in a ballet school ,constantly being tired - all challenges have always fuelled me to want to do it more.
The Place: What are your hopes for the dance community?
would love to see people daring to be individual, supporting each other,
creating and having fun. To keep trying new
ideas, new collaborations and get more people involved
in dance. The longer I spend
time in the industry, the more I love seeing
everyone's individual journey in getting there. The current challenges are of
course seeing how little funding is being given
to the arts but finding ways of still making projects happen.
I would love to be part of engaging younger people to dance as an art form. After
all we all dance.
Find Hannah on Instagram