Our latest Alumni Story is with Matthew Robinson, Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales and a London Contemporary School alum who graduated in 2009.
In our Q&A Matthew tells us about understanding the world through dance and how artists can help shape a better world.
The Place: When did you study at LCDS? Why did you decide to study contemporary dance? Any highlights of your time studying here?
Matthew: I studied dance because it is what I love, it has always helped me make sense of the world. At LCDS I was part of such an ambitious, supportive year group who are doing brilliant things all over the world. I feel so lucky to have been surrounded by such inspiration. I graduated in 2009.
The Place: Tells us a little bit about what happened since! What are the key moments in your career?
Matthew: I joined Scottish Dance Theatre upon graduation, performing work by a range of international choreographers, and in 2013 became Rehearsal Director. The company was a huge part of my development. In 2016 I became Artistic Director of VERVE, based at NSCD, I commissioned work by artists including Botis Seva, Lali Ayguade, Maxine Doyle, Alesandra Seutin and Sita Ostheimer. I worked with so many brilliant people over five years there. In 2021 I joined National Dance Company Wales as Artistic Director. Alongside this I am an artist myself. My latest work, SEPTEMBER is a collaboration with music producer Torben Lars Sylvest and designer George Hampton Wale with National Dance Company Wales.
The Place: What did you take away from your creative education? What lessons did you carry with you through your career?
Matthew: My creative education broadened my horizons and made me think more three dimensionally about the world we all share. Collaboration is key in what we do, and my education and what followed really helped me understand that. I also took with me the importance of ongoing enquiry and curiosity in my practice; this is what sustains me.
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?
Matthew: Dance is huge part of my life and has shaped how I relate to myself, others and the world around me. Growing up I needed a space where I could be myself, and dance offered me that, I was so lucky to find it, and to find our community.
The Place: What are your hopes for the dance community?
Matthew: Dance plays a big role in many people’s lives and could play an even bigger role in society. I hope dance as an artform can continue to gain the recognition it deserves, and therefore artists can access the resources they need to thrive. I really believe the artform and artists can help shape a better world.
Catch NDCW on tour with their latest programme PULSE, and at The Place on 4 & 5 April.