Class with Laura Harvey

When: every Thursday with Quicksilver

Where: Rambert Dance Studios

The teacher: Laura graduated from Chester University with a BA Honours in Dance and Arts and Cultural Management and the following year completed an MA in European Dance Theatre Practice at the Laban Centre.

Laura joined Rambert Dance Company in 2005 as the Education Administrator and was project manager for Rambert from April 2006 -September 2008. She has worked as an animateur for Rambert Dance Company since 2006 delivering educational workshops across the country and teaching on their community class programme for young dancers. She runs the Rambert Youth Company, Quicksilver and has choreographed work on them for the opening of the Eurostar from St Pancras International, Big Dance and Leap into Dance at the Royal Ballet School. She has worked as a performance director for a project engaging 170 young dancers and musicians at Ripon Cathedral and most recently produced a site specific performance at the British Film Institute working with 150 young performers from Lambeth.

Laura currently works as the Touring Dance Officer (National and International) for English National Ballet delivering repertoire based workshops around the country. Alongside this role, Laura is undertaking a project entitled Swanning Around, acting as Artistic Director working with schools in the U.K to produce a performance at The Royal Albert Hall and teaching in China to produce a performance for Shanghai Expo 2010.

Working on a freelance basis for the past eight years, Laura has taught for companies such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, George Piper Dances, Richard Alston Dance Company and Sadlers Wells Theatre. Laura continues to work nationwide as a choreographer, teacher and performer (Iratik Dance Theatre) and is continually developing her own dance in education company, HarveyCo Dance.

The class/My verdict: I take Laura’s class each week as part of Quicksilver’s training. Though this means I know her style very well by now, I wanted to give her a special mention for last night. I’ve enjoyed Laura’s style since I was first witness to it at the Quicksilver auditions, back when I first moved to London. She has a very free-flowing style about her, but her movements are also very quick and powerful, surging through her petite frame.

Something I really appreciate about Laura’s classes, that I wish to keep in mind for my own classes, is that she is great at creating a varied class. There are elements that are repeated each week for improvement sake, but the structure and focus of the class changes week to week, depending on her mood, and that of the dancers.

Last night, we did nearly an hour of cardio work (and I think it nearly winded us all…). I’ve upped my cardio training anyway, trying to prepare for my visit back to Australia (and the unfortunate situation of a bikini body coming out a London winter…hmmm), and having this class was a really energy booster I appreciated. Dancers are quick to forget cardio – we’re much stronger on the anaerobic front, meaning if we stop and start activity constantly, we can usually go all day. Aerobically however, many of us are sorely lacking. It’s not for want of trying, but cardio has never been my forte.

After keeping the heart rate up for so long, Laura moved us into more traveling and repetition of a phrase. After so many rehearsal for Prokofiev, it feels amazing to move without restraint again, taking class to popular music and laughing with exhaustion. It can take time to get your body to move quickly again, but I’m recalling the commands it responds best to. I’m finding my relationship with the floor again – the fundamental relationship that has improved my dance technique tremendously over the years. That, and moving into and out of your core – simple images that have allowed me a greater capacity for dynamics and strength (flexibility requires a different focus, but that’s for another time…).

Thanks for a great class Laura!

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