New film footage provides insight into life of a professional dancer

Posted by ac555 at May 01, 2015 10:55 AM |
University of Leicester academic currently appearing in ‘A Little Chaos’ discusses experiences of working as a dancer in video interview

New video footage of a tutor from the University of Leicester’s School of Management has lifted the lid on some of the realities of the dancing profession.

Teaching Fellow Dr Heidi Ashton of the University’s Centre for Labour Market Studies – a former professional dancer – questions why the pay and conditions of dancers is declining based on her research into the working conditions of dancers.

Dr Ashton said: “My research has been heavily influenced by my dancing career. I am very interested in the way in which the pay and conditions for dancers have declined, particularly over the last 20 years.

“I am looking to see if there are any lessons that we can learn, particularly as the creative industries are hailed as such a success story in the UK, dancers aren’t seeing that success – the pay and conditions are actually reducing.”

Having previously choreographed music videos and worked as a Psychologist in an Olympic Legacy Team with the next generation of Olympic athletes, Dr Ashton recently beat off stiff competition to appear as a dancer in the current Hollywood movie A Little Chaos, alongside Kate Winslet and Alan Rickman.

The British period drama set in 17th Century France centres around a strong-willed landscape gardener (Winslet) who challenges gender and class assumption when she is chosen to create one of the main gardens at the Palace of Versailles for King Louis XIV (Rickman).

Using strong classical dancing techniques, Heidi impressed the panel during the daunting audition process to secure one of just seven places out of around 100 women who auditioned.

She added: “I have been very fortunate recently because I’ve been involved in two separate films. They’ve both been just wonderful experiences, really great people that I’ve been working with and it’s a wonderful way for me to keep connected to the dance community and to the people that I’m working with and talking to for my research.”

Born in Leicester, Heidi’s passion for dancing began aged nine and she has since travelled the world performing in prestigious venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, dancing a range of styles from ballet to musical theatre.

She has also recently finished working on another film Victor Frankenstein, starring Daniel Radcliffe and James McAvoy, as a dance and assistant choreographer which is due for release later this year.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information, please contact Dr Heidi Ashton via hsa8@le.ac.uk

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