As we say goodbye to Rachel Sullivan and Dan Lukehurst, our super talented apprentices from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, we catch-up with them in a Q&A, which looks back and reflects on their apprenticeship us.
1 | What have you enjoyed most about your apprenticeship with Chameleon?
Rachel: There has been so many wonderful moments, where we’ve been able to really dive into creative experiences, which have really stuck with me. Learning Amaranthine, Of Man and Beast, Push and Witness This has been incredible. But, being able to work beside Anthony, Kevin, Juliana and Theo on a daily basis, with their willingness to help and engage with our practice has been incredibly humbling. Their words will walk with me for the rest of my career.
Dan: All of it! I’ve loved every single second. It’s been so great to learn how a professional company works. Company Chameleon’s team have been so welcoming and caring. They’ve really cared about our experience and have supported us every step of the way.
2 | What have you found most challenging?
Rachel: At the start, it was being in a company environment all day knowing that your contribution to the energy levels really effects the small group of people that you’re working with. It’s very different to anything I’ve experienced before, working only in larger group situations. Recognising you have to bring your own energy to each day and what you bring makes a difference, gave me a new feeling and level of responsibility that I’d not experience before.
Physically, it has been extremely challenging, learning about the way the Company works and how their style flows through everything they do.
Dan: We’ve been pushed to our absolutely limits the past few months, physically, mentally and creatively. It’s been really challenging finding my feet in my own right, being independent in my own practice and taking control of that. No one is going to hold your hand in this world and it’s been great to experience that!
3 | What has been your favourite moment?
Rachel: There has been so many moments of the past few months that have really shaped me, almost too many to mention! The first thing that springs to mind is being around the team and all our moments together. Performing Amaranthine for the company was been a real pleasure and an incredible opportunity; it’s something I’ll always be grateful for.
Dan: The Shadow research and development was really great; we got the opportunity to work with Thom Gulgec and Lee Clayden (freelance dance artists) and to look at our own creative expression. It was great to be able to contribute creatively to that process whilst learning from those who have years of experience and wisdom in these processes. They really inspired and motivated me; the whole thing was a very humbling experience.
4 | What key learning will you take away?
Rachel: There will always be more to take from this, if that’s physically, mentally or emotionally. Company Chameleon’s ability to welcome people in, to be kind and open to the people we met on tour or during rehearsals or at a workshop is something I will always take away. Their approach to others is fantastic and something to be learnt from. It’s been great to find my feet. I feel really grounded and open but in a place that I want to learn more. I’ve found a confidence within myself that is allowing me to grow so much more. I’m going to spend these next few months exploring what it all means.
Dan: What Rachel said! I’ve learnt a lot of adulting stuff, how to function as a professional in a difficult world. Stepping out from a Uni degree and directly into a professional environment was a massive change for me, learning the ropes in a professional company will stay with me.
5 | What’s next for you guys?
Rachel: I’m currently working on an R&D with Coalesce Dance in Salford. At the end of May, I’ll be heading back to Leeds to complete the rest of my Masters degree at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. In June, I’ll be then heading back down the Brighton to work on a short project with Victoria Fox which is really exciting. The next few months is a really exciting time to find out where my roots sit in lots of different art forms. It’s been really great to get to know what goes on in Manchester, I hope I find myself back here on day. It feels like home!
Dan: I’m really hoping to base myself in Manchester, it also feels like home. I’ll be joining Rachel on the short project with Victoria Fox and working towards The Dance Consortium’s North West mentoring scheme where I’ll be spending a year working on my own work. This is a really exciting time to explore what’ s next for me.
Kevin, Anthony and all the team at the Chameleon would like to thank Rachel and Dan for all their hard work over the last year and wish them the very best of luck for the future. We will see you soon!
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Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!