We’re super proud of Chameleon Youth dance artist, Nic Lee, 17, who has become one of the youngest new students to be offered a place at London Contemporary Dance School.
He will now leave sixth form college early to start the three-year course that will prepare him for life as a professional dancer.
We first met Nic when we visited his school, Wright Robinson College in Gorton, to run a dance workshop.
Company Dancer, Juliana, and Learning & Participation Officer, Amber, saw potential in Nic straight away and took the time to chat to him afterwards.
They told Nic they were impressed with his natural ability to move and were keen for him to audition for Chameleon Youth, our youth dance company.
But with no parental support at the time for his dancing, there was a question mark over how he would pay the subsidised £100 a year fee, and Nic missed the deadline. And by the following year the country was in lockdown and all classes were cancelled.
When lockdown hit, our weekly classes for young people, The Saturday Sessions, moved to zoom.
On morning, Juliana and Amber, were delighted when Nic’s face popped up on screen. They remembered him right away despite it being 18 months since their visit to his school.
Inspired by The Saturday Sessions and Chameleon’s free and creative style, throughout the lockdowns, Nic spent a three to four hours each day self-teaching.
Nic watched and imitated hours of footage of other dancers, did HIIT workouts to build strength and stamina and practiced yoga, copying free demonstrations on YouTube.
Once the country finally opened up again, Nic was able to audition for Chameleon Youth and won himself a place.
Chameleon Youth offers the opportunity to perform across the year at festivals, outdoor events and theatres. As part of Chameleon Youth, Nic has performed at The Lowry, New Adelphi Theatre and Phoenix Dance Theatre plus outdoor festivals such as Manchester Day Parade, Green Space Dark Skies and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant in London.
Dancing with Chameleon also opened up other opportunities, which Nic grasped with both hands. The company introduced him to other young people’s dance schemes, including The Lowry’s Centre For Advanced Training (CAT) in Dance and the National Youth Dance Company. Nic successfully auditioned for both projects, and has recently enjoyed taking part in a national tour with other young dancers.
Nic said: “The timing of me getting my place couldn’t have been more perfect and it feels like everything’s come full circle. Amazingly, I was on work experience at Company Chameleon when I got an email saying I’d passed my audition and interview.
“I was totally in shock as I didn’t think I did that well. And for a 17-year-old to get in is pretty rare.
“It was just perfect to be able to share this moment with Company Chameleon as this really is where my dance journey started.
“I was already doing a dance GCSE before I joined, but I would never have been dancing at the high level needed to get into London Contemporary Dance School, and I wouldn’t have known about other opportunities like National Youth Dance Company that have really opened my eyes to what’s possible.
“Some of my older friends from Chameleon Youth are already at London Contemporary Dance School and it is an absolute dream come true to be able to go and join them.”
Sam Broadbent, our Learning & Participation Manager, said: “I can remember our workshop leaders coming back from Wright Robinson and telling us about Nic.
“They said not only was he an amazing mover, he was so confident and mature, even at 14. They still talk about how Nic came for a chat at the end of the session and totally impressed them and how they really hoped he would start to come along to Chameleon Youth.
“We are over the moon that Nic was eventually able to join us and being able to support him over the last few years with dance school applications and auditions has been our absolute pleasure. Nic very much deserves his place in London and we are excited to follow his progress and see what happens next. We are expecting big things!”
If you’d like to try our creative dance style, then why not come along to The Saturday Sessions at our studio in Openshaw. Classes are drop-in and cost from £3 a week. Sessions for ages 4-6s (9.30-10.15am), 7-10s (10.30-11.30am) and 11-16s (12-1.30pm).
Chameleon Youth (11-21) auditions are coming up in July. Further details to be announced soon.
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Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!