Onboard Chameleon

8 December 2023

We’re delighted to welcome Philip Yang, as the first person to join our Board as Young Board Member. Philip will work directly with our Chair, Andrew Hurst, Chief Executive of One Dance UK, and other Board members to help shape Chameleon’s future plans and strategic vision.

In this Q&A, we find out more about Philip and his love for movement, interest in business and passion for speaking out.  

1) Hi Philip, we’d love to know more about you.
Hi everyone, my name is Philip Yang, I’m 17 years old and I’m the new Young Board Member for Company Chameleon. 

I’ve lived in Manchester my whole life, and attended Wright Robinson College in Gorton. The school is just around the corner from Company Chameleon so I’ve always been local to the company. I’m currently studying at Ashton Sixth Form College in Tameside, studying Business, Accounting and Media Studies. 

Outside of my interest in dance, I volunteer mentoring high school students in English which I really love. I don’t really like just sitting around doing nothing, I prefer to fill my days helping others, working with all ages and just generally helping people out. My hobbies are quite active; I competitively roller-skate and also help out as a junior coach with my other team members too. I like to read, mainly fantasy, but also around important topics and the rest of the world. I also love K-pop!

My parents speak Cantonese, and I attended Chinese School for ten years. It was extremely important to me to learn about my heritage, the language, and how to read and write Chinese. I also learnt Mandarin by watching Chinese drama shows during COVID. It’s really nice to stay connected to my heritage and now I’m learning Mandarin, I can even communicate really well with extended members of my family who still live in China.

2) Tell us about your dance journey so far!
I’ve always liked to move – dance, gymnastics, skating… anything performance based, but I was actually afraid to do dance in high school because of the stigma I felt around males doing dance. After some encouragement, I tried out Hip-hop during year seven, and eventually chose dance for GCSE in year ten where I had my first experiences of more contemporary based movement.

It was during this time when Company Chameleon came to deliver a session at school and as I had chosen dance for a GCSE, I finally had the opportunity to delve further into the world of contemporary. Following the session, my teacher told me about their youth company and it was amazing to see the opportunity right around the corner from my house. So, I auditioned for Chameleon Youth in 2021 and have been here ever since! I’ve done so many amazing things, and met so many lovely people through Chameleon Youth, and I even think I’ve improved as a person as well as improved in my dance skills. 

3) What led you to apply for the position of Young Board Member?
I’ve had an interest in the behind the scenes side of dance since taking GCSE Dance. We had to learn about finance, lighting, the legal side of things and that was really interesting to me, to see what it actually takes to make a production happen, and it really opened my eyes to how much work goes into a dance company. I really enjoyed taking an idea from nothing and putting things in place to make it happen.

I feel like the Young Board Member position allows my interests in both dance and business to align, and broaden my knowledge of the dance world beyond performance and being on stage.  I’m also a passionate advocate for young people and youth issues and I want to be able to represent young people as much as I can within the organisation to ensure that all voices are heard when steering the direction of the company.  

4) How might this role support your future ambitions?
Joining the Board at Company Chameleon is a really exciting opportunity. I can learn different aspects of how a dance company runs, and what needs to be in place to make sure everything runs smoothly. It’s such a great opportunity to learn from the other Board members who are already successful in the industry, and I plan to take the skills I learn with me into my future career. I’m not currently too sure on which specific career I’m working towards, but I really like working hands-on and at the moment I’m just trying to learn as much as I can about the industry to inform my next steps. 

5) What are you most looking forward to about joining the Board at Chameleon?
I’m excited to discover what Chameleon’s goals and future ambitions are and I’m interested to learn how the company plans to evolve over the next few years. I’ve always been passionate about speaking out, and have been part of student councils before, so I am excited to apply this learning to this opportunity and be given the chance to be that youth voice amongst industry leaders. I do feel like there are alot of youth opportunities around, but not always with a youth voice at its core. I’m so grateful to be Company Chameleon’s first ever young Board member and I’m excited to really advocate for my peers, and make sure we’re a valid and considered voice within the wider dance world.

Thank you Philip for talking to us. We look forward to working with you in the months ahead. 

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