Hannah in 2009
Dance has always been what I have loved to do.
I started ballet at age six; my mum told me that I used to always dress up in princess dresses and dance around like a fairy. I remember dancing around at home one day and my mum asked me “Would you like to do ballet?” Since Hallsville School of Ballet (now MyBallet Academy) at the time was only just opening, my mum thought that it would be a good idea to start ballet to also fix my ‘bad’ posture. At first, I was a little weary but then in a blink of an eye I was with my mum in the car travelling to my first primary class with Ms Lydie. I looked out the car window reconsidering whether it was a good idea or if I would like it or not. And I’m glad I went…
I participated in my first ever performance at The Hub in 2009 when I was only 7 years old. The atmosphere was buzzing, and I was super excited. Although I was a little shy, I gave it a go. I remember standing in “the wings” and hearing a loud round of applause after I had finished my dance alongside with another girl in my class. I then received a certificate for taking part in my first ever show which I still have and treasure till this day.
At age 8 I was introduced to London Children’s Ballet and I went to their summer school to learnt about performance and acting whilst dancing.
So, the following year at age 9 I went to audition. This was my first ever experience at an audition and I was calm on the outside but extremely terrified and anxious on the inside. Walking in I received a number, which was pinned to my leotard front and back; I felt a little reassured when I went in as I saw one of my friends in the warmup studio. The first round was based on technique where you would’ve been recalled if the panel of judges wanted you to go through to the next round of auditions. I remember standing amongst many other 9 years olds in the same room hoping that our number would be called out. Relieved, my number was called out and I did the second audition that day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get through to the main performance company but that didn’t stop me. Year after year I was determined to get in and the next year after my first audition, I got through to the second touring company which did a small-scale version of the show and toured it around to old care homes and disability schools. It was wonderful to learn so much about performing to an audience and acting out a story whilst dancing. I did the touring company twice for The Secret Garden and Nanny Mcphee; seeing elderly people so happy and excited for our performance definitely made me see the pleasures and benefits of dancing.
Finally, after much determination at age 13 I got through to the main company.
London Children's Ballet
Dancing on a stage at the Peacock Theatre in the West end was a wonderful time in 2016 performing the story of Little Lord Fauntleroy. The rush of adrenalin backstage in the “real” stage wings before going out for my dance was exhilarating. To imagine that at 7 I was standing in “the wings” to perform to a small group of local people and a few years later to a large-scale production and standing backstage in the “real” wings to perform to up to 1000 people at 13 was unbelievable! The journey of the lead up of rehearsals to the performance was something I would love to continue doing for the rest of my life.
At age 10 I started learning contemporary dance,
this was where my love for contemporary dance grew. Being taught by Ms Gemma then Ms Catherine. I learnt to do the opposite of everything I had been taught in ballet, whilst still implementing some aspects of ballet into it. I remember finding it difficult to relax and totally let myself feel comfortable with the movement, but that difficulty soon disappeared. Contemporary dance taught me to be creative and truly explore the art of dance in a different style other than ballet.
As years went by, I continued with ballet and proceeded through the Grades. With each Grade Exam I would be excited and nervous to show the examiner what I had been preparing for months prior. Naturally, with each exam I became more prepared and always wanting to achieve higher than the last time.
One of my greatest achievements after completing Grades 1-8 and Intermediate was getting 95% in my Grade 8 exam which I had prepared for in less than a year, as well as training intensively during the summer holidays of 2017 to practice and gain strength in pointe work.
In 2016 I danced the role of Harry Potter in a production choreographed by Ms Lydie.
(Since that was the main character, I had to be able to adapt and act in a way the character would; I had to BE Harry Potter.) Being the main character, I had a lot on my shoulders; to be able to carry the show and tell the story to the audience using acting (facial expressions and body language) and dancing. I learnt to be more of a leader and help guide everyone in the show to make it the best it could be.
Hannah in 2015
Hannah in Madhead with the NYDC in 2019
Photo courtesy of NYDC.
In March 2017 I performed at Live at Laban Trinity Laban
which was when I first became involved with Trinity Laban. It was a project which involved collaborating with musicians. However, during this project I came over an obstacle, a challenge; one that I didn’t know I needed till that point in my life. Previous to this, my dancing was very technical, and I hadn’t taught myself to improvise very much. The choreographer had set us all a task to improvise to some music. We all stood in a circle and one by one we were called into the centre and challenged to dance however we wanted to. “Hannah, your go!” I was called out. My heart was racing faster than it had ever been before, my palms became damp with sweat but in a split second I told myself “what could possibly go wrong?” So with uncertainty I walked towards the centre of the circle and let myself go. One thing I learnt from this was to push myself and step out of my comfort zone, even if it meant that I had to do something I didn’t want to do.
In March 2018 for the second time I danced in live at Trinity Laban which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Hallsville School of Ballet has been a core part of my dance journey/experience. Being there for 8 years made me the dancer I am today. To continue improving to be the best dancer I could be, I began to take the corrections and tips given to other students in my class as well as my own. That way I was able to think of multiple things to work on whilst dancing and made me improve faster.
At this moment I am dancing at Trinity Laban in their Centre for Advanced Training Programme and after a few years I hope to audition for companies such as Rambert, Wayne McGregor and tour the world.
Hannah JOSEPH 25/12/2017
Hiii, I have some amazing news!!
But you must not tell anybody as they have told me not to until September press conference. I got a call today from someone from Matthew Bourne’s New production…. And they’ve said that I’M IN!! So I’ll be doing intensives in August, and performing next year in Sadlers Wells for 2 weeks. Unbelievably they said that I was incredibly good especially since I am so young, and they’ve mentioned me multiple times as “the girl 151” which was my number at the audition. I am soooo happy!! And you’re the first person to know apart from my family.
Hannah JOSEPH 03/07/18
As I post this story, Hannah has performed with the National Youth Dance Company in Madhead and has done her last performance in Matthew Bourne’s world premier of Romeo + Juliet at Saddler’s Wells.
MyBallet Academy’s students went to watch and support her yesterday, and we wish her a long and fruitful carrier in dance. The best rewards a teacher can hope for…
Tell us what impact dance had/has in your life, your journey and what you gain from practicing/watching dance. We’d love to hear your story 😊
Ms Lydie 01/09/2019