James grew up in Newbury, Berkshire. After early training with Kylie Appleby and Sue Llewellyn, he went on to train at London Contemporary Dance School, graduating in 2010 with a first class honours degree. Whist at LCDS, James performed work by Aletta Collins, Merce Cunningham and Kerry Nicholls and received the Robert Cohan Award for most promising dance artist.
During his time at LCDS, James co-coordinated the third year touring company LC3 along with Tour Director Patricia Rianne and performed three different works at venues across London, including Laban and Richmix and in Verona, Italy. He also danced in external projects directed by Katie Green, Donald Hutera and in Darren Johnston’s Underdrome at the Roundhouse, London.
Upon graduation, James joined the cast of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake for an international tour, including a four week run at the New York City Centre.
He has also danced professionally for Yolande Yorke-Edgell (Yorke Dance Project), Rachael Mossom and with the Marc Brew Company in Fusional Fragments, a new work commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad, performing at The Jerwood Dance House, Ipswich and Royal Opera House.
In 2011, James rejoined the cast of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake for the new 3D film version of the show, filmed at Sadlers Wells Theatre, London and will appear in the 2012 film Anna Karenina staring Keira Knightley and Jude Law, directed by Joe Wright and choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
As a choreographer, James has created numerous works that have been performed throughout London and abroad to great acclaim, including performances in Verona, Italy; the VIII International Burgos-New York Competition, Spain; the opening of The Place’s 40th Anniversary Celebrations, London; and Buckingham Palace, for the Duke of York’s 50th Birthday. He has also been commissioned by The Place’s CAT Scheme to create a work on their alumni students. In 2009, James’ piece The Still Point won both Best Choreography and Best Performance at the London Contemporary Dance Competition. It then went on to become a semi-finalist in the Burgos-New York Competition in Spain.
Taste Water Again, James’ first professional work, was performed twice at Resolution! 2011 receiving a great response both critically and from the public. It has since been performed at venues around England and has been selected to represent the UK at Les Reperages Festival in 2012.
In August 2011, James was announced as the first winner of the inaugural New Adventures Choreographer Award, receiving in excess of £15,000 to create his own showcase, as well as being mentored by Matthew Bourne. The showcase performance was held at Sadler’s Wells on 7th September 2012 in front of a sold out audience.
James has been commissioned by Verve and Edge the postgraduate performance companies of Northern Contemporary Dance School and The Place respectively. He has also staged work on and been commissioned by Scottish Ballet, as well as the National Ballet of Chile and the National Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore.
Before joining LCDS, James was a member of many successful youth dance companies, including FuzzyLogic and Berkshire Youth Dance Company which he co-led when the company lost its funding and became youth led. He performed with both BYDC and FuzzyLogic at the National Youth Dance Festival 2007 and his piece Interlinking Lives was performed by BYDC at the National Youth Dance Festival 2008.
In 2007 Youth Dance England invited James to become an ambassador for the organisation and under this role gave a solo performance at the Houses of Parliament. His association with Youth Dance England has continued since, becoming an official National Young Dance Ambassador in 2009.
James is also interested in teaching and has assisted on the CAT Scheme at The Place as well as led workshops as part of LC3 and independently. He is also the example dancer for the current GCSE Set Study ‘Find it’.