Born: Lincolnshire, England
Trained: the Royal Ballet School (Leeds Junior Associate), before moving onto both the Lower and Upper Royal Ballet Schools.
Other companies: Ballet de L'Opera National du Rhin
Awards: 3rd prize at the Young British Dancer of the Year 2006 and two choreographic awards
Joined Scottish Ballet: July 2010, promoted to Soloist in 2014, Principal in December 2017.
When did you start dancing?
I started going to dance classes when I was two years old, both my sisters went to the classes so it was a natural involvement. My grandma was a contortionist and tight rope walker in the circus so maybe performing is in my blood.
Do you remember a moment when you decided you wanted to be a professional dancer?
I'm a huge fan of the old musical movies especially those by MGM Studios. Movies starring Gene Kelly such as Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris and Anchor's Aweigh are a few of my favourites. From this it was evident I had a passion for dance but my attention and focus turned to ballet when I saw the Royal Ballet perform Onegin. It was breathtaking and after years of watching these American musical movies on VHS, I was blown away by live theatre.
Describe something about your dancing that has changed since joining Scottish Ballet. What caused this change?
I was trained classically in the Royal Ballet School system and upon graduation I joined a more contemporary dance company, Ballet du Rhin. I went from classical to neo-classical and contemporary very quickly and it was difficult to switch from one style to the other consistently. Since joining Scottish Ballet this has been one of my strongest improvements. Christopher Hampson has brought in a multitude of commissions to the Company's repertoire and I have had a strong involvement in almost all of them. I count myself very lucky with that and over the years, Scottish Ballet has taught me how to switch from one style to the other in a quick and precise manner. I believe in today's performing world this is a key attribute as there are only so many days in the week for us to put together our programmes.
What’s your pre-show ritual?
Mentally, time is my best friend before a show. We have a lot to do and I don't like trying to fit it all into a short space of time. I will eat lightly, have a coffee, listen to music and speak to my wife. Then it's onto hair, makeup and warming up at which point I will often head to the stage to try anything out that might have been bothering me in rehearsals.
Are there any dancers or artists that inspire you?
As a student there were a few dancers who really inspired me but as a professional dancer my inspiration comes from choreographers. Great choreography really inspires me in the studio and nudges my creative senses. I love performing a variation of choreographic styles.
There is one artist that has been a continuous inspiration throughout my life and that is Gene Kelly. Trained classically, he could dance, sing, act, choreograph, direct and his wife spoke to me about his passion for poetry, languages, culture and writing.
How would describe your personality in the studio?
I'm critically very hard on myself, focused and like to communicate however I do enjoy having a little joke around sometimes.