Meet Iona Waite, TEN Company Dancer

Iona Waite

Where are you from and what is your professional background?

I am from Birmingham. I studied Performing Arts at Solihull College, Foundation Course at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and gained a degree in Dance and Professional Practice at University of Wolverhampton.

When did you know, you wanted to dance professionally? What drew you to dance?

I was always very active from a young age and was full of energy and always loved dancing. At the age of 9, I joined a street dance class at my local community centre and a year later was invited to join ACE Youth. Throughout my time in ACE Youth my talent was nurtured and developed and my eyes were opened to the professional capabilities.

What made you want to work with ACE dance and music?

In 2011 I was fortunate to receive a grant from the BBC Performing Arts Fund to become a Dance Fellow (apprentice) with the company. My fellowship placement at ACE dance and music gave me an all-round experience – not just developing my dance skills. As a result of my placement I was provided with an understanding of all the elements that make a dance company, such as administration, marketing and press, education and outreach, finance and budgeting, and leadership. Thus my eyes were opened to the many career paths open to me within the dance sector and I was able to gain skills in all these diverse areas to equip me and transform me into a more rounded and mature dancer going forward.

During TEN tour, which performance has been your favourite and why?

I think my favourite performance so far has been Lichfield Garrick… Many of the young people from ACE Youth and Great Barr Academy watched the show and were blown away I felt proud that we were able to inspire the next generation.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Yes, I always take a moment by myself to reflect and meditate.

What are the key things to remember whilst performing?

Go full out, connect with the audience, work as a team and ENJOY!

What is it like to be in a professional company?

A rollercoaster of highs and lows but VERY rewarding and a life changing experience.

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers who are beginning their journey?

Push yourself, don’t become complacent, your body is your instrument so look after it, be open and receptive to new ideas and challenges, the skies are the limit!