Laura Murphy is a dance teacher, who graduated from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 2011, majoring in Dance Education. She supports the teaching of Yorkshire Dance’s young companies. She is 23 years old and lives in Harrogate.
Laura currently assists with Yorkshire Dance Seniors, an all-female youth-dance company aged 13-18 years whose members are drawn from Seacroft and Gipton. The company are performing at U:Dance Festival 2013 in Leeds this July, a national youth dance festival which brings the best companies from the UK together.
Laura started to dance when she was 3 and began with ballet classes that quickly took her into modern and tap dancing. Aged 14, she auditioned for the North Yorkshire County Youth Dance Company. The company rehearsed every Saturday and also toured. “It was more intense than anything I’d done before, and at that stage I realised I wanted to take dancing more seriously.”
After three years studying Dance Education at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, Laura was approached by Yorkshire Dance to assist with the Yorkshire Dance Youth Company. “Although I’d trained in Dance Education, I hadn’t had much teaching experience before this. Gail had led the company I’d grown up dancing with, and invited me to come and work with the teacher Danielle.”
“It was my first proper step into teaching and helped me gain a further understanding of how a dance class works. It was good watching Danielle teach, and I learnt a lot from watching the classes. They’re alot of fun; it’s also helped me make my mind up that teaching was what I wanted to do as a career.
“I love the energy that young people have and their ideas are really original and fresh. Working with them is really fun – you thrive on their enthusiasm. They’ve improved so much since last year. Some of them are considering a career in dancing, and others just enjoy the release it gives them – away from school – to do something creative and physical. It’s great to see those girls get so much out of it. Seeing them enjoy it and seeing how proud it makes their families makes me really happy.”
Laura was involved in Yorkshire Dance’s Just 30 project in 2012 to celebrate its 30th birthday with new work created by emerging professionals together with established choreographer and Yorkshire Dance Associate, Gary Clarke. “I’d seen Gary’s work at NSCD but I was the least experienced out of everyone involved and very nervous. It was really interesting and incredibly eye-opening. I worked with Nathan Geering, to teach the non-professional dancers who performed in the show. It was interesting working with a hip hop dancer who has a completely different dance style to me. My group were aged 6-30 years and I was amazed at how well the very youngest dancers picked it up – it was daunting for them but they handled it really well. I’ve learnt from the Just 30 project to have patience with the group, and believe that it will all come together, because it will, it’s a process.”
In line with Yorkshire Dance’s aims to support people into professional careers, Laura has been invited to mentor a youth dance company member towards auditions for college. “The staff put a lot of thought into supporting the people they work with, and it’s a great space for teaching, with a genuine community of professional and non-professional dancers. I don’t know of anywhere like it. Their ethos allows anyone of any age to develop their own style of expression. It’s really nice.”