Interview | Rebecca Gladstone
Joining our Elite Masterclass Series teaching faculty in April is David Dawson repetiteur, Rebecca Gladstone. Her career highlights include working for the English National Ballet, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Dresden Semperoper Ballet, and she has also worked with the likes of William Forsythe, Nacho Duato, John Neumeier, Heinz Spoerli, Jiri Kylian and Sir Peter Wright.
What are your earliest memories of discovering dance?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t dancing around. From a young age I would watch old movie musicals with my mother and was so enchanted by the dancing and loved trying to imitate it. When The Red Shoes was on one evening, I really fell in love with ballet and knew I was hooked for life.
You’ve had an extensive career stemming from your days at the English National Ballet. What are some of your career milestones?
I can’t pinpoint any particular performance really. I have had many great times onstage and was very lucky to have the chance to perform in a wide range of classical and contemporary works. I remember that the first time I danced a principal role was a huge deal for me, but mostly the best moments I recall were in the studio with special people. Working with Jiri Kylian was absolutely incredible, and also with William Forsythe. These two greats, in particular, changed so many things for me regarding my approach and understanding of dance. Without a doubt, working with David Dawson in the studio as a dancer was amazing and I haven’t stopped learning from him.
Can you tell us about your time working as a repetiteur for David Dawson?
I absolutely love staging David’s work. I find his style and aesthetic so wonderful and beautiful, both to do and to watch. When I was a dancer at Semperoper Ballet in Dresden and he was the house choreographer, we developed a great rapport and I began to work with him and learn the job of assisting a choreographer long before I actually went out and did it. It was a great experience for me. Gradually, I began to stage some works for him and found it so fulfilling that I decided to do it full-time.
Now, every time I stage a work for him, I see dancers take up the challenge, grow, develop and become more accomplished through the process of learning and understanding his work. Especially when he works with them and takes them beyond what they imagined they were capable of. I feel incredibly lucky to do this work.
This will be the third consecutive year of our Elite Masterclass Series program, with many students travelling from all over Australia to participate. What are you most looking forward to about working with these aspiring students?
I can’t wait to meet the students and have the opportunity to work with them. Young dancers today impress me with the high level of technique that they are capable of at such a young age. What I most look forward to is discovering how they feel about dance and to try to bring out their ability to transmit artistry and emotion through that technique.
I also enjoy watching students develop their musicality and dynamic. Spending time in the studio with young dancers is wonderful. Exchanging ideas and seeing them grow in confidence and ability is very satisfying. I am sure to be as inspired by them and learn a great deal too. I am looking forward very much to meeting the students participating in the program.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were given as a young dancer?
To stay open minded and understand that you can learn from every experience. Find the good and discover what will work to help you develop through every ballet, style, class, teacher, coach, choreographer that you have the chance to work with. And write down your experiences. It’s great to look back over time and see how your ideas may change.
Elite Masterclass Series
14 – 16 April 2019