Richard is a London-based Dancer. He’s a PEER at Studio Wayne McGregor, and recently interviewed MIA at the Southbank. Let’s meet him shall we?
Did you always know you wanted to go into Dance?
I actually got into dance because my mum used to take my sister to dance class. I then said to my mum, if my sister’s going, why can’t I?
I ended up randomly being picked up by the CATS scheme where I stayed from 14- 18. I then started at London Contemporary Dance School at The Place, for 3 years where I did my BA in Ballet and Contemporary. I went on a UK tour with the London Ballet company.
What do you like about contemporary dance?
It’s freer. You have choreography, you have structure, you have different techniques, just like ballet. However, it’s the choice of when to and when not to use them, that interests me. It’s more about you – the personality behind it and what you can bring, that’s not just your body. It’s more human.
The dance industry appears to be female dominated, how did you find entering this environment?
I think the imbalance of gender in the arts, in dance especially, is quite difficult for anybody really. I was always the only boy until I was 18. There can be a weird dynamic there – some boys think it’s a chance to prove themselves and be a bit more macho.
It’s difficult for the women in ballet. There is a pressure to be perfect all the time and fit a certain aesthetic – the idea of the ethereal female.
Do you find the same pressures affect men, like yourself?
No, I think that if I were to find myself in the position of going for those jobs I think that being a man would stand me in good stead, which is awful!
In terms of the aesthetic pressures, I have spent most of my life in front of a mirror, then I have sat at a desk! So, I think you’re terribly lucky if you’ve been in those circumstances and have a carefree attitude towards your self -image and your physique.
It’s clear you have a lot of things going on! You recently interviewed MIA at the Southbank, how did that come about?
I’ve always enjoyed being involved in other people’s creative outlets. I applied to become a youth ambassador at the Southbank, which is sort of a young producer’s scheme.
We’ve hosted a couple of IAMS – we’ve had I AM Artist, I AM Actor, I AM dancer with Julia Cheng from House of Absolute. These take place once a month and involve professional development talk, and chatting to the artists.
MIA is the curator of Meltdown Festival at The Southbank – she is an activist, a producer, a singer, a rapper, a director, she did visual arts as her degree, so she was the ideal person for us to interview!
How do you find being an emerging artist in London? What tools do you use to make your mark?
Well, living up to the cliché! It is who you know. But, I think to be sustainable you need to be switched on and know where you’re going.
“I think there’s a discourse between sustainability and spontaneity.”
It’s very difficult to not know where you’re going in a city that is so expensive!
I think if you’re an emerging artist in London you can’t sit back and wait for your career to take off, it’s not going to. It might not ever take off, so you might as well enjoy trying and you don’t know who you’re going to meet along the way or where you’re going to end up.
“It’s sometimes a mind-set of, I am going to be adaptable, and this is the only way I can do what I want to do. It will all be ok.”
What’s next in store for Richard?
I’m working on new work myself, it’s a duet and I’m hoping to premier it in September.
I’m also working on something called Frameless. It’s about interdisciplinary arts and actually giving them an audience. Our first event in September will be taking over a house in Dalston, and it will be showing different arts in each room, from music to installations.
Ready for some weird but wonderful questions?
Any weird habits??
I like eating ice cream in the bath!
The last dream you remember?
I used to have this weird recurring dream where it was just a clock ticking and it would get faster and faster and faster and then I’d just wake up. That used to really freak me out!
Your favourite song of the moment?
I love Sylvan Esso – Die Young
Your secret to Instagram stories!?
Don’t get what people want you to get, don’t get the food before people have eaten it – get it whilst their shoving it in their mouths! Make it real!
Where can we find you online?
Instagram: Richard Pye
Facebook: Ricard pye