Apprentice Shante Liburd spills the beans about working with ACE

Shante LiburdShante Liburd is a student at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance. She has been working with ACE as an apprentice during the rehearsal process and the first leg of the tour. Here are her thoughts:

How I feel about being an apprentice in the first tour section?

“I really didn’t know what to expect, when I was preparing to come to ACE dance and music in July. I remember it still not having sunk it when I first arrived, up until my first day. Then after the first week, by the weekend I literally couldn’t physically move. My body had been taken to another level and place it had never been before, known as hard work. Even though my body was aching like crazy I knew I had made the right decision. Even though I had literally come straight out of training, I felt I wasn’t at my peak. I wanted more! I just wasn’t content with how I was, I wanted more training to push my self to another level and that’s exactly what I have been given.

The first part of the tour so far has been the hardest! The training was intense, the hours looonnggg!! And the level at which we had to work at was sky high. The transition from student to professional was difficult but I’m thankful I had the company members around me, motivating me to keep going and pushing. Especially them days when it felt like a really struggle and I felt rubbish, the other dancers were there for me. It was a great opportunity for me to also watch the other dancers and learn skills from them. Observing how they work, how they move and what qualities they have which I could apply to my palate.

Being an apprentice it has also showed me and allowed me to understand the requirements and expectations the company expects. It is so different to what you think they are. I think my university prepared me to an extent but being here I have learnt so much more, which I was never told.

It has helped not only build my physically but also mentally and my confidence as well. I hadn’t noticed this until I went back to Northern in December. But I am happy with my progress and how far I have come.

Two things I learnt mainly being here is to eat and sleep well, as in not to eat junk food, or fatty snacks! All it does is make me sleepy and sluggish, and lack of sleep makes it harder to push to the end. (Week one taught me this) secondly to live and enjoy every moment. Even the hard and horrible times or the fun and good times because time flies soo fast and things are constantly changing, and finally grab every opportunity and give it your all. I had to dive in head first when I arrived here, and have done ever since. Even though I feel like I’m drowning in actual fact I was floating. It’s been fun and great absolutely had a productive time.”


“The beginning of the tour was scary, even though I have performed numerous times before, I got the pre show jitters! especially because it was a new show/production. But I know the material and what I had to do so I knew there was nothing for me to panic about really. I definately felt each time I performed I was getting stronger and more confident, getting better and better each time. I noticed my stamina had improved loads too, compared to when I started. I couldn’t run down the street with out panting. But pushing myself through the rehearsal period had help me with this. The last performance in December was amazing, I finally began to understand who and what my role was within the piece. Which was a huge help as I was able to give and use the emotions required to help me exert the ‘Mana’ I was intending to portray. From all these performance experiences I learnt that each show is as precious and important as the next. To perform each time with no regrets! And to continue to push the boundaries.”

How do I feel about coming back?

“I was both anxious and nervous about returning to ACE, especially due to it just being the Christmas. I had been keeping on top of my training when we broke up for the festive season. But I know Gail is going to give us boot camp training when we come back fully…aarrggghh! Nevertheless I am looking forwards to getting back into shape and my goal is to push myself past the place I left here in Christmas. During the next tour I aim to continue to push myself physically and to enjoy every moment of being here and performing”

#yolo  Shante Liburd

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