The first Have You Met interview of 2017 is with choreographer, author and dance teacher Rosina Andrews. Find out more about how she is inspiring the next generation of dancers and where can purchase her book.
What’s your name, where do you come from and where do you live now?
My name is Rosina Andrews; I’m from a tiny village near Milton Keynes, but now I’m a Londoner! Finsbury Park, Stoke Newington that sort of area. Although in my heart and tattooed across my ribs, I’m a New Yorker; I lived there for a year, 98th and Westend Ave.
Tell us who you are and what you do?
I was a professional dancer and now I think I’m a teacher; some people say I’m an entrepreneur; some say I’m a choreographer and now I also have Author as a possible box to tick. It’s a tricky one, as all performers know…’so what do you do?’
So, What’s a typical day in the life of Rosina like?
A typical day in the life of me is hectic. I have one of those brains that likes to disappear off on tangents at any given course, I’m stubborn and enjoy proving people wrong so that always calls for some new idea! So, I don’t get up early, I’m from a theatrical family so we’re night owls, so 8.36am it is, then I glance at my emails…2 hours later I’m up and moving. (Unless of course I’m teaching, usually at the London colleges during the week and touring Masterclass’s at weekends, then obviously I do my emails on the bus!) I have a lot of emails; I artistic direct my mothers performing arts school and co-run the young performers agency that goes with that too…just to keep me busy…!
My main focus is my personal brand development- Rosinaandrews.co.uk has a lot of different projects. Recently when I was publishing my book I spent the rest of my days in coffee shops writing. My husband is a personal trainer so I try to get some Pilates or Spin classes in during the week so not to feel guilty that I had banana bread (see the question below! ) and then often finish the day with one of my private clients… that sounds a bit wrong? My private dance clients … that sounds even worse… dancers that I coach on a one-to-one basis!
Can you tell us something that you love about where you live?
I love the coffee shop opposite my house, Finks- their banana bread is on a whole new level. We’re also really lucky to have a little garden, which as a country bumpkin, is a little home from home. And London; I don’t love it, I hate it, but I do love it, even though I hate it, but I’m not ready to leave; we all know that feeling!
You recently released your first book Pirouette Surgery, firstly congratulations and secondly how was that? What exactly is Pirouette Surgery about?
Thankyou! Well, the book writing was a route I never thought I’d take, but it happened and I’m so glad that it did. My Pirouette Surgery® ideas came about when I returned from America and realised how lacking our technique teaching was in the UK, which then in turn reflects on the standard of theatre shows. Why can we just about do three pirouettes we when graduate full time college when kids aged eight in LA can do 22? But it’s not just about the turns, whilst the book is centered around the science of turning the objective is to enhance all teaching.
I started teaching here in a way that was different to what is accepted in UK dance school culture; and social media began to notice. Someone, and I can’t remember who, said ‘you should put your turning tips down in writing, write a book’! I decided to self publish which meant I was on my own time frame- if it didn’t happen, it didn’t matter. But, it launched in December and my first 1,000 books have shipped all over the world, as well as having 100 registered schools using my techniques in the UK, Thailand, Australia and Iceland! I’m a bit of a nerd, I went to a grammar school and love reading; my creative side doesn’t fit well with the intellectual and logical side that I have too, on those ‘Facebook’ personality quizzes. I’m a bit of an anomaly and I’ve made that work for me. A little girl once said I was like the Sherlock Holmes of dance technique problems…well, then the book was all part of the game, and the game is on!
You’ve spent a lot of time stateside studying dance, did this help inspire your book?
America did not just inspire my book, it has inspired my career. Everything I have ever achieved, I have New York and Broadway Dance Center to thank. (They also stock my book!) Whilst I may have had the tools given to me here in the U.K., I didn’t have the inspiration, drive or confidence. Until you move you cannot explain what the USA does for you- ‘concrete jungle, where dreams are made…’
Did you see a difference in dancers and dancer teachers in the USA? and if so how do they differ to that of the UK ?
My main observation in the difference of U.K. And American dancers is their knowledge of their body. Instead of being told to ‘lift up’ at the ballet barre, the correction would be; ‘connect the pubic bone to the naval, level the ASIS bones and soften the ribcage’. I learnt more about my body in 9 months of USA training than I ever knew before and because of that deeper biomechanical understanding the range of things you can safely do with your body is greater. I also love in the America the trend of going to class to learn and develop not just to get a job; there is a dance community and one that doesn’t just get together after getting cut from an audition.
What did 5 year old Rosina want to be?
I actually can’t remember :/ I guess when people asked I probably would have said ‘a dancer’ as that’s what my mum was. I have recollections of thinking I could become a Princess- blue blood line absent however, and when I was around 8 I wanted to be a Popstar! Hearsay were my idols, pure and simple.
Do you have any quotes you live by?
I’m not sure about quotes to live by; my dad always said ‘trust no-one’, from BDC I learnt ‘always to have a pen’ and then I read a book that told me to ‘think 20 years ahead and work backwards’. So perhaps ‘whilst trusting no-one think 20 years ahead and work backwards with a pen’
Where would you like to be in 5 years time?
I try not to set milestones; I’m currently enjoying the flow but in 5 years, I’ll be 31 so I guess I’ll have given in and Sam and I will have a dog, perhaps even a baby?! I’m working towards a US visa , not that I want to live there but as a trader, so I’m hoping that my book and method will continue to take me all over the world. Perhaps I’ll settle down and devote my time to one school or college; perhaps, I’ll give it all up and allow one of my students to take over, becoming stagnant worries me; perhaps, I’ll have written a series; or perhaps, I’ll still be doing exactly what I am now, which wouldn’t be so bad!
Do you have any advice for the modern day dancer?
I feel that mental health is the biggest problem with graduate dancers; I do have a project that I’m going to start working on to combat this next year.
It’s always said that graduating should feel like ‘starting all over again’ but that shouldn’t be the case with your personality and confidence! If you can head abroad, immerse yourself in a new culture, find you again. Oh and my advice to everyone, is find your niche, your micro niche and nestle, nestle hard. Versatility is great but in my controversial opinion, it’s the biggest reason people don’t succeed. I try not to use the phrase, ‘make it’ -Make what? Banana bread?!