Arts University Bournemouth’s BA (Hons) Dance course celebrated its first graduating cohort this year and what a successful year it was

Local graduates’ Lawrence James and Holly Burridge both grew up in the area, and both graduated with first-class honours. Both engaged with local industry throughout their studies and plan to stay nearby as they embark upon their careers as Dance Artists.

We spoke to them to find out a little more about their time at AUB, how their final dance projects went and plans for the future…

What made you decide to study Dance at AUB?

Lawrence: I had previously taken a foundation degree at Bournemouth and Poole college. I studied for two years and then I took a four-year gap, undertaking an apprenticeship with a company in London gaining valuable industry experience. We toured as well, which was really exciting. From that, I then went on to teach dance locally in Bournemouth and Poole. I taught a couple of ballroom and Latin dance classes at Bournemouth’s Pavilion Dance each week, as well as offering private lessons. I then decided that I’d like to teach full-time, which is why I looked into Dance as a course to study at AUB in order to gain a full degree – it was the right time and I’ve loved every minute of it.

It must have been quite different for you as the student instead of the teacher, Lawrence?

Lawrence: It’s been quite nice actually, every morning I came in to have a class, just dancing for myself and enjoying it, without having to think about all the planning! Also, having a number of different lecturers bringing different experiences to each class, different types of dance techniques and qualities. It’s also good to have a go at different projects that I may not have explored. It helped to inspire me and I had the chance to think more about what type of dance teaching I would like to go on to do.

Congratulations to you both on gaining first-class honours, that’s fantastic!

Holly: Thank you, it’s all been a bit surreal. The course has gone by so fast and I can’t believe that I’ve actually done it. It was all a bit crazy. I was helping out at the Grad Show with my friend Hannah, and I was really nervous before-hand about getting our results. Jane, our Course Leader came in and I was like, “Nope, I’m not looking at them” – It was my 21st birthday the next day, so it was either going to be a really good birthday present or just not at all.

Anyway, it hit 12pm and Hannah opened her results straight away and did amazingly well! Hannah and Jane then looked at me and exclaimed, “OPEN THEM!!” So, I did. The whole time I was getting them up on my phone, thinking ‘AHHH’! When I eventually saw my grade, I was in shock. I looked at Jane with my hands over my mouth, before saying: “Are you sure?” I never for once thought I’d be capable of achieving a first-class honours degree. I’ve never been the academic type, so this is just beyond amazing.

Can you tell us a bit about your final project, Holly?

Holly: During my final year I ‘Event Managed’ a new dance event, ‘Springboard’ as part of my negotiated project at Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth town centre. ‘Springboard’ was curated by a group of third years, who were involved in both the creation of the event and in teaching local students from Bournemouth and Poole college and pupils from The Bourne Academy. The aim was for the students to showcase their performances at the ‘Springboard event.’ Event management was extremely fun and one of the biggest eye-openers for me as to how much I have learnt and developed whilst being at AUB. ‘Springboard’ was an excellent opportunity to take the lead and experience the planning and running of an event. Through the project, I hope I inspired those who are considering exploring dance further.