t's probably true, that a creative person cannot and doesn't want to focus the attention on just one area of creativity. Dancer, photographer, designer, illustrator (see what we mean?) ALICE WILLIAMSON, the über creative woman behind DESIGNED BY ALICE is a case in point.
A graduate of Elmhurst Ballet School, Alice Williamson has danced with the Northern Ballet, the Royal Opera, the Hong Kong Ballet before she joined Staatsballett Berlin in 2012. Now living in London and a freelance dancer, Alice juggles a lot of creative balls. One of them is her own line of awesome and particularly special ballet skirts. Her skirts are handmade in London and you can twirl in polka dots, harlequins pattern or in gorgeous peach!
We spoke to Alice Williamson about what is the hardest part of dancing, her creativity (and she got lots of that!) and what dancing means to her.
Spectacle: Why did you become a dancer?
Alice Williamson: It wasn’t conscious choice, more of an absolutely unrelenting and unquestionable need to dance. I wanted to see how far I could reach. I wanted to be part of that magic that I saw on stage. To not try would be far too devastating a thought! I was also acutely aware that I only had one shot at the ballet dream (I started my professional training really late, I was 16) and so it sat first and foremost on my list of life priorities, everything else could come later.
S: Being a dancer means to be very disciplined. Lots of practice, you need to travel a lot and you have to be conscious of what you eat. What is the hardest part of being a dancer?
AW: The discipline was something I thought I probably needed (although my general enthusiasm usually means I am incredibly hard working, so practice was never something I begrudged!) I tried to train myself to order my thoughts, become more patient: those are traits that don’t come naturally to me, but I wanted to master them! Dancing is hard, incredibly hard, and sometimes it hurts in absolutely every way imaginable, in my head, it was a temporary, incredible and privileged journey/life lesson that I had been gifted and until the input didn’t justify the reward I was happy to make those sacrifices. I’ve always treated food in a balanced way, I learnt about what food would enhance my performance, but was never restrictive with myself. It’s the fuel that makes you fly and essentially a better dancer … it’s now I’ve left the ballet –company and stopped dancing such long hours that I have to be more disciplined and conscious! Ha!
S: You are much more than a dancer, how did you get started in illustration and designing fashion?
AW: I have always been just as interested ‘making’ as I am dancing, it sounds cheesy, but my soul needs to dance and my brain loves to create. I couldn’t live without either; they anchor and balance each out! I love the challenge of using my mind in all sorts of ways. I have done quite a bit of illustration, my dream is to write and illustrate a book, I hope that that may happen soon (ish!) The stage design is natural consequence of being a theatre mouse …who also has other skills.
I’d love to design for dance more: now that I am freelance, I theoretically could! It would be an exciting and interesting challenge!
S: Do you consider ballet a sport or an art form?
AW: An ART that can be enhanced by sporting knowledge and training. I see it as essentially a tool of communication, with bodies, movement. It shouldn’t be quantifiable, that defeats its purpose and it’s beauty.