Beth Powlesland

 Alumni profile 

Course studied: BA (Hons) Dance Studies
Graduating year: 2007

Based in Wales, Beth is a freelance performer and dance-maker with a passion for performance in unusual settings. Company dancer with Earthfall for seven years, she has also worked with Tilted Productions, Theatr Iolo, Jo Fong, National Theatre Wales, alongside many independent directors. She was a Dance Shorts commissioned artist in 2014. She runs Kapow with Eithne Kane, involving physical storytelling, creative play and sharing through performance, teaching and choreographic residencies.

"The tutors are supportive and challenge you to become the best you can be."

Beth's Bath Spa story

During my time at Bath Spa, I felt like I'd come home. I had discovered a discipline that not only has connections to so many others, but one that I felt understood in. The tutors were supportive and challenging in the right measures, and I felt encouraged to explore, question and try to find my individuality.

I also honesty feel that I was too young to fully appreciate all that was being given at the time. However, since I've finished, I've discovered the application of the learning I received and through the profession have continued to find my way in the industry. I have loved coming back to the University to teach because I want to give students something I'd have found useful, or something from my own experiences since training, in the hope of giving them knowledge they can apply in their futures.

Since leaving I've been performing as a member in various companies, freelancing for many independent choreographers/directors, and making my own work alongside it all. I began by going to workshops and auditions. Then as I was offered work, I got to know the landscape and people I might want to collaborate with and it continued from there.

"My advice for current students is..."

Don't give up if you get rejected. It can take time and many a rejection before you get a job. Also, try not to take it personally. So much of being a performer can feel so personal because it's connected to who you feel you are as a person, but I would say that Dance is not all you are, and that is a really useful thing to remember.

Go to workshops, be interested, get carried away, take a break, come back refreshed. To rest is not a failure

If you want to make work, go for it. You'll learn as you go; make mistakes; do it again and again.

Ask people for advice. Tell people when you think what they are doing is good and inspiring. Support one another.

Also, remember the wise words of Jonathon Burrows: 'It's only a stupid dance." I don't think this undermines what we do, it just lets us be light about it and that's important. It's easy to get heavy with these things.

"The best thing about the course I studied was..."

I loved Improvisation, Contact Improvisation and Physical Theatre Studies. They are the subjects that I connected with the most. I also loved the lectures on Gender, Phenomenology and 'The Lived Experience'. Also the people I met and have remained close to - both tutors and peers. And the campus - it's beautiful!

"I recommend Bath Spa because..."

The campus is a place you can really think - away from the city - and a focused place to learn.

The tutors are supportive and challenge you to become the best you can be. You get a sense of the variety involved in the subject and how it connects to all sorts of others: Philosophy, Science, Nutrition, Art, Theatre, Writing, Live Art, Performance Art, Music, Film and Education, amongst others.

I think they take people they see have potential, and are creative, and the course builds in intensity which I felt was helpful for me.

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