HomedanceCarolyn Rose Ramsay

Carolyn Rose Ramsay

Artistic Director – Ballet d’Jèrri

What does a typical day look like for you? 

We are a startup, and a very small team, so it is all hands-on deck all the time.  I am sometimes in the studio leading rehearsals or training, often in meetings or at my desk in the office, and sometimes running around with our stage manager dealing with all the logistics surrounding events and performances.  It is hard work but at least we never get bored!  

How did you get your job? / What training, degree, education do you need? 

I was a professional dancer, which of course means I had many years of intense training in my youth.  After retiring (it is a short career!) I worked in aviation for a while managing privately owned aircraft.  I helped to start a jet management company at Stansted Airport, so that gave me a bit of experience with starting a new business.  When I moved to Jersey, I thought there was a bit of a gap in professional dance on the island–there are lots of places to take dance lessons but very little in terms of professional dance performances for audiences to enjoy–so we decided to start Ballet d’Jèrri.  

What are the most important skills needed for your role/job? 

There are skills required on the artistic side, the dance background of course and having been exposed to the work of many different choreographers and different styles of dance so that I can programme performances that will (hopefully) be not just enjoyable but also thought-provoking and perhaps even sometimes challenging for our audiences.  But I think overall the most important skill is the same in any sector: Tenacity.  If you believe in what you’re doing, you just must keep at it.  

Are there any future skills you will need to learn for your role? 

We are a registered charity, and we are aiming to keep our work accessible to everyone and break down the elitist connotations that dance companies have had in the past.  So, I will need to work on fundraising skills!  

What is the best part of your job? / What motivates you in this role?

The best part of my job is the connections between people.  Dancers are great at building communities; I think because we tend to be non-verbal communicators.  I love the camaraderie that develops, both within the company and with our colleagues around the world.  It is nice to see that spread to our audiences as well, both through performances and in the work, we do in schools and in the community.  And I love watching our dancers!  We have a talented team, and it is such a privilege that part of my job is watching them rehearse and grow as artists.  

What advice would you give someone interested in a career in your profession? 

Every day is a new day.  You might get a standing ovation one night and fall on stage in front of a thousand people the next.  Either way you need to come in the next morning and do your training as a fresh start.  It takes a lot of humility and vulnerability to keep recognising your weaknesses, and a lot of optimism to believe that you can overcome them!  

What would you tell your younger self? 

I would remind myself that each person’s journey is unique.  No matter how much you admire someone, just trying to be them will never allow you to fulfil your whole potential.  Before you can contribute something of real value you will have to find your own voice.  

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