The Monthly interviews dancer and choreographer, Suzannah McCreight – Part 3 – Developing a professional career

How does your professional career develop?

I had always hoped that I would perform, teach and I work as a choreographer. Things don’t always develop in a particular order, so the college I had trained at invited me to be a Graduate Assistant Lecturer. That meant I started teaching before I had had a performance career. I was teaching technique, and assisting in another area of the course, teaching Laban-based movement studies. I gained a lot of experience in that field. At the same time I began my MA studies.

What about performance?

After a while I got the chance to concentrate on my performance career; I was auditioning for dance companies for about a year, and I got a break at the Scottish Dance Theatre which is a full-time touring company based in Dundee. I performed with that company for a few years. After that I returned to London to complete my MA at Laban, focussing on Choreography. I was also doing project work with a number of companies as well.

Scottish Dance Theatre

Were you trying to develop your own work?

I was planning to create my own work since the start of my training, but especially after my MA, I presented work at the Resolution! platform, which has helped launch the careers of many choreographers and companies. That takes place during January and February each year in London. I presented work there twice, and then built towards a triple bill which I presented in Devon and Cornwall as my own company.

I found out that there was a lot of administration, a lot of paperwork. I didn’t enjoy that side of the work. It was so stressful that by the time I got into the studio, I had forgotten I was an artist. The shows went alright but the experience of producing a show kind of sapped the joy out of everything.

How do you respond to that situation?

I was offered a job as Rehearsal Director for Bare Bones – a repertory company in Birmingham. It meant putting on hold any dreams of establishing my own company. But I was happy to do that at the time. I think I was not ready to run a company.

It was a good job and exciting too, even though I wasn’t making my own work or dancing. I get a kick out of helping others dance well. Rehearsal direction is about trying to make the show as good as it can be and being there through the creative process too, effectively being an outside eye for the choreographers and the dancers. When the choreographers finished, it was my job to rehearse and tour the show, teaching company class and giving feedback to the dancers.

After that I worked as a freelancer and that coincided with my move to Northern Ireland in 2007. I did commissions for other companies like Maiden Voyage, Open Arts and Terra Nova productions. I also worked with other artists on collaborations and made work in pockets whilst juggling life as a mum of three children.

To see more of the work of Suzannah McCreight click on the following link –

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.