Since graduating from Northern Ballet School, Manchester (where she trained in Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Singing and Acting), Aison Eager has performed with several dance and musical theatre companies across the UK and Ireland. Alison has worked extensively as a dance model and professional dancer and singer. With performance opportunities somewhat limited this year, however, Alison has turned her talents to teaching and is quickly making her mark on the online teaching scene.
So Alison, tell us a bit about your background and dance and performance training?
I began dancing ballet at the age of 4 years old along with my two sisters. Ballet continued as a hobby until my early teenage years when I commenced vocational ballet training. I completed my professional dance training and teacher training at Inchicore College Dublin. Following this, I began auditioning at professional dance schools in the UK and accepted an offer of a scholarship to the Northern Ballet School. During my three years of professional dance training at the Northern Ballet School, I studied Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Commercial, Tap, Musical Theatre, Singing and Acting.
Has starting a dance school been on your radar for a while?
I always knew I loved teaching and had been teaching freelance for many years alongside my performing career. I loved the idea of owning my own dance school one day. This year has been so difficult for the performing arts. The time away from performing gave me the chance to really pursue my teaching even more though and to set up my own dance teaching business.
Could you tell us about how you're operating your classes during the lockdown and how your one-to-one sessions work?
With the current lockdown restrictions, I have decided to take my teaching completely online and I'm loving every minute. I love teaching my classes online as it gives me the potential to reach dancers all over the world from the safety and comfort of their own homes! I have students in India, America, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Japan, the UK and of course Ireland! My classes are taught via Zoom. I provide each client access to a private community group and monthly check-in with myself. As all of my clients have different levels of experience and ability as well as different goals and needs I tailor each one-to-one session specifically to each individual, giving a bespoke class experience.
Talk to me a bit about the assessment you do when starting with a new student?
When I first meet a new student I make sure to take the time to get to know as much about each other as possible before our first lesson. I usually have a consultation call with the student to prepare their bespoke class to their specific needs. I will learn all about their dance background, level of experience, their specific wants and goals they want to achieve in our classes. During the first class, I take the student through their tailored class that has been created based on this information.
The lessons will start with a joint mobilisation and core activating warmup. I then like to focus on the correct postural placement of the body, also looking at honing in on the technical basics of turnout and the ballet arm and leg positions. Next, we move onto a ballet barre section that works the legs and feet moving through a gradual increase of intensity with each exercise, looking at specific areas relating to the client’s goals. The centre practice will continue this building of intensity with for example the addition of maybe some jumps for some cardio and pirouettes for balance and strength. The class finishes with a relaxing cool down and stretch, gently limbering the body to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tension.
What’s the next thing you hope to achieve professionally?
With regards to my teaching business first. I really want to grow this community of dancers of all ages and ability levels, be it beginners or more advanced dancers, and to continue to bring dance to homes all over the world. Essentially I want dance to become more accessible, fun and less daunting to those who might have been nervous to start in the past! Within my performing career, I would really love to perform more musical theatre shows to push myself more as an all-round performer. I love to sing and act and feel I would really love to push myself towards more shows that would utilise these skills as well as challenging myself more as a dancer!
So just to finish up, I have a couple of quick-fire questions for you.
Can absolute beginners come to you for classes?
Yes! Absolutely! So many of my clients are total beginners and I welcome every level with open arms!
Do you do any pointework in your classes?
I do indeed do pointework in my sessions with more experienced dancers.
Do you have a favourite between teaching adults and kids classes?
I honestly don't as I love teaching all ages for different reasons.
And the real reason we're here at last! What’s our favourite So Danca product?
I love my So Danca products so much it is hard to choose just one. I really love my red lace overlay leotard, my white deep V neck leotard, and my vegan stretch canvas half shoes, I never teach without them. Obsessed!
Go and check out Alison's fabulous website now and get in touch with her to arrange your bespoke dance class. We promise you will be delighted you got in touch!