LSC Alumni Profile; André Francis
André graduated from London Studio Centre in 2014 after touring with our Jazz Dance Company. Since graduating he has gone on to have a wonderful career, currently performing as the Ribbon Boy in Wicked on the West End, working with other LSC alumni Hannah Toy and former Jazz Dance Company artistic director, Petra Siniawski; following performing for 3 years in Disney’s The Lion King in Hamburg Germany. André’s other credits include Ensemble (Cover Maurice) and Silks Artiste in Beauty and the Beast (Oxford Playhouse); Seaweed in Hairspray (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre); Featured Dancer, Singer and Dance Captain in Circus of Dreams (The Peacock Theatre); Vox Pops in Viva Forever (The Piccadilly Theatre)
As part of our Alumni Profiles André shared some words of advice
What is your Favourite memory from your time at LSC?
My favourite memory has to be our first contemporary class in Third Year as the 2013/2014 Jazz Dance Company; I had just that week returned from training at The Ailey School in New York. At the end of class my teacher Buddy calls me over and says to me "André it's clicked". Buddy is a man of few words, so this moment stands-out to me because I respected him as a teacher, an artist and a role model and he had noticed the growth I'd felt within myself.
Being taught by Denzil Bailey, Paul Liburd and Buddy Watkins during my time at LSC was inspiring. These 3 men of colour were more like me than any other members of staff and I just remember thinking: “If I can be half as successful as any of them, then I’ve achieved something great! Then it will be my turn to inspire the next generation, just like they inspired me!”.
How do you feel your time at LSC prepared you for your career?
I was blessed to have some truly great teachers and lecturers who REALLY knew their craft and helped prepare me. Jane Sanig made me fall in love with ballet; Alison Desbois made me fall in love with Matt Mattox Technique; alongside Denzil (Ballet) Paul and Buddy (Contemporary: Graham Technique) who I've already mentioned.
I also must not forget lecturers like Julia Gleich, Mark Harris, Josephine Leask and Lise Uytterhoeven; who all reminded me that along with my practical talents, I was also incredibly academic & theoretically talented and could really use these as transitional skills to support my practical work and thus, my career. It was a privilege to be taught by and in turn inspired by all of them and this further supported my decision to leave second year early and go to New York and train at the renowned Ailey School before returning to complete my third year in order to obtain my degree.
If you could give one piece of advice to our graduates what would it be?
Join EQUITY, think long term, stay in contact with contacts and do what makes you happy! (That's 4 pieces of advice but they are all equally important)
What's one piece of advice you would give to current LSC students?
Blind them with your "strengths" while you're working on the things which maybe aren't where you want them to be or aren't where they need to be - this also applies to graduates!