DJ has just completed a Diploma in Performance Making for adults with learning disabilities at Central School of Speech and Drama. He talks here about what makes him tick as a performer, and about the work that he makes now.
I always knew I was heading for a life in performance. I was dancing from age six – there was nothing that would stop me moving! It’s just in my nature. When I was younger, I don’t think I ever thought long-term about a career – it wasn’t about that. It was just that performance, dance, theatricality – it’s been part of my nature since I could walk.
I took some basic dance classes from an early age – contemporary, ballet, hip-hop. I think this gave me a great grounding in technique that’s stayed with me throughout my life so far, and I think this mix of styles still defines what I want to do. I’d love to do a mix of acting and dance, and to keep learning new styles and new techniques. I think this grows out of my constant desire to challenge myself, to figure out how far I can go and then push it further. I never like to be told that I can’t do something – I’ll always be willing to try stuff out, and I believe that with the right passion and energy you’d be surprised by what you can achieve.
There are a lot of great artists and companies out there that I respect or aspire to be like – Random Dance, Wayne McGregor, Matthew Bourne, Candoco. They’re all doing my sort of thing! And I think a big part of what I want to achieve through performance is to improve peoples’ understanding out there – I want to open people’s minds if I can.
I’ve already been working since graduating from the Performance Making Diploma for adults with learning disabilities at Central. This course was a great way to meet people and make connections, and I just loved being with other people who share a passion for performance, and who have a truly professional focus and experience. I’ve just finished a tour with Access All Areas Theatre of a show called Eye Queue Hear, and very soon I’ll be going north with Corali Dance Company to work on a show. These two companies are part of my family now. I’ll keep making work with them, and will always be on the lookout for other opportunities to take what I do out to the wider world.”
DJ is 29-years-old. He is a performer with William’s Syndrome who has just graduated with a diploma in Performance Making from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. He has worked with Access All Areas Theatre, Corali Dance Co, Spare Tyre and Candoco dance, performing at The National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, The Royal Concert Hall, Brighton, LABAN, Dalston Grove and The Royal Festival Hall.
Photo by Idil Sukan.