We’d like to introduce you to Emily Dowson Cave. We met her for tea at the edgy Foundation Coffee House in NQ to hear her story. We think she’s truly marvelous, and her dance heritage is too good not to feature on our blog! Keep reading to find out why...
Emily is the daughter of two famous ballet dancers Fiona Chadwick and Antony Dowson of the Royal Ballet. She was born into ballet and continued her family’s dance heritage through a slightly different route to her parents...So let’s start from the bottom and let you learn Emily’s story through the interview:
When did you start learning to dance?
Emily: I started dance pretty much as soon as I could walk, probably around age 2. Both my parents were well known dancers at The Royal Ballet, so I always used to go watch them perform in the Opera House. I went to Arts Ed Tring Performing Arts School and we did half days of ballet and school work there. My dad actually now teaches there! I joined the Royal Ballet Associates at age 9-11. I’ve always loved ballet, but enjoyed contemporary and lyrical dancing more than just straight ballet.
Can you tell us more about Antony Dowson?
Well my dad graduated into The Royal Ballet in 1976. He became Principal in 1984 and danced for years there, he’s very inspiring. He then taught at English National Ballet School for years and was eventually made the Head of Dance in 2005. They actually made him Ballet Master of the English National Ballet Company in 2007. Dad’s done loads of dance stuff and is now teaching in the Dance Department at Tring.
What is Fiona Chadwick’s dance career like?
I’ve always looked up to my mum as a dancer and was obsessed with trying her costumes or just watching her perform. My mum Fiona was also a Principal dancer at The Royal Ballet and appointed in 1984 like my dad, but my parents never really danced together as partners in productions. My mum actually created the role of The Queen in Bourne’s Swan Lake, which she performed on the West End and in the film. She was head of Dance at The Royal Ballet junior school for years and dance is still a big part of her life, whether it’s teaching or having tea with her best friend Darcey Bussell!
If you were born into ballet, why did you stop?
I stopped pursuing a career in ballet when I realised I probably wouldn’t make it big like my parents did. I loved performing so that’s why I started my training at Millennium performing arts college from when I was 16. After finishing there at 18, I actually had a complete break from dance until I was 23. I focused on yoga and fitness more than anything. That’s when I discovered Tracey Anderson’s barre workout videos and became obsessed. I was so inspired by Tracey that I wanted to become an instructor for her, but she was based in America so they weren’t branching out to the UK yet.
Why did you become a Barrecore instructor?
I moved to Manchester and found a renewed love for dance, so Barrecore felt like the next natural step for me after Tracey Anderson’s workouts. I went to try a class for the first time and it absolutely killed me, but I got such a buzz! I thought I’d be really good at it because of my ballet training but it just proves how intense the classes can be. Sarah from Barrecore welcomed me to train to become an instructor in London, and I then taught Barrecore Signature in Alderley Edge. I was doing 7-8 classes per week and absolutely loved the fusion of ballet and fitness.
Why did you start doing more fitness classes?
I was quite naive when I was a young ballerina and used to think that supplementary training was unnecessary because of the frequency and intensity of dance classes. But Simone de la Rue and I crossed paths when I worked at Sweaty Betty. I did her BBS (body by Simone) training programme in London and then started teaching it. It’s kind of pilates and dance inspired fitness. I also recently worked on my Level 2 and 3 PT qualifications just so I had even more professionalism behind me.. I’m not really about the gym life!
What made you want to be a yoga instructor?
I’m always looking for a challenge, and after I’d taught Barrecore I started doing yoga a lot more. I then realised that I wanted to become an instructor. I teach now around Manchester and do lots of corporate classes where we push all the office furniture back and work on our asanas before the daily grind!
What’s your favourite type of yoga?
My favourite yoga style is SUP yoga. I mostly teach vinyasa and ashtanga yoga. I think ashtanga is really good for strengthening your muscles and core, but vinyasa is perfect for creative dancers who like to improvise.
What yoga pose do you love the most?
Definitely dancer’s pose! I just love the journey I’ve had with that pose as I couldn’t do it at first and now it feels so natural. I think building up my smaller muscles through yoga helped to strengthen my core for dance and especially dancer’s pose.
How do you go from ballet to bars?
I found a love of corporate events as opposed to professional shows when I met my best friend Carly, who was working on reception at the Barrecore studio at the time. Our dance backgrounds just drew us together because we obviously had similar interests. I wasn’t dancing much at the time, but Carly had a weekend show at Alberts Schloss that she hired me to dance in. After that I was absolutely hooked on corporate dance shows!
Emily Dowson Cave swapping one ballerina barre for this bar!
This is where we found Emily! She then moved away from classical dance and swayed more toward a mix of dance styles like pointe en bar (swapping the barre for the bar!), fire, and stilts.
(left) Carmina Entertainment stilts performance
Did you enjoy your first corporate show?
I absolutely loved it! It gave me a real taste of this new side of dance I hadn’t really been part of myself before, and I really enjoy the nightlife. I loved it so much that Carly and I in fact created Carmina Entertainment, our self-made dance company! We do corporate events every weekend now, but we get hired out at any time really. We have our own team of very talented dancers.
What style of dance do you do now?
Oh we cover loads of styles, whatever a client asks for really! We’re all properly trained dancers so find it easier to switch between dance styles. I do a lot of ballet dancing, like playing the part of a Toy Box ballerina, so I’m never too far from my original ballerina roots. I get to wear glittery pointe shoes now though! We also have a big fan base for samba dancing...it’s so fun to wear the elaborate costumes. I think the one that people are always most interested in is our fire acts. We get booked up for loads of performances where we literally eat fire! I used to be totally not confident working with fire, but I’ve learnt that confidence is key and hesitation can cause accidents.
Have you seen Emily’s costumes? They’re stunning and intricate and help her transform each night into her dance character.
What pointe shoes do you wear, and why?
I’ve always worn Bloch because I’ve got fairly wide feet. I buy Bloch Serenades from you guys, and I love them because they’re flexible and stay on my heel better than others.
Who choreographs the performances?
Both Carly and I choreography for the shows. When I do it, I always start with the piece of music first and split it into the different beats and tempo changes before thinking of the moves. I have my parents to thank for how naturally choreography comes to me. My dad encouraged my love of choreography, and my mum taught me how to read classical music as a child. I could actually count music at age 4!
You can follow @Emily__Cave on Instagram to keep up with her dance adventures, or why not follow @carminaents to see all their cool shows?!