A series highlighting different ways in which people can join our BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance programme.
Here we speak to first-year Laura Gagliardi about her journey from professional volleyball and a biology degree to studying dance at Trinity Laban.
Can you tell about your journey to studying at Trinity Laban/studying contemporary dance?
Both my parents are dancers and I started studying contemporary dance at the age of 15. I’d spent seven years playing professional level volleyball but it was very competitive and athletic and required a lot of time. I was just starting my high school and was very busy so I didn’t want to commit so much to sport but I wanted to continuing doing something physical.
I have a passion for the natural world and wanted to explore more so chose to do a BA in biology. When I started at university in Ferrara, Italy I continued to study contemporary dance alongside my course. Then I did an Erasmus year in Spain to study marine biology and genetics and met a choreographer and teacher who asked me to dance in his company, but I wanted to conclude my bachelors first. I finished my BA and was going to start my masters in biology and realised I couldn’t do it, that I should dance. I knew if I didn’t try I would regret it.
Why did you choose Trinity Laban?
I decided to come to a dedicated, specialist educational institution because you’re in 5-8 hours a day, you are focused. You have your own place, your origin of training. I asked friends where was good to study dance and one of them had studied at Trinity Laban and she recommended it – and she wasn’t the only one.
What has your experience been of Trinity Laban so far?
I’m really happy. The programme and the teachers are incredible, and the quality of the teaching is very good. A lot of people spoke to me so highly of Trinity Laban and it hasn’t disappointed. And being in London while studying is wonderful. Every week you can go to shows, galleries, take advantage of free entry to museums! I have just shifted from biology to dance so I’m just starting to understand why I’m here and what this study can bring me. I’m really open.
How do you feel your previous experience influences your current study?
I think we all have to pass through some experiences before being a dancer or choreographer. On the one hand I think it’s a positive thing that I have done a degree before because I have some knowledge and can apply that to my practise, particularly studying nutrition, and physical awareness and development…etc. I’ve noticed that it’s useful to know biology and to know your body when it comes to dance. If you want to work with your body you have to know how it works. On the other hand, obviously I’m older than some of my peers and I’m not as trained as others who have trained in dance for longer. But my previous studies also influence me particularly when we do choreography because it’s my interest to put together biology with dance in a conceptual way.
Do you have any advice for others who might be thinking of a change in study and what advice would you give to yourself looking back at your changing path?
If they feel this desire, this impulse to dance and study dance they have to do it. Dance is intrinsic to human experience. From our first time in this world we start to dance. All cultures have dance in some form. If you come from another history and decide to dance you have to have this sense of commitment, hard work, and belief in what you are doing. And keep studying other things – life experiences influence dance.