In the wide world of dance we often forget about the place where all the dancers come from to begin with. That is, the dance school. We feel sure there is a quote somewhere proclaiming that great artists are "born" or some such nonsense but in the real world they are trained.

We, here in TheLab™, spent a day in the company of the students of Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. One of the few centres in the UK dedicated to training professional contemporary dancers.

The school recently had a change of leadership with Janet Smith, former AD of Scottish Dance Theatre, taking charge.

When we visited the students were in the midst of a five week rehearsal period that consists of a morning class followed by a full day of rehearsals with a visiting choreographer. The works they created were recently performed at the student showcase in the Riley Theatre, the schools in-house performance venue.

From speaking to the students what we came away with was a large amount of optimism for the future. Despite the current malaise in the arts world and beyond about cuts to funding and the lack of jobs they were undaunted.

More cynical types might suggest that such resolve will soon be knocked out of them, especially after graduation but we think not. As we have said before, dance students set an example that many should follow.

They choose to follow the path least travelled and they take their chances in a profession that is as unforgiving as it is challenging both physically and mentally.

Filmed at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance on March 1st 2013.

[ School Website ]