Wednesday 24 Sep 2014
Lancashire-born – and bred – ballet boy, hoping to further his career from the show. If he's not dancing he's farming.
Alastair was born in March 1981 in Preston, Lancashire, the youngest of three boys. He entered the world of dance at a young age when he insisted on following his best childhood mate along to Saturday morning ballet classes.
At the age of 11 he was accepted into The Royal Ballet where he attended White Lodge in Richmond. He was assessed out after a year, but remains proud to have made it in at this early stage, as it proved wrong people who had doubted his ability as a dancer. He then went to on to train at Arts Ed School in Tring until he was 18.
After graduating he joined Adventures in Motion Pictures where he performed in Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake on a European, UK and West End tour.
He worked with the Scottish Ballet, Adonais, The Curve Foundation and The Royal Opera House. He travelled to Japan to work with K Ballet, created by Tetsuya Kumakawa.
His classical repertory includes Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, The Prodigal Son, Coppelia and Facade.
Most recently, he finished in the UK tour of Cabaret with Wayne Sleep, which he appeared in for a year-and-a-half.
What's your favourite song to dance to?
" I've listened to so much music over the years that I have a love of a lot of types of music. Recently, I'm listening to a lot of Muse and danced to Muse in my solo. I'm not such a fan of dance music though."
Your biggest dancing fear?
"It would have to be falling over, especially from a leap. The thing about leaping, in ballet, is that from the top of the jump you know if it's going wrong, you can feel it in your balance. It's scary, you can feel your heart stop for a second."
What is your best physical feature?
"The problem is, being a ballet dancer you're trained to be incredibly critical of yourself – you work extensively on all of your physical imperfections."
Worst habit as a dancer?
"My arms aren't aesthetically pleasing in lines, more often than not. But my arms and my hands, I'd say."
On-stage most embarrassing moment?
"Ha! I was once performing Tosca at the Royal Opera House and at the end of the play Tosca's lover gets shot. Well, I had to lead the march across the stage with 16 steps, stop, turn, raise our muskets and shoot Tosca's lover. I was fine up until the final show, which was broadcast live, when I only took 14 steps and threw the entire rest of the firing squad behind me off their steps. I just died!"
How you got into dance?
"Well, I started because my best mate as a child used to go off and do classes on a Saturday morning, and when I asked my mother she said he was going to ballet classes, and at that age – I was four, at the time – you just don't think about it, so I started going and that's where it all began."
Where did you train?
"When I was 11 I went to White Lodge for a year, then I went to Arts Ed up to the age of 18."
What is your favourite type of dance?
"Morris dancing, obviously! Joke – when you do ballet, it really has to be a love and a passion. I love watching the body poppers, it's fascinating and I could watch it all day, but to see something pure as a ballet dancer you can see the grace of it all, and when they take off they really fly. I find that beautiful."
What is it like working on a TV show?
"Everyone we're working here with is fantastic. Really amazing people. I'm feeling quite sad because I know it'll end, but I'll have amazing memories. I'm absolutely loving it."
Have you bonded with the other contestants?
"At the moment it's fine, everyone seems very supportive of one another. It'll be interesting to see how the group dynamics develop over the next few weeks as we put in the long hours."
Are the judges as scary as they seem?
"I think I'm my harshest judge – so I'm ready for anything they can throw at me."
What are your future plans?
"Well, I've never been to America, so that would be amazing – but it's not about the performance in America, it's about the opportunities that can come from being part of this show. I'm happy to be performing, whether it's in front of 10 people or a thousand people, and if this gives me an opportunity to do another show, I'll be happy, because I'm happy when I'm performing."
Why did you enter this competition?
"Because my girlfriend told me to!"
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