As dance sensation STOMP arrives in the BGE Theatre this February, Waterford gal, amazing dancer and former teacher trainee Louise Durand tells us about her life on tour.
Where in Ireland did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Waterford – Up the Deise! It was only in March 2013 that I moved to the UK.
Do you miss home?
Of course I do. When I’m in London I’m not a million miles away from home and I’m lucky to be able to fly back and forth when I have time off – but there’s not a day I wouldn’t think I’d love a little hug off my mammy.
You moved to London to pursue a career in education – how did you end up on tour with Stomp?
When I moved to London I began doing supply work for an agency that would send me to different schools and work with different age groups. This was great because It meant I now have experience with both Primary and Secondary school education. After the Summer in 2013 I went back teaching and my flat mate at the time was telling me about open auditions for Stomp. I had seen the show in New York a few years previous and thought to myself there’s no way that I could be doing anything like that. However Cari, my housemate, was persistent and encouraged me to go along. She assured me it was a ‘fun workshop’ if nothing else.
A year or so later here I am travelling the world. The ‘fun workshop’ turned into a life changing event.
Have you always been into dance?
Sinead, a childhood friend, and I used to enter little local talent competitions when we were younger. I would mix the music on a cassette from the radio and she would transform the sitting room into our studio where we would dance away for hours. When we were about 16 a lady called Deirdre Dempsey opened a dance school in Waterford where we went to dance for the remainder of our teens. Dancing for me is a hobby, though I never thought of it as a career path, but everywhere I go I’m dancing.
What’s the best thing about life on tour?
I get to see the world. Travelling is a blessing. Seeing different places, meeting different people and experiencing different languages, food, cultures… the list goes on!
A personal enjoyment for me is the fact that we get to stay in beautiful hotels. Staying in a hotel when I was younger was like all your Christmases coming at once, and to this day that novelty has not worn off. Clean sheets, a sparkling bathroom with cool showers and bathtubs, a bathrobe and slippers to ponder around in, and let’s not forget the best part – breakfast served to you every morning. Happy days. More often than not there’s also a pool, sauna and steam room at my disposal! What more can one ask for?
And what’s the worst thing about life on tour?
I guess not seeing my family and friends – but that is what Skype is for. Gosh, what would we do without technology? I pray for good internet connections wherever we go!
Another is not being able to cook my own food. In many places there’s a great variety of food, but when the show finishes so late, often after 10, it can be difficult to get food. Or when you’re not a fan of pasta and pizza and you spend a month in Italy. That can be a tricky one.
What are your suitcase essentials?
My electrical stuff – laptop, kindle, adaptors, speakers etc. Hair products (I usually can’t get them abroad for this crazy mane of mine). Candles and incense to make my hotel rooms like home.
How do you prepare for every performance?
We have a twenty minute call where we perform group numbers for the show. Previous to that I will stretch and try and pre-hydrate before each show. Then its time to chalk up and grab a broom.
When you’re not dancing, what are you doing?
I just recently finished a level five diploma in nutrition. And I’m always writing poetry and in my diary, and reading.
Louise Durand will feature in STOMP when it runs to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 17-21 Feb, tickets on sale now for more info go to www.bordgáisenergytheatre.ie