By Lindsay Smith
Last time Laura Dazon spoke to us about the ways you can secure a golden ticket through the back door and become an extra! This time, we speak to 20 year old Kiera Robinson, a dancer at Rubicon Dance theatre, on her experiences of performing in the Netflix’s Sex Education chaotic Romeo & Juliet play in the season finale of season 2.
Can you tell us a bit about what made you want to start dancing and where did you start?
Dancing started at a very young age thanks to my Grandma! She wanted us to do something on the weekends together and dancing runs in my family, so naturally, she took me to my first ever ballet lesson. Ballet quickly became my favourite style of dance. I just loved how graceful and elegant it was. My grandmother and I would often watch ballets together; my favourite ballerina was Darcey Bussell. She was one of my inspirations.
After sixth form, I was stuck at a crossroad about what I wanted to do in my future, but luckily a friend recommended Rubicon Dance theatre and it changed my whole outlook on dance. I had taken a year out previously, but Rubicon gave my passion and drive for dance back. I’ve finished my second year and Rubicon has trained me to be the dancer I am today. I am so lucky that I was able to pursue my love for ballet at Rubicon.
Do you need to have any prior experience of dance before you start taking lessons at Rubicon?
Having a passion for dance is all you need to start lessons, I don’t think you need anything else!
That’s why I love Rubicon so much. If you love dance, you can attend. The theatre caters for all types of dancers of all ages, from baby to adult classes, disabled classes for children and adults and performance groups. We are just one big community who support one another.
Every single staff member is amazing! From my teachers Paul, Janet and Sian who have changed me as a person completely they were the best teachers I could ask for! Adam (the centre co-ordinator) is also amazing. He never fails to make me laugh.
Tell me about how you got into the show!
Kathryn Williams, director at Rubicon, told us about the show. We didn’t have to audition anywhere. I sent off my headshot and told them I was available for the filming days. We were all so grateful that Kathryn had given us this opportunity. She works so hard to give us the best opportunities and to get us out there.
I’d never filmed for a well-known TV show before, so it was something that I really wanted to get into and was excited about it. Before I was on Sex Education, I was already a really big fan! It is a really funny series that also spoke about real issues. It was definitely good for me to experience what I could be doing in my future if I’m fortunate enough. I had a chance to be on a very well-known series and I am thankful that I was able to do it. Not only was it the best thing I’ve done so far, but it was always one of the best experiences that I had because I got to share it with other dancer at Rubicon. It helped me to really know what I wanted to do.
So, what was it like working on the set of Sex Education?
It was such an eye-opening adventure, being a dancer in an eccentric school remake of Romeo and Juliet where we all space/alien dancers. All the staff members were so helpful and always made sure we were comfortable before filming any scenes. The hair, makeup and costume departments were incredible as well. We were very well looked after.
For me, as dancer, it was a very different experience because I normally do live performances, so when I perform live and a make a mistake I just carry on. Whereas, when we were filming, we would do one shoot, maybe seven or eight times. No matter how tired I was, I still had to do each take with all the energy I had as I didn’t know which shots they would be using.
They filmed us from so many different angles. We had lots of different cameras; moving cameras, still ones, just one camera. It was such a new experience for me.
How long did you have to stay on the set?
We were on set for 7 days. Our first call was for 6:30am I believe. We were filming in Penarth. While in hair and makeup we were given breakfast, which was lovely because I was essentially still half asleep. We would then do a warm-up and start filming. The first two days on set were the most intense, we filmed non-stop from different angles and we finished around 7/8 o’clock that evening. Over the next few days, the rest of the main cast were added to join.
The days were very long and tiring but each time the camera was rolling, I was still having fun dancing and it was so rewarding to see the outcome. There were so many people watching, so I treated it as a live performance.
Did you get a chance to meet any of the cast members?
So in between takes, we were able to have a chat with some of the cast members and extras too. We saw Asa Butterflied but we didn’t talk to him, he watched a few of our takes though. I did talk to lots of the other main cast members which was exciting. I was already a huge fan of the first series, so it was surreal for me to be talking to them in person. I had a scene with Jim Howick who played Mr Hendricks in the series. He is the funniest person and it was fun shooting with him. I also spoke with Kadar Williams-Stirling and Mirren Mack as we were Romeo and Juliet in the school play. All the cast members we spoke to were so lovely and took time to speak to us when possible.
What advice to you have any dancers who want to get onto the film industry?
My advice is to join a casting agency and have passion! This time round Kathryn had contacts for us. In the future, I will definitely join another agency and see what I types of jobs I can find. If you love to dance, get yourself to a dance class as you never know what opportunities will be thrown your way!