Richard Alston Dance Company’s Josh Harriette on how performing helped overcome his stutter

Joshua Harriette Credit: Hugo Glendinning

Joshua Harriette Credit: Hugo Glendinning - Credit: Archant

Richard Alston Dance Company is set to make its return to Norwich Theatre Royal this winter with a 2019 programme which includes Richard Alston's Brahms Hungarian which is set to music by the acclaimed composer.

Joshua Harriette and Monique Jonas Credit: Chris Nash

Joshua Harriette and Monique Jonas Credit: Chris Nash - Credit: Archant

We caught up with Joshua Harriette who is in his first year performing with the company and is excited to bring these latest pieces to the city.

Firstly, how are you enjoying your opening season with the company?

Hello! I am totally loving my opening season with RADC.

There is a great energy and momentum at the moment within the company, and I'm really humbled to be part of it.

They have fully embraced me and I've been able to jump in at the deep end with Richard. It's been refreshing tackling the rich programme we are bringing to Norwich.

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Tell us a little bit about what is in store when the company comes to Norwich. Do you have a favourite piece that you are performing in and why?

We have a new creation by Richard called Brahms Hungarian.

It's set to popular Brahms pieces, it's fast and has fervour drawing on the folk melodies and I really relish the social aspect of this piece (look out for my cheeky glances to my colleagues on stage).

We also have a new creation from our Associate Choreographer Martin Lawrance called Detour.

It's highly physical and speedy; the music is constantly pushing us in all sorts of directions.

I bet you can't predict our pathways. We are also bringing a piece called Proverb where you can sit back and let the music of Reich and the hypnotic vocal arrangement fill the space around you, reverberating and resonating in the air.

Take us back to the beginning of your time dancing. How did you start and was it something you always wanted to do?

Never as a child did I think I'd be a dancer, never mind working in the arts.

I originally got involved in the arts as I used to have a really bad stutter when I was young; I really struggled to verbally communicate and get my words out.

My teacher Jean Moore suggested I join the drama club after school.

I completely relished the idea of performing as someone else; the stutter was gone.

I remember finding it empowering. Over time, I got involved in musicals and found I was a good mover.

I was lucky enough to have a very generous and encouraging teacher called Elizabeth Hill.

By college, I found I was more confident with my dancing and being physical (also, there seemed to be less guys/ competition compared to acting, I'm not competitive at all ha-ha).

READ MORE: Ruth Madoc to miss Norwich Theatre Royal performances after breaking hipYou have worked with some amazing companies, some of whom have toured to East Anglia before, including Matthew Bourne's New Adventures and Ballet Black. What stimulates you most about working for a variety of companies?

I've been very fortunate to work with various companies.

I believe I wish to experience as much as I can as a dancer delivering the artistic visions of the choreographer.

Perhaps it's a little addictive collaborating with different artists and pushing my adaptability skills.

I don't live by it, but I always remember the saying, 'If you're too comfortable, it's time to move on…'. That said I do feel a shift.

Interestingly I'm finding growth through the consistency of working with Richard.

Finally you are also a lighting designer. You've worked on a number of projects with people including Mark Baldwin (who is very well-known to Norwich audiences). How has being a dancer helped you to build your knowledge and creative flair in the lighting world?

I must confess, Mark Baldwin really gave me confidence in working with lights.

I was involved in lighting at Rambert School while training and he was choreographing Rite of Spring.

There was a run through scheduled in the studio theatre,

I prepared some lights and kind of ambushed him explaining 'I could put some lights on top for this run through and see what you think'.

The following year I was doing the lights for Mark at Sadler's Wells alongside Rambert Company.

My dream, or should I say my goal, is to build my experience and skills in my craft of dancing, modelling and lighting design to a point where I can cohesively amalgamate the three into an artistic voice of my own.

Richard Alston Dance Company comes to Norwich Theatre Royal on Friday 22 to Saturday February 23 with tickets available from £10 to £23.50.

To book, log onto or call the box office on 01603 630000.

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