Rob Wilson shares his diverse and varied dance career (so far) plus incredible audition tips
Since graduating in 2014, Robert Wilson has worked on a diverse range of dance performance projects including, Bollywood film sets; music videos; A Night of Dirty Dancing UK tour; Mary Poppins popup events; with commercial flash mob troupe, Club Mob; Funny Girls show; with Awesome Dog – a motion capture company – on various projects; with Starboard Performers in Stockholm; toured Holland with Spirit Productions; aboard the Royal Princess ship with Princess Cruises; with Qdos Productions aboard the Cunard Queen Victoria cruise liners He also teaches Commercial Dance classes, workshops and masterclasses.
We caught up with Robert to find out how his career is going and he gave us some fantastic audition tips…
You packed a LOT into the last four years since you graduated! Do you have any stand-out highlights or favourite moments?
There has been a lot of fun moments! My favourite performance is actually a charity gig I did for The Lotus Flower. I felt like I was dancing for a purpose – raising awareness whilst performing alongside your true friends is the best feeling. The passion and emotions I felt were like performing for the world… even though it was about 20 people. Also, training in LA was the best trip ever! I hope I can go this year again.
What have you been up to over the last couple of years?
I have been mainly London-based, doing a mixture of corporate gigs, cover teaching and commercial work. Last year my best friend and I choreographed the dance acts of a Festival of the Dead tour, that was fun!
Although I’m enjoying being based in London, I’m always itching to travel! My dream job would be dancing for an artist on a world tour.
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If your ever feeling down, think back to moments or even glimpses of what makes you feel uplifted! That can be a person, a place or for me – Being onstage amongst some amazing people! Hold on to these moments as they will get you through darker times. The outcomes of the struggles will be so worth it! @festivalofthedead 💀 @officialsensationent 💗
On your current/most recent job, what is a typical day like for you?
The last job I did was a corporate gig for a gaming company at the ExCel exhibition centre. We wore space helmets and space suits! Most jobs like that require at least a day or two of rehearsals and maybe an hour of spacing at the venue.
What are you enjoying most at the moment?
Choreographing and covering classes. I really enjoy exploring creativity and also attending classes so I can keep up my training. We can never stop learning and growing.
What are your future plans? Or any projects/opportunities coming up that you can share?
Hopefully a future trip to LA for some more training and a chance to become stronger in the commercial industry.
Where have you travelled to so far? Where would you love to go?
Cruises were the best way to travel for sure! You dock in a new location almost every day! I did the Caribbean and Mediterranean. Ship life is like a different world, it is not for everyone but definitely worth experiencing at some point.
Do you get homesick at all when you’re on tour, abroad or away from home?
At first, I did, but after a while, it gets easier and you appreciate Edinburgh a lot more when you are away for a long time and return now and again 🙂
You came back to teach a masterclass at DFA a wee while ago, what was that like for you?
I loved it! Was such a great experience! The positive energy from the students and the feeling of giving back was great! Seeing all my friends and teachers is always so lovely and gives me the happiest memories.
Do you have any audition tips for upcoming dance graduates?
It would sound very hypocritical to say relax, but don’t get inside your head and don’t look around comparing yourself to others in the room (but, as dancers we naturally want to be critical on ourselves). The best advice I could give is, try not to get too psyched out – breathe!
Reinforce that you are there because you are happy, excited and want to share the passion you have to the panel!
Stay true to yourself! Learn the choreography but don’t be afraid to dance it the way you know looks good on your body. You are showcasing yourself, your brand and what difference your style has to offer.
Listen carefully to what the choreographer wants! If they say, “We want to see performance and personality” then don’t spend all your time army drilling the choreography to perfection. If they say, “We want lines, exact correct moves etc” then learn it as best as you can.
NERVOUSNESS reads like a book. Don’t worry about forgetting the choreography! Worry less so you don’t showcase the fear that you made a mistake.
Bring a ‘REAL’positive energy to the room. It will show. They will recognise it and don’t get caught stressing, chatting badly about the company or laughing about the choreo etc! Save it for after when you go for coffee nearby with your friends.
Don’t let past auditions haunt you! Every audition is different and a cut doesn’t mean you aren’t a great dancer! It means you aren’t fitting for that particular role. Learn from each audition and don’t be put off!! There is a job for every dancer and attending an audition is the same as a job interview, there is a right one for you.
Use eye-focus. When I first started, I had a habit of staring down at my feet. It reads as a lack of confidence and loses connection.
Also another trick: DONT CARE! If you care too much you will put too much pressure on yourself and dance in a stressed mode.
Overall remember that they are potentially needing YOU! Not you needing them!
Amazing Robert – thanks so much! What about young people applying to dance college – do you have any audition tips or advice for them?
Do your audition dance with conviction.
Show your strengths and smile.
It doesn’t hurt to show you want to be there and gives a great impression of you as a person.
Any advice for current and upcoming dance students…?Be prepared to laugh, challenged past your limits, fall in a love-hate relationship with dance! This is the training time – it will pay off! Remember the time is short! And don’t be scared of the future.
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A compilation of Clips coming up from Covering @maxyrazor Heels. Collab Class with @iamcoreyofficial 💥 Song: @tovelo – Lady Wood Thank you so much everyone for the strong energy and Positive vibee! & of course @maxyrazor For this Opp! 💓😊 Dancers: @iamcoreyofficial @kenscurls @robwilsondance
Want to know what Robert thinks of our dance college course?
How did your 3-year training at DFA help prepare you for your dance career?DFA taught me everything! There are so many amazing teachers! They have so much knowledge and talent. Each class teaches you a different skill. Pay attention and focus – three years goes surprisingly fast!!
What did you love most about your training?Making friends for life. Waking up at 7 am and looking forward to dancing all day! So amazing when you think about it!
DFA brought me out my shell so much and forced me out of my comfort zone. Everyone felt like family – something most colleges don’t have.
Is there anything we could do differently?More hip-hop and commercial-influenced choreographers to teach workshops/masterclasses would be great. No doubt most students will hate it as it is out of the comfort zone but more reason to make them do it!We love hearing feedback because our course is always evolving to help our students stay ahead of the curve – find out what styles we cover (including commercial, aerial and more).
“Training at dance for all was an incredible experience. It quite literally changed my life! It provided me with the crucial training I needed! I struggled with many styles of dance as I basically began from scratch. But the hard work and the exceptionally amazing staff’s dedication, patience and determination helped me majorly! It was fantastic to attend Dance School in the heart of Edinburgh and I made some true friends for life.”
What do you think of our website? Any topics you’d like to see on our blog?The website looks fab! I also enjoy your Instagram page.Follow us on Instagram and see what our grads are up to on there too. Check out his showreel below and follow Rob on YouTube & Instagram, where he uploads some of his performance and class videos.
What’s the most important thing people should know about us?DFA is the place to grow, learn and is a safe place to explore your artistry in a supportive environment. You learn so much and walk away a much stronger individual.Thanks so much Rob for your feedback and for chatting with us. We look forward to seeing you back at DFA for another commercial masterclass in the future.Your insights into auditioning are amazing! They’ll be so useful for recent graduates and prospective college students too.
Dreaming of a dance career?
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