INTRODUCING one of the most gorgeous and generous human beings I have the privilege of knowing and admire…
NAME: MEGAN PRESTON
FROM: UNITED KINGDOM
1. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DANCING? I have been dancing since I was 3 and professionally for 5 years.
2. HOW DID YOU START DANCING? WHAT IS YOUR TRAINING AND PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE? I started dancing at a local dance school after school. I never had an desire to be a professional, I was just one of those kids that wanted to do everything. Only at age 15 did I decide to take it further. I went to a ballet school for 3 years which was intense training, and then on to New York to diversify across all genres. I have been luck to work on TV shows, films, fashion shows, with contemporary companies, and regularly as a freelance dancer. I am also a choreographer and teach at some of the top studios in the UK.
3. WHAT INSPIRES YOU AS A DANCER? For me, dance is a way to feel connected, release tension, and be at one… It’s kind of like my meditation. I get inspired from day to day life, music and sounds, and issues and causes I am passionate about that I think can be highlighted and portrayed through dance.
4. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON AND THEIR IMPORTANCE TO THE COMMUNITY? I currently run 2 companies, both based in the UK. Awareness Through Dance I started 2.5 years ago and it is a not for profit that sets out to use dance to raise awareness and educate about global issues both in the UK and internationally. We have set up program’s in Nairobi so far and in 2015 will be developing a sustainable education program through dance in Ghana, focused on the topic of women and girls’ empowerment. Our work provides volunteer experiences for professional dancers and support and development for communities around the world.
Dance London is a company that provides dancers from around the world the chance to come to the UK and experience our dance industry. Our programs and courses are not just dance. They focus on the participants’ personal development and we have a mission to develop a dancer’s transferable skills, confidence, and business skills in order to equip them with a toll kit to move forwards in their dance careers and beyond. In just 1 year we have worked with over 350 dancers in London and dancers from 10 countries from around the globe.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DANCE MEMORY? When we were in Nairobi we worked with a community in Mathare slum. There was a group of 30 kids below 10 years of age that performed for us. The music, song, and love for dance shone through the environment, situation, and difference between cultures more than I have ever witnessed before in my life. It made my hair stand on my neck! (CLICK HERE FOR AN AWESOME VIDEO OF THE TRIP!)
6. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED? Running and trying to develop sustainable businesses in the dance industry is my biggest challenge. I try to develop innovative ideas that allow us to continue the beneficial work we do. I also personally struggle with no longer having hours a day free to dance. Dance will always be my biggest motivator and passion and I have to ensure that I take class and perform when I get the time.
7. ANY ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO OTHER DANCERS? I have a lot of dancers and young girls ask how I had the confidence at 21 to start something so different. I always say starting is the hardest thing, and it wasn’t easy. Of course my fear for failure like anyone else held me back, but I had amazing support and ambition and I knew that I didn’t want to wait 10 years to start something I believed in. At this age, what have we got to lose? The best learning experiences come from making mistakes, and I have made a lot of them! If you have a dream go for it, and make sure you listen and learn along the way.
Want to get involved and learn more? Click here for more information about MEGAN PRESTON, AWARENESS THROUGH DANCE, and DANCE LONDON.