Natasha Alpe

It is hard to think of a time when dance was not part of my life.

From early memories as a four year old trying to tie up my pink ribboned ballet shoes, to prancing and twirling around the living room dressed up in 80’s inspired aerobic outfits, to watching the TV show Fame or dance videos like Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, and Grease until the VHS tape was worn out. Through my early school days I gained an understanding of cultural diversity, experiencing and performing traditional dances of the Pacific including Samoan, Tongan and Maori. I would later cherish these memories when I continued my interest in cultural dance as an adult and travelled to Africa to learn Ghana’s traditional dances.

My dance training began from age 8 when I attended contemporary dance classes as part of the Performing Arts School community dance programme. By the age of 10, I aspired to be a full time dancer/dance teacher. The availability of community dance was so important and played a huge role in enabling me to study Contemporary Dance professionally. I graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Contemporary Dance from UNITEC, Auckland, New Zealand. My course studies included contemporary and ballet technique classes, dance history and modules in dance somatics. A large component of my training was in choreography and performance. This course and the inspiring teachers created a very strong foundation for my ongoing dance aspirations and professional development.

On graduating, I forged a freelance dance career doing performance work with well established New Zealand choreographers such as Douglas Wright, Mary-Jane O’Reilly, Megan Adams and Malia Johnston. I was a key member in forming the Graduate Dance Company, applying to local council arts grants to promote contemporary dance in urban city spaces. In 2003 I became a member of Footnote Dance Company. This involved touring work commissioned by the country’s leading choreographers around New Zealand, including rural areas, and teaching extensively in schools under the education sector’s dance curriculum.

Since living in London, I have been a dancer in Sarah Levinsky’s work in progress ‘Birds’ and multi disciplinary work ‘Plastic Island’, and have taught in an after-school dance club in a Clapham Primary School. A dream came true when I met Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, founder of Body Mind Centering and I participated in Deborah Hay’s choreographic workshop. I was a regular attendee at Independent Dance professional morning class ay Siobhan Davies Studios with my favourite UK teachers being Gill Clarke and Marina Collard.

I retrained in 2008 as a Pilates teacher at LABAN with the Pilates Foundation and worked as a successful pilates teacher in London before moving to Stroud with my partner and baby son in May 2015.

I am very excited to be providing the opportunity for children to dance in Stroud.