So much has happened this year, and I know looking back I won't remember all the highlights, the highs or the lows. But somehow it only feels right to make some half-arsed attempt of it as the final hours of 2010 draw to a close to detail them in a blog, seeing as I haven't written a new one in so long.
So what was the best moment of 2010? I don't even need to think about this question twice, as it was undoubtedly meeting Liam Mower on the few occasions I had the chance to do so. He is my biggest inspiration without a doubt, and he has opened my mind to a lot of new things, most notably dance on a performance level, and a whole world of things on a personal level. Its amazing even having met him a few times, I am still nervous every time I see him... I definitely need to be more confident in 2011! He is however lovely and I thank him from the bottom of my heart for the inspiration he has provided and for being an all round great guy.
Educationally I have done a lot as I further my own training in performing arts. One of my pledges for 2010 was to push myself harder, and I have done that for sure. The highlight for me has been a greater in depth study of improvisation under the tuition of a superb teacher named Mark Phoenix. So many people claim they can improvise. In essence we all think we can do it, but are you really improvising? Mark taught me that true improvisation comes from within, an emotional depth which takes a lot of practice to find and develop. Its not about creating a scene in your head, or even a character at that. Its about allowing a scene to naturally unfold. There is a little phrase he has often used to help us - "Invent nothing, deny nothing" and if you can do that, then you are truly improvising. My 12 weeks with Mark have certainly enriched my skills and I am very much eager to return to his teachings in the new year!
Theatrically theres been a few big events this year. First and foremost my favorite Billy - Fox Jackson-Keen leaving the show after a record breaking stay at the Victoria Palace Theatre. I often say how much Liam inspires me, however Fox deserves a lot of praise and credit too. His performances were always very special and I know without Fox, I wouldn't be where I am today. This was very closely followed by the 5th anniversary performance, which featured a special performance from the bulk of the 20+ Billy's who have graced the stage over the history of the show, including Fox and Liam, which was nice, as was the brief return of Connor Doyle (another inspirational guy) to the show in April of this year as Michael.
Away from Billy Elliot, another big moment was seeing Les Miserables at the Barbican, as it returned to its original London home for a limited run to celebrate the shows 25th birthday. I love Les Miserables, so to have a special show like this, it means so much more, and with Jon Robyns in the cast (though sadly not as Marius), it was always going to be up there in my memories for the year. Finally back in October an all time favorite - Avenue Q saw its time in the West End come to a close after a phenomenal four and a half years of laughter spread across three prestigious theatres. Yes all of which I have visited - though not in the last year I will admit!
I think the most moving moment of the year however comes from learning of another Liam. Liam O'Brien who you can read about in a blog from August of this year. Liam's life was tragically cut short, as another innocent victim to the UK's surge in knife crime. Since then I have got to know some of Liam's family, most notably his Mum Sharon and his cousin Jack. They are both wonderful people, who I am honoured to be able to call friends. Liam's memory lives on, and I write this on the eve of his 16th birthday, so tomorrow take a moment to think about Liam and his family.
So there we have it - a brief run down of the year - heres to 2011!