Karen was a pupil from 1983 - 1998. She did all her training at Bramhall School of Dancing as well as taking 4 A levels, and then went on to L.I.P.A. - the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts - where she did a degree. She has danced at Thursford twice now, and also has danced on pop videos and done modelling for DKNY. Karen has been a backing dancer for KT Tunstall on the Brit Awards, and has just returned from Mumbai where she has been appearing in a Bollywood film.
Karen kindly sent us this article that gives an insight into the life of a professional dancer.
"Here's a little bit about the show..'The Thursford Christmas Spectacular 2003'
rehearsals on the 30th of October. The cast consisted of about 100 in
total - 20 dancers and the rest singers and musicians. After only five
days in London, rehearsing at 'Dance Attic', we'd already learnt most
of the routines for the show. We knew that we had 6 major dance numbers,
which were mostly jazz pieces, but we also had a tap number where we
had to dance on small little podiums and an Irish one. Our choreographer
The show opened on the 15th November, and ran for 5 weeks until the 23rd December. Most of the time we had two shows a day for 7 days a week. I think in total we had 7 days where we only had one show a day otherwise it was a pretty hectic schedule. Typically we'd arrive and have to sign in by 1.30pm. We'd then go to the dancers' dressing room and put on our stage make-up. When we were ready, we'd then put on our warm-up clothes and spend at least half an hour backstage stretching before the show began. This was a really important part of the day as we were putting our bodies through a lot doing two shows a day and we had to look after ourselves to make sure we didn't get injured. The last thing to do was put on our costumes before the show began. The costumes were fantastic. They were designed by Linda Martin, who usually works for the BBC wardrobe department. Before we started the show I had to go to the BBC in London for a costume fitting. Then whilst we were at the show we had 'dressers' backstage to help us with quick changes and our own wardrobe team that made any alterations we needed doing to our costumes.
So, after finishing
a three hour performance which started at 2.30pm-5.30pm, we then had
an hours break to grab something to eat before it was time to warm up
again at 6.30pm for the last show which started at 7pm. It was a tiring
day so most nights it was straight home to bed! Although an exhausting
contract, it was great experience for me and after spending 7 weeks
together I've made some really close friends. Now, however, it's back
to London for me and back to auditioning for that next contract.."