Choreographer and Artistic Director Anna Watkins formed her own contemporary dance company, WatkinsDance, in June 2011. Her interest in dance was ignited at the age of twelve when she began taking ballet classes at The Place, before formally training at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. On graduating Anna initially pursued a career in classical ballet, but after working with Neville Campbell for a project in collaboration with the Great North Run, her interest became more centred on Contemporary Dance. Spending most of her working days rehearsing and choreographing, Anna’s energy is channelled into performances which are powerful and dynamic.
Anna is one of the fortunate few who are able to integrate their professional and creative talents into their daily work. Drawing parallels between her own work and the inspiration behind MSL, Anna is pleased to contribute to a network which celebrates women. Whilst the MSL team uses treasured items of clothing to do this, Anna’s most recent work takes its influence from hardships and challenges faced by women today. The first, entitled ‘Pachabel’ and choreographed to her mother’s favourite piece of music, explores Anna’s personal journey through and beyond her mother’s death when she was just thirteen years old. ‘Domination’, her second and equally moving new creation, depicts the struggles which women must endure in a world largely controlled by men.
When describing her treasured item, it is clear how much dance means to Anna and the impact it has had on her life. She first saw the Rambert Dance Company at a performance with her mother when she was twelve years old, and instantly knew that she wanted to work with them. The t-shirt she bought that day as a souvenir reminds her of where her inspiration stems from and the places she is yet venture.
Speaking to women here at MSL, we are always touched by how many of them take inspiration from their mothers and Anna is no exception. Though her mother has passed away, Anna can see where her own sense of purpose and determination comes from, and she makes a conscious effort to reflect her mother’s intelligence and strength in her own personality and work. Professionally, Anna’s inspiration comes from choreographer Bawren Tavaziva, of Tavazvia Dance, who has helped her to develop her technique and style and become the dancer she is today.