- Tell us more about yourself. What do you do and how long you’ve been working in this industry?
Hi, I’m Cate Brick and I’m a dancer and entertainer. I currently work mostly as a bellydancer – ‘Caasi’ and as a human statue – ‘Statuesque’. I have recently started performing a new knife throwing/whip cracking act ‘A Close Shave’ with the circus legend Big Grey.
In addition to all this, I’m also a principal dancer in Charlotte Desorgher’s ‘Company of Dreams’, which is currently undertaking a UK tour with the groundbreaking show ‘Scheherazade’.
I’ve worked in this industry since I graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 1992 (so for about 26 years). I’ve performed all over the world and have appeared on TV as well as in a number of videos.
- Who did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a ballerina. I was obsessed with ballet even though I didn’t take any classes. I spent all my spare time copying the pictures of dancers that I found in library books (no videos or DVDs when I was young!) and prancing around the house in the tutu that my nan gave me. I drove my mum mad!
- What was your ‘punch in the stomach’ or when did you first realise that this is going to become your career?
I’ve had a couple of ‘punch in the stomach’ moments. However, the first really important one was when I was about 12 years old and went on a school trip to see London Contemporary Dance Theatre.
They were performing the iconic show ‘Ghost Dances’ and it completely blew my mind. I’d only really seen ballet up until then and this was something I hadn’t experienced before. It was so new and exciting. I made up my mind there and then – I will be a dancer by hook or by crook.
And that’s how I started looking for contemporary dance classes. At the time there were lots of council founded youth dance groups in London, so I joined as many as I could. Every night after school and even at the weekends I danced; until I was old enough to apply for a professional training.
Years later I had another ‘punch’. I was having a hiatus from contemporary dance and decided to try a belly dance class. I fell in love once more.
- What were the 3 biggest obstacles in pursuit of your career?
I don’t come from a wealthy artistic family, so there wasn’t money available for luxuries such as ballet classes. By the time I started training I was 17. According to professional opinion I should’ve started when I was 10, so I was seven years behind.
I also don’t have a typical dancer’s body. I’m quite curvaceous, although that has turned out to be a bonus for belly dancing!
- Where do you find inspiration?
Music is what moves me to dance. Thanks to my dad, I grew up listening to all kinds of music and that instilled a huge love for it.
And, of course, I love watching all kinds of dance. Yes, even Strictly! In fact, I love all kinds of performance – circus, drama – whatever. Watching performers and musicians put their heart and soul into what they do gives me life!
- What challenges do you face in this industry as a ‘50+ artist’?
The main challenge is, of course, what you would expect in these times of age and beauty obsessed social media. Some clients seem to think you are past it by the age of 30. However, these tend to be the same sort of clients who just want to have a pretty girl in a fancy costume for a cheap price. They are not too bothered about the standard of the performance. Combine that with a recession and you have a perfect combination for disaster.
Times have been hard for most performers lately, and women performers are still having it worse. It’s a much harder fight to get gigs nowadays; luckily there are still clients around who value the experience and performance level of ‘older’ artistes.
- What advice would you give someone who is about to start their career but is being told that it’s ‘too late’?
It’s never ever too late! There’s always a way to make it happen, you just need to look a little harder. You need to think outside the box and create opportunities for yourself.
- Do you have any idols and if so, who and why?
Oh, so many idols! In real life there are so many personal friends who are very skilful and who continue to amaze me (Sorcha Ra is definitely one of them!) and too many famous dancers –
Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Ann Reinking, Fifi Abdou and Margot Fonteyn – are just a few; the list could go on and on.
Also, I find performers like David Bowie, Lady Gaga and RuPaul truly inspiring. Basically, anyone who creates art because they have no other option. It is who they are and they need to express themselves.
This list cannot end without a special mention to Charlotte Desorgher, the Artistic Director of Company of Dreams, for raising artistic belly dance to another level and bringing it to a new and excited audience.
- What’s your life motto?
Don’t ever think you should fit into other people’s boxes. Do it your way, do it well and you will be fine.
- You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
Mmmm, can I be a swirly blend of teal, turquoise and aquamarine with a hint of purple, please? To channel the power and beauty of the sea… 🙂
See Cate Brick this Friday, 2 November, performing in the Scheherazade and 1001 Nights at the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Hurry up, tickets have almost been sold out!