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Rishan Benjamin was born in London and trained at the Central School of Ballet before joining Scottish Ballet in August 2018 as an Artist.

Rishan featured in Digital Season films Tremble and Frontiers as well as Dextera – part of our Spring! season. We caught up with Rishan to hear about her journey with Scottish Ballet so far and find out what encouraged her to venture north of the border.

How did you first start dancing?

I started dancing Street dance around the age of six. Later, when I was eight, I was introduced to ballet through the ‘Chance to Dance’ scheme by the Royal Opera House. I then went on to train at the Central School of Ballet. Around the age of 16, I realised I wanted to become a professional dancer. I love the idea of being able to express my emotions and feelings through movement.

What attracted you to Scottish Ballet?

I was attracted to the dancers of the company and how they are allowed to be individual in their artistry. Scottish Ballet is really forward-thinking. I think the Digital Season and films like Frontiers and Tremble show that well. Scottish Ballet is also very diverse with their choreography and have a mixed repertoire of contemporary and classical ballets.

Rishan 50Y50C.

What are you enjoying about living in Glasgow?

I like that I am living in a city, but it doesn’t feel crowded like some cities can. There is a lot of greenery and outdoor space to wander in. The people are one of the main things I like about living in Glasgow; they are really friendly.

What did you most enjoy about performing in Dextera and our Digital Season?

I have such a love for contemporary dance. The choreography in Dextera and Frontiers allowed me to dance in a different style than I usually do. In these works, I was dancing out of my comfort zone and challenging myself, which was incredibly exciting. Plus, getting the opportunity to work with talented choreographers for both of these works was incredible.

 

What is your favourite thing about performing with Scottish Ballet?

The privilege of working with dancers that have so many unique and different skills, I am continually learning on and off stage. I also love that everyone is allowed to express themselves through their artistry; we can really bring ourselves to the choreography.

What’s your ‘get up and go’ song?

‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Learn more about me

When did you realised you wanted to become a professional dancer?
It was around the age of 16 that I realised I wanted to become a professional dancer as I love the idea of being able to express my emotions and feelings through movement.
What’s your pre show ritual?
Before every show I always make sure I have worn my red head scarf and necklace for at least 1 hour as these items mean a lot to me and give me extra luck.
What attracted you to Scottish Ballet?
I like the idea of being able to tour around the world and how the company shows diversity and individualality in all genres.
Are there any dancers or artists that inspire you?
Wayne McGregor and Michaela DePrince
What are a few words to describe your personality in the studio? 
Serious
Funny
Weird
…everything.
What’s your favourite thing about Scotland?
The atmosphere!

‘Being a Black Woman’ – a stunning short film

Introducing ‘Being a Black Woman’, a stunning short dance film by Emma Flett starring Scottish Ballet Artist Rishan Benjamin

Credits:

Directed by Emma Flett and produced by Colin Burrows
Co-produced by Special Treat Productions and Flett Films (FlettFilms.co.uk)
Poetry by Lucille Clifton, spoken by actress Nicola Hughes
Edited by Sophia Kotretsos
DOP Tony Currie
Camera work by Albert Graver
Sound by Charis Wilson and Special Treat Productions
Special thanks to Film Soho

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