A career that will move you
Christopher Harrison explains why being the principal dancer for Scottish Ballet is his dream job.
“I started ballet when I was 10 years old when a lady called Kay Morrison came to my primary school to do a dance workshop. She encouraged me to do ballet, so I joined the junior associates programme at Scottish Ballet. Through the junior associates, I auditioned to be one of the children for Scottish Ballet’s Nutcracker and performed on-stage with Scottish Ballet’s dancers. Seeing how the dancers performed and how much they enjoyed it made me realise that’s what I wanted to do.
"I grew up in the countryside in Kippen in Stirlingshire, so I initially thought I would like to do something in wildlife or farming – that was my main passion before I discovered dance.
"After completing the junior associate programme at Scottish Ballet, I studied at the Dance School of Scotland for four years and then went on to train at the Royal Ballet School in London for three years. I then joined Dresden State Opera in Germany in 2001 and danced there until summer 2005 when I joined Scottish Ballet.
"At Scottish Ballet, I was promoted to Coryphée in 2007 and then I was promoted to principal dancer in 2013, becoming the first male Scottish principal dancer in Scottish Ballet’s history. Obviously it’s a huge responsibility and at the same time I feel honoured and proud.
"To become a principal dancer of the national dance company is something I could never have dreamed of when I started dancing and I think it hasn’t quite sunk in. I hope I can inspire younger generations of dancers, just like I was inspired by the artists of Scottish Ballet.
"There are so many benefits to pursuing a career as a dancer: you are working with and learning alongside people from different backgrounds and cultures and you get to travel the world and do something that you love for a living. I became a dancer because I get so much joy and satisfaction from performing. I love the challenge of pushing myself every day.
"There are difficulties: waking up with aches and pains is something you never get used to but the main challenge is trying to reach the expectation you set yourself. My dream role would be to perform Romeo & Juliet with my girlfriend Begoña, but she has retired from dance so unfortunately I don’t think I can convince her to put her pointe shoes back on again.”
Christopher Harrison will be performing in Scottish Ballet’s new Swan Lake, choreographed by David Dawson, at His Majesty’s Theatre,
Aberdeen from April 27-30.