Liam Pentland, is a Dancer/Choreographer based in Manchester (UK). He has been dancing professionally now for 7 years performing in several Music videos, TV Commercials, Internet Ads and many other commercial events. Dance Mogul looks forward to uniting the dance industry here in the US with the great talent internationally. We all want the same thing, which is to be successful and the only way to truly achieve that is to embrace each other.
Dance Mogul: At what age did you develop a passion for the arts?
Liam Pentland: I started dancing at the age of 14, just doing one street / hip-hop dance class per week, near my school in Hulme, Manchester. I knew, at this time I loved to dance but I never would have thought it would have turned into my career. I quickly grew a passion for dance but it was only when I was 17 years of age, I began to take dance more seriously. I remember teachers in college would say things like “You won’t be able to get into private dance school, especially if you don’t have a lot of money” and “You can’t just dance you know!?” when I knew that both of these statements were incorrect. You can make a living through dance and you can gain a scholarship into private dance school, which can lower costs and I think I liked the challenge of proving them wrong. Also I have always said I would rather have a job doing what I love, than be say in a job I dislike, even if the money was amazing.
Dance Mogul: Who were some of your early inspirations?
Liam Pentland: When I first started dancing I use to watch artists such as Michael Jackson, Usher and Justin Timberlake, on the television, dancing and try to copy all the moves, so I guess these were early inspirations of mine. As my knowledge grew and as I became a more versatile dancer, I began to find other choreographers, who were involved different styles of dance, also inspiring. For example, contemporary choreographer Christopher Bruce, his work influences me massively even though our styles are completely different from on another. I love the thought processes he uses to create movements. Also there are many Choreographers from LA that inspire me. My team Soar INK, inspire my hugely, there all amazingly talented friends of mine and when I just watch them it makes me want me to better myself. I feel blessed that I am very easily inspired. The support my friends and family give me is another huge inspiration, which reminds me to never give up no matter how hard things get, because they are people out there who believe in me.
Dance Mogul: Were your parents supportive of your passion for dance?
Liam Pentland: A lot of people ask me questions and advice on this topic, and I honestly do find it very hard to provide students with advice on this topic as my parents are very supportive. I think they love seeing me traveling the world knowing I am making a living, doing what I love and have grew to have faith in me that I am able to support myself doing so. They help me a lot! And it’s something I am very grateful for.
Dance Mogul: When did you know that you could become a professional?
Liam Pentland: When attending dance schools I was aware that passing the course provided you with a qualification named “National Diploma in Professional Dance” therefore I knew I was working towards being a professional. Whilst attending this school, we wasn’t supposed to work on jobs, as we had to focus on our training, however I still did (naughty me). The jobs I was under-going here, were paid commercials videos, Internet Virals, backing dancing etc. I think being around good agencies, dancers, and well-known artists enabled me to believe I was now a professional dancer.
Dance Mogul: How did you develop your work ethic?
Liam Pentland: I felt that my work ethic was programmed into me quite early. As we had a dance teacher named Daren Pritchard, who hoped me massively. He was a strict teacher who would have us in the studio training, early and leaving late. But what I did notice is that we won most competitions and got through more auditions than other groups. This for me was my first understanding that hard work does pay off. From this I knew to succeed in this industry you had to work, so hard! Now when people ask me, how they go about getting a career in dance, I tell them, “that dance can no longer be your hobby it must become your lifestyle. You must live, dream, sleep, work and eat dance if you want to earn a living from it.”
Also going to a dance school and dancing 9 hours a day sometimes more, plus working all through my weekends to support my living costs was also another chapter in my life, I felt my work ethic did develop. Another time I feel my work developed probably the most, was late in the year of 2011. I had finished dance school and was on the hustle for work. Luckily enough I did book a few jobs, which paid me well and enabled me to see other countries however, when these jobs were over finding work became difficult. Therefore money was low. On top of this I had problems back at home, the long term relationship I was in with my girlfriend at the time, had ended, my confidence was very low and I was generally just unhappy with life. I had people around me telling me to get a “normal job”, which just made me feel I wasn’t good enough and all the hard work I had put in was for nothing. I remember walking to my Grandparents house one day, I couldn’t get the bus because I didn’t have the money and it was quite a long walk, but I think this walk helped me a lot. It gave me time to think, “Is this what I want?” “What will make me happy?” and also allowed me to vent the stress I was going through at the time. That night when I got to my Grandparents house I remember getting a huge pad of paper and a pen. And I wrote huge lists on “What will make me happy?” “What’s making me unhappy and how I can I solve it..?” “Aims/Goals/Dreams list” “To Do List”. They was so much paper in the room! But it was my plan that I knew to get to where I want to be, I had to stick by it and believe in it no matter how I was feeling. And I’m now proud to say that a lot of them goals, not all of them, but a lot of them I had accomplished.
Dance Mogul: You have had numerous opportunities and accomplishments, what have been some of your most memorable?
Liam Pentland: I think one of my biggest accomplishments is just doing what I am doing now, doing what I love, which is to teach my choreography to dancers all around the world, who want to learn and love to dance. This one means the most to me because it was on my dreams list and was my main goal. I have a passion for creativity, traveling and teaching, so to be actually doing all three at the same time is overwhelming still, no matter how often I am pursuing it.
I find a lot of accomplishments may not be performing with such and such or teaching here and there but my biggest accomplishments are when I accomplish a fear or weakness of mine. I find these accomplishments mean more to me as there more personal therefore I become more proud of myself. I believe that being proud of you and proving something to yourself means more than proving other people wrong. If you can fight your own fears and work on your own weaknesses in life, then you’re going to improve as a person as well as a performer.
Dance Mogul: Why is it important to give back to the dance community while still achieving success?
Liam Pentland: A few quotes I have heard from teachers and people I look up to, which stay in my mind are:
– Aspire to Inspire before you expire
– If you’re not using your life to help someone else, then you’re not living
– Leave the world, with something that can live on forever
With these quotes in mind, it is important to me that as a teacher I TEACH and share knowledge, rather than show steps. Personally I have a passion for teaching so I want to see people improve. I am also very inspired by the younger generation and I’m so excited to see what’s going to come from them when our careers have ended, therefore it’s important we feed them as much knowledge as possible in order for them to excel and push dance as an art form. Also whilst traveling, teaching and performing, I am learning so much myself, which enables me to pass on more knowledge as I go along my journey and also I feel I learn so much when teaching and watching how other dancers think and execute movements. So for me it’s like a huge learning cycle, which brings me on to another passion of mine that is learning. I love to learn! I’m a geek!
Dance Mogul: What advice would you have for the younger generation of dancers that want to become professionals?
Liam Pentland: I think what’s amazing about young people learning is that they have 2 things:
One is they are like sponges, without thinking they absorb so much information and just take it on board. And secondly they have no fear. They are not bothered about what other people think about them, they just take the corrections on and do it! But through my experiences and my background in dance, I think it’s essential that dancers are versatile. They need to get used to being out of their comfort zone, studying all genres of dance, to improve their understanding of dance, improve their vocabulary and add more value to them-selves. I think if they can develop this at a young age, then it opens many doors for them along their journey.
Dance Mogul: How do you get the younger generation to understand that the discipline in dance is the same discipline that needs to be executed in an educational setting?
Liam Pentland: If a young person is serious about dance and wants a successful career, you MUST be passionate about dance. Like I stated earlier in this article, “It can no longer be a hobby, it must become your lifestyle”. It’s not something you can just do when you feel like it. You become an athlete. The type of person who, when that voice inside your head is saying “I’m tired I want to stop” or “I can’t do this I want to give up” you have to keep pushing! I think as a teacher we can point them in the right direction and give them the right knowledge but in the end, it depends on how much that individual wants it.
Dance Mogul: How important is it that dancers try to leave legacies instead of bits and pieces of momentary satisfaction?
Liam Pentland: Like I keep stating, I personally believe it is very important that teachers TEACH and do not just show steps. By teaching, your giving someone knowledge, they can use and then one day pass down to their students. This cycle has the potential to live on forever. Therefore you have left a legacy that has not just helped one dancer but maybe a generation.
Dance Mogul: What are you currently doing now to elevate your craft?
Liam Pentland: I am currently back at home in the UK, for 2 months before I fly again so I am concentrating on training, whilst I have the time, but I’m also looking at where I have other passions and how I can put my energy into them. After speaking to a good friend of mine Mykell Wilson, who lives in LA, he gave me great advice, advising me to make the most out of my talents instead of focusing on just one area, why not look at where else I am talented and passionate? And explore with that also, to enable me to broaden my horizons. I’ve currently been away training and teaching workshops in other countries and felt I have learned so much, so I also like to jot down what I have learned and see how and where these aspects can help inspire my craft.
Dance Mogul: Do you feel a publication like Dance Mogul is needed to connect the Professionals with the next generation to help guide them to their goals and aspirations?
Liam Pentland: I believe a Dance Mogul, can definitely help, as media in this generation is a hugely powerful tool and is used massively by our younger generation. Therefore it is definitely a great tool to reach out to them and if they are people out there, they can look up and relate to, then it is a great idea for them to be able to find direction and to further help and inspire them to reach their dreams.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you on your journey?
Liam Pentland: This list could go on forever! But I would like to thank my family first of all for being so supportive and believing in me. My close friends who are always there for me in all aspects of my life. All the people who have taken my classes around the world and support my videos etc. and what I do, because if it wasn’t for them I would not be doing what I am doing today, living my dream. And my team SOAR, who inspire me to grow and show me amazing support!