News: Meet the teacher - Sami Russell

Thursday 24 November 2016

Sammi Russel
Photo : DanceWorks

Sami Russell is a co founder of, she graduated from Chichester University with a BA(hons) in Dance in 2008, followed by completing her Masters degree focusing on performance in 2009. As a member of mapdance company Sami has danced for Shobana Jeyasingh, Liz Aggiss, Charles Linehan, Ben Wright and was soloist for Laila Dialo. During her time in map Sami discovered her choreographic signature, exploring the use of improvisation and the power of theatrical performance. Since then she has taught her choreography techniques and routines throughout London and her hometown Bath. Sami’s recent work has been featured on Got To Dance 2012 and she is now managed by Accelerate Agency.

Sami Russell’s choreography is heavily researched and requires a dancer’s strength and power in order to take the theatrical and emotional themes from studio to stage. Sami’s classes focuses on performance qualities rather than classical techniques and is a great chance to express choreography in a unique way. The choreography is based on lyrical/free flowing movement however this doesn’t mean the body is not pushed to its full extent, parts of the class and choreography can be quick moving and theatrical, offering you a variety of texture and narrative to work from.

What is your biggest goal in life you haven’t achieved yet?
Tough question! I guess I’m a short term goal setter, I believe in perfecting everything that I do to the best of my ability. I like to give myself new goals and challenges as I accomplish old ones. At the moment I’m working on new ways of teaching people to perform with a sense of freedom whilst moving and expressing themselves … I’m still loving the challenge so I guess I haven’t fully achieved it yet.

What sport or activity influenced your life the most and how?
Gymnastics because it frightened me. Nothing is worth doing unless it frightens you a little bit.

What is your top three things on your bucket list?
To help people be themselves, to teach children to be confident regardless of their intelligence or interests and to see the world. (In no particular order)

What is the most important thing you have to do every day?
Call my mum.
Which three words describe you the best?
Tough, emotional, fair.

What is your main drive when it comes to teaching?
That everyone has their own story to tell/re-live/hide from and it’s my job to help them tell it/feel it/overcome it.

If you could choose any person in the world to have dinner with who would it be and why?
Sonia Tayeh because the woman is a genius.

Reflecting on your life, is there any advice you would give to young dancers?
Mean everything when you dance otherwise it’s just footprints that could belong to anyone.

Sami’s classes begin after a breathing based warm up to relax the body, the energy in class usually builds quickly. Working from the idea of improvisation the choreographed movement can be very organic, providing you with a free and softened approach to technique and release. The class develops into floor and corner work, in which we focus on finding ways of pushing through the floor and expanding on methods that combine power with grace and flow.
Sami’s classes are on Tuesdays, drop in classes however please do confirm class scheduling online at

Find Sami on Twitter: @samijade1 on Facebook

16 Balderton Street
Telephone: 020 7629 6183
Studio hire: 020 7318 4100

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