If I hear a piece of music that really touches me or inspires me it makes me want to dance naturally

James Henson is a Sports Therapist and Professional Ballet Dancer based in Manchester city centre, now specialising in sport and dance rehabilitation. He trained at the Central School go Ballet in London, and performed in London throughout the early years of his career. He then moved to Switzerland and performed as part of the “Bern Ballet” for several years, but has now found himself back in Manchester.Find out more and sign up to the Creative Scale up Programme


After James performed for us we sat him down and asked what it’s like to be a part of such a high pressured industry

What’s your story?

I have just returned back to dancing again, I’ve not been dancing for about 9 years (professionally), I originally trained as a ballet dancer at the central school of ballet in London and then danced in London, lived in Switzerland performing out there for a while and then completely stopped for a few years and I’m just returning to it so I’m really enjoying that, and I’m being given these strange opportunities to start dancing again so I’m kind of taking everything that I can.

What’s brought you to Manchester?

Manchester’s a really creative place and it’s not different to London. London I found there was always so much, almost too much really disjointed scenes sometimes and you’d have to do a lot of travelling whereas Manchester I feel you’ve got a really good mix of different types of art but very joint together at the same time, so if you speak to a lot of creatives and a lot of artists in Manchester a lot of them have already heard of each other and they can be from completely different backgrounds, different performers, different genres. And there’s some kind of common link between everyone because it is quite a small and friendly city and everybody kind of knows each other, its always a bit edgier and quite truthful I think, I think sometimes you go to bigger cities and theres sometimes a bit of fakeness in creativity and art whereas Manchester is very ‘What you see is what you get’ and I like that. There is new edgy up and coming types of art, and yeah, it’s a cool city, I absolutely love it. First time I came here I thought “I wanna live there, its very good.”

What’s going through your head when you’re performing?

Lots; usually trying to hold my core, trying to feel the music, trying to allow movement to flow as easy as possible because generally the more that you think about what you’re trying to do, the more disjointed and unnatural it is. I know that dancers often say that their best movement often comes from just flowing and listening to the music and just trying to just feel where your body wants to go next but it takes a long time and good training to be able to not lose complete technique and lose yourself at the same time.

What gets your fire going?

Music, so if I hear a piece of music that really touches me or inspires me it makes me want to dance naturally so for example, the piece of music we were listening to today, a friend said “oh listen to this song” and then I heard the guy’s album and then I just closed my eyes and I can feel myself moving to it and I create moving patterns to it, or I’m in the car and I can feel myself moving and it makes me want to create and to move and it just touches you, like really deep inside you. Like you get those performances when you have amazing choreography and amazing music. I’ve only experienced it very, very lightly when I was dancing but when you get those kind of times when everything works together and it gels then you completely go… but stay (laughing)


James Henson

Day6-James.Henson.Dancer-716.jpg If you’re interested in knowing more about The Growth Company, check out the website website here.
If you’d like to read more about the creatives involved in the Creative Scale Up programme, see below.
Creative Scale Up | Banksie
Creative Scale Up | White Bear Studios
Creative Scale Up | Thomas Longden
Creative Scale Up | Jesse Cracknell - Craftsmen
Creative Scale Up | Hannah Beaumont - Beaumont Organic
Creative Scale Up | Neon Creations
Creative Scale Up | James Henson