His performance credits include appearing in the T-Mobile lifesforsharing ‘flash-mob’ commercial, filmed at Liverpool Street Station (2010); participating in Rosemary Lee’s Square Dances, at Brunswick Square in Bloomsbury, as part of Dance Umbrella 2011; being part of Tino Sehgal’s exhibition, These Associations, at Tate Modern and Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal production of Viktor at Sadler’s Wells (2012); appearing on the main stage at Sadler’s Wells in Riot Offspring (2013); as well as working with Claire Henderson Davis in a piece called Passion at Ely Cathedral, performing with the Company of Elders in a reworking of Hofesh Shechter’s In Your Rooms, and performing at the Lilian Baylis Studio with the Sage Dance Company in a Merce Cunningham styled piece called Chase, choreographed by Fionuala Power (2014).
Cecil is a member of the Company of Elders at Sadler’s Wells and the Sage Dance Company.
How did you come to be a performer?
How long have you got? Actually, this is my first professional engagement as a performer. I’ve done loads of classes; jazz classes, ballet classes….. At my age, and at this stage in my life, it’s a great opportunity and I am very excited about it. I suppose all those hours I put in, in all those classes, are finally paying off! There is something about performing that I like. I do have a side that’s very shy, but on the other hand, there’s a bit of a ‘show off’ in me.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I am a huge fan of Mark Morris and there’s something about one of his earlier works, that I saw at the Coliseum in London, danced to Handel’s, ‘L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato’, that made me want to run and jump and dance for a week without stopping! The best evening, ever, in the theatre!
How do you feel when you perform?
Huge nerves before I go on. I think to myself ‘what are you doing? Get out of here!’ Dry throat and … terror. When it starts and I bite into it, then it’s OK. It’s another world.
What is your earliest memory?
I was born in South Africa and one of my earliest memories is of my mother’s washing machine. It had a wringer above the tub and I used to love watching as the laundry was squeezed through the wringer. The machine stood on three legs and had this sort of wibble-wobble action, and as a kid I was absolutely fascinated by it.
How do you prepare before a performance?
A little bit of a physical warm up of course, and I run through in my head, the key phrases. Going through it in your head helps a lot. I think it kind of imprints it in our ‘muscle memory’.
How does performing outside feel compared to inside?
This is a new experience for me. I’ve noticed in the rehearsals that we have done outside, that it’s been lovely, a real surprise. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it; the openness, the sunlight, the breeze, the ground you are working on… it’s so different from the shiny floor of an air-conditioned studio.
What do you like to do on your day off?
I love watching television documentaries, so when I have a day off I log onto BBC iPlayer and catch up on a good ‘doccie’. For much of my career I have been a video maker, most of it in corporate television, so there is something about well crafted documentaries, especially natural history documentaries, that I just love.