Dancing with Everybody Watching: Audience Favourite Richard Rennie on His First Craft

Tinseltown News favourite Richard Rennie is back centre stage, this time to talk about his experience as a highly acclaimed international dancer.

Richard Rennie’s journey into the world of professional dance was one that started at four years of age.  Put in a ballet class by his parents, it was apparent that Richard was a star-to-be. “I remember my parents speaking about it – I was going crazy, I loved the classes so much.  And then I think I was actually quite good – I picked up the choreography well, I had great discipline, I loved to listen to the music and the teacher – I was apparently an exemplary pupil,”  Richard adds with a smile.

After completing his time at the amateur dance studio of Aberdeen, Scotland, where Richard Rennie grew up, it was clear that he was meant for something much greater in the world of dance.  “I was given the suggestion of auditioning for dance schools at the age of 15 and I knew it was where I wanted to put my focus,” explains the globe-trotting Scot.

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Richard Rennie: centre stage as the principal dancer for the world-famous Moulin Rouge

Richard then moved to Paris to study and pursue a career in professional dance.  Upon arrival, he became unstoppable in the dance world; a name that would come to be both known and revered by many in the highest elite circles of the notoriously competitive and niche community.

“I had an opportunity at age 18 to get a summer job at Disneyland Paris.  It was my first professional gig – a real dance job – and it was an amazing experience that I’ll cherish forever.  That really was the onset of my career,” Richard notes fondly of his time with the Disney Corporation.

From ages 18-21, Richard was found studying at the prestigious, Doreen Birds of London.  His studies there were ballet focused with the addition of musical theater, jazz and tap influences.  Graduating at the top of his class, Richard undoubtedly had the technique, presence, sharpness, musicality, and natural talent to become one of the highest regarded dancers in London.

“I mean in my career, I was still considered a kid.  I was just starting out but I had drive and an understanding of my talents.  My teachers and peers complimented me on my stage presence and my partner work all the time.  I knew I was ready to reach the highest level of my career – and my dance abilities were taking me there.”

After graduating, Richard’s career took off over night.  He landed a principal position in a dance production of Cinderella at The King’s Theater in Glasgow, Scotland.  He quickly went on to work with top professionals in his industry, dancing for renowned artist Florence and the Machine, Volkswagen’s Car Show, and modeling and dancing for the most elite line of dancewear in the world, Capezio DanceWear.

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Performing as a professional dancer has required Richard to develop skills that are equivalent to a top-level professional athlete. 

It was after much success that at the age of 25 Richard was offered a position at the well known Moulin Rouge.  A star within itself, established in 1889, the Moulin Rouge is the pinnacle place for dance in not only France but in all the world.  It was no wonder that Richard joined the team and rapidly rose to the top. As principal dancer for a tenure of 5 years with the company, Richard was deservingly compensated at 600 euros per night, the highest of salaries offered with the company.  Like all professional dancers with a rigorous show schedule of 6 nights a week, RIchard dealt with his bout of injuries throughout his time. However, his fortitude and dedication to his craft kept him steadily on the path to quick recoveries.

“Because of my intense ballet training, my dance technique has always been impeccable and that helps a lot (with injuries) – as long as you practice dance in a safe and controlled way, you shouldn’t get serious injuries – however with the intense nature of the Moulin Rouge: doing 2 shows a night, 6 days a week, for 5 years – it’s inevitable that you will get injuries here and there.  I was lucky though, when you get to a successful level of an established company like Moulin Rouge, and then even more so because of being a principal dancer – you are treated with the utmost care and concern – amazing physio, attention to injury and healing. I bounced back quick.”

It’s clear that it wasn’t just the extremely delicate treatment of the professionals at the Moulin Rouge that allowed Richard quick recoveries.  His training, adeptness, and skill set didn’t let him skip a beat.

Richard speaks of his time at the Moulin Rouge; “I think my fondest memory was probably my opening night (at the Moulin Rouge) because at that point I hadn’t worked in a company for a long time and hadn’t been on stage for a long time.  I’d worked on a lot of music videos and fashion shows, but not been on stage since 2008 and now it was 2011, and I remember the feeling at the beginning of the show – we’re all at the back waiting to start and the audience went wild and I remember that hitting me, being on stage again.  I mean, there is nothing better.”

He continued to live that rush of the stage life during his time in the professional tour of Chicago the Musical once he landed in the states.

If 5 years as a principal dancer wasn’t enough, Richard was found participating in the most elite showcases for modeling and dance offered in Paris – Schwarzkopf Hair Show, The Ou Café “Vivement Dimanche”, dancing for Lisa Angel and Arielle Dombasle, to name only a few.  

Out of all of that, what was the most challenging dance job?  “I think I’d have to say the Capezio Dance Fashion show – it was a tough, long, hard showcase of work – and representing a dance clothing brand, not any clothing brand, but the most renowned in the world, that was a big undertaking.”  Richard took the challenge on with grace and ease. “The choreographer, David Leighton,” the biggest name in London, “was known for very technical dancing with commercial and hip hop elements – big turns, difficult lifts – a dancer’s greatest challenge and greatest joy.  Truly a transformative experience in my career. I felt so blessed to be a part of something so colossal in the dance world.”

Capezio DanceWear can be seen worn by the most elite dancers around the world every day.  Richard, representing the line that in fact represents the entire dance community, was the greatest asset to the brand given his talent and skill that makes him the highest level of professional in his craft.

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