We pride ourselves in having a teaching faculty that brings a wealth of industry experience, a unique and creative flair for choreography and a passion for teaching. This month we sat down with LAUNCH teacher, Simon Fairweather to find out more about his career, his teaching inspirations and love for LAUNCH.
What are some of your career highlights?
It’s hard to pick highlights in my career, but if I had to narrow it down my first pick would be working with a 7 metre tall animatronic gorilla during the Australian premiere of King Kong: Live On Stage. It was such an amazing show, the likes of which had never been seen anywhere around the world. It was my first time working as a swing and I learnt so much. My second pick would be performing as Fred Casely in Chicago for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. We were cast by Stuart/Whitley in the Us (who cast the Broadway productions), and got to work with amazing choreographers who had learnt the show off Ann Reinking herself. Having that second hand knowledge passed down to me was invaluable.
What do you like most about your professional performing arts career?
The thing I like most about my career is that no one day is ever the same. I get bored really easily, so being able to do so many different things keeps me interested. I love that one day you can be performing Musical Theatre on tour and the next you are dancing with an artist in a packed stadium. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
How has your career experiences shaped how you teach?
My career experiences have shaped the way i teach in that I always expect 100% professionalism from my students (especially the senior students about to make their way into the industry). I pride myself on my strong work ethic and I really try and teach the students that hard work and dedication will always take you far.
What attracted you to become a teacher?
I was attracted to become a teacher from taking class from both my husband, Troy Phillips and my good friend Yvette Lee. I loved the way they ran their classes and their choreography was amazing. Seeing what everyone was gaining from being in their classes really got me interested in pursuing dance teaching as a dual career to performing.
What do you love most about teaching at LAUNCH PAC?
The students at LAUNCH PAC are the best thing about teaching at LAUNCH. It sounds corny, but it really does feel like a family at the studio. I feel really invested in every student and their growth, so when you see them achieving goals and succeeding in their training, its really fulfilling.
What do you find the most rewarding thing as a teacher?
The most rewarding thing about being a teacher is seeing the final product of concerts and other shows. The hard work that the students put in during the year really stands out when they get on the stage.
What inspires you as a teacher?
It’s inspiring as a teacher when you can see the progress of student over many years. Because we see the students every week and always focus on improving weaknesses, we sometimes forget to take a step back and realise what we have achieved. Watching this weekends ‘Applause’ Dinner & Show at the Arts Centre Gold Coast, I couldn’t help but think back on when I first met many of these kids and how far they have come in 3 short years. Kids that were afraid to stand in the front of class, or sing in front of people are now smashing out 2 professional calibre shows and performing like seasoned pros.
What values and skills do you strive to instil in your students?
The main thing I try to instil in my students is professionalism. This can be anything from making sure that you are always early and prepared for every call, to looking your best in every class. It’s easy to get complacent in class, but you need to be giving your all every single day.
What is your most memorable moment as a LAUNCH PAC teacher?
My most memorable moment as a teacher at LPAC is getting to see the kids perform at the Dinner & Show and the end of year concerts. To see how far the students have come and their performances is the best. I believe that at LAUNCH we produce shows that no other school is producing. Being able to give the students that taste of the industry is really satisfying.