The derbyshire times


Sophie Duncan, 26, who has performed with some of the most prestigious companies in the world - including the legendary Cirque du Soleil - will be running the course this August at a studio in Nottingham with her friend Joshua Ecob from Hucknall. They themselves met at a similar course which took place when the pair were just teenagers and now want to pass on their knowledge to the next generation.

She said: “The course we will be running, NGDance, is for kids between 11 and 18 who want to experience what it is like to be a professional dancer.

“Me and Josh have been friends for 12 years now, since we met at a similar course in 2004 and we realised when we were chatting that there was nothing else like this that exists at the moment in this area.

“Because we’re performing and creating work right now, we’ve got nothing to hide and we can shed some light on this bizarre industry - to demystify it a bit both for students and their parents.

Chesterfield dancer Sophie Duncan.

“And as well as focusing on contemporary and ballet styles of dance, we will be doing sessions on choreography which will really help the students get top grades in their exams.”

Sophie has just returned to the UK after spending the last three years in Macau, China, performing in one of the world’s biggest and best shows, ‘The House Of Dancing Water’.

That show is the brainchild of legendary Cirque du Soleil director Franco Dragone and involves a 3.7 million gallon pool into which performers dive from a 24 metre platform.

“Training with these legends - these very intense people who have won Olympic medals - was absolutely wonderful,” she said.

Chesterfield dancer Sophie Duncan in the House of Dancing Water.

“We would do really long days and be performing 10 shows a week. By the end of my time in Macau I had done 1,242 shows in just three-and-a-half years.

“When I left university I was just messing around a bit but getting the job in Macau made me realise I could consider dancing a career that I could make a good living with and travel the world”

The course she and Josh will be running this summer will cover professional ballet, contemporary dance and choreography but will also give students the chance to learn the skills and habits of top dancers.

“As well as the choreography, one of the great things about our course is the ‘unlimited access’ sessions we will be offering at the end of each day,” Sophie said.

Chesterfield dancer Sophie Duncan in the House of Dancing Water.

“We want the kids who come to be able to ask anything they want to so they can really feel what it would be like if they became professional dancers.”

Sophie, who attended Brookfield Community School, on Chatsworth Road, says she personally owes her success to her inspirational teacher, Nia Yule.

“She came in specifically to teach us GCSE dance and without her there is no way I would have been a dancer,” she said.

The course will take place over six days, from Monday August 1 until Saturday 6 at The Dance Studios in Hockley, Nottingham.

It costs £120 reduced to £100 for the first 10 applicants who pay in full via the website.

In addition, Sophie and Josh are offering three scholarships for the programme, one in partnership with The Dance Studios, the other for a current member of C.A.T and one which will be chosen by Sophie and Josh themselves.

Chesterfield dancer Sophie Duncan in the House of Dancing Water.

For a full course outline or to book go to To receive updates, also visit their Facebook page

For young people in Chesterfield who think they might struggle to get to Nottingham, Sophie is hoping to organise a car share to help them get to the studio.

Anyone who is interested is encouraged to get in touch with her via their Facebook page.

Read more:



Two professional dancers – one ballet, one contemporary – have created a new summer intensive to educate, inspire and de-mystify the dance world.

If you’re between 11 – 18 yrs old and looking to improve your dancing, learn some of your favourite roles, talk to professional dancers and discover all the different opportunities in the dance world, then NG Dance’s Summer Intensive in Nottingham, UK this August is for you!

NG Dance is the creation of ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer Joshua Ecob and contemporary dancer and choreographer Sophie Duncan, who have both danced internationally throughout their professional dance lives. 

Joshua’s ballet career started with the Serbian National Ballet where he danced for 3 years followed by the Bosnian National Ballet, before returning to the UK to dance with the London Contemporary Ballet Theatre. Joshua has also taught and choreographed internationally, creating works for Midlands Theatre Ballet, The Serbian National Ballet School and the ARS Ballet and Arts Centre Zenica, Bosnia. 

Sophie graduated from the London Contemporary Dance School and worked as a contemporary dancer and choreographer, before traveling to China to dance for 3 1/2 years at one of the largest shows on the planet where she found a love of acrobatics that saw her join an acclaimed contemporary circus show in Sweden, before creating her own theatre productions in Romania & London, and  performing with Cirque Du Soleil in ‘Scalada‘ in Andorra.

Sophie and Joshua became friends more than 12 years ago at an Easter dance course they describe as the best time of their lives, “We were young dancers, but we didn’t really have a clue what we were doing but we had really good teachers, really good classes and it made us become really good friends. We met so many cool people and we did so many really good things so this is why we wanted to create NG Dance”, explains Joshua.

The idea for NG Dance came after a chat on the tube in London, after realising that the likes of the dance course where they met no longer existed in Nottingham, and so they decided to create their own course, “We thought about what we would like to improve, about our experience of dancing professionally and internationally. We wanted to tell kids what it’s really like to be in the dance industry right now”, explains Sophie.


Sophie and Joshua have designed the summer intensive to not only include teaching, learning repertoire, and choreography, but they’ve  also designed the ‘Dancers Toolbox’ – a series of open sessions, “Students can ask us anything about our careers or how we dealt with the pressures of being in a professional dance school, we’ll talk about injury prevention & anatomy and more, so students can have a broad view of what dance life is like”, says Sophie.

“We also really want to introduce the mentoring aspect into the course, so this week we’re going to be chatting with a handful of our dancer friends to get their thoughts as well. I’ll be speaking with Ali Goldsmith who’s working with Gary Clark Company and Crystal Costa First Soloist with English National Ballet to get their views”, continues Sophie.

Sophie and Joshua aim to give students and their parents more information and insights into the dance world, to let them know that there are many different types of dance careers both on and off stage, but also some that aren’t so typical, but still wonderful careers, “I think a lot people can teach and a lot of people can offer good training but not everyone is willing to offer all the secrets or the people you should talk to and the key ingredients of a good performance and a great dance career”, shares Joshua.

NG Dance Summer Intensive runs from 1-6 August – Applications are now open and there’s only 8 early bird tickets still available. For more information:


Instagram: ngdance_official

Twitter: ng_dance_


THE HUCKNall dispatch

Hucknall's own ballet star has become an international level dancer in only a short career, and now he is coming back home to train the next generation.

We meet Hucknall's Joshua Ecob and Sophie Duncan from Chesterfield, who are coming back form their globe-trotting dance careers to teach Notts kids in a one-off summer-school.

Joshua Ecob, 26 of Penhale Drive has been working with some of the greatest ballet dancers of his generation and now the former pupil of Holgate Academy is preparing to run a one-off summer dance programme to mentor fledgling young dancers.

Looking back on his formative years and training in Hucknall, he said: "I started dancing here at the John Godber Centre, with the Sarah Adamson School of Dance. So Hucknall is really where I fell in love with ballet."

At 17 he left the area to train at a small private ballet school in Cheshire, and said it was a different world for a young man going into ballet then. But some of the stigmas still persist, he adds.

Josh Ecob has travelled the world in his career as a ballet dancer.

“There was the whole ‘ballet is for girls’ joke. I was actually really overweight then as well, so I was this fat male ballet dancer from Hucknall, and people would say ‘you’re a fat ballet dancer, it doesn’t make any sense’.

“It made me laugh, really, and I didn’t let it affect me. This was my goal and nobody else’s, so people can say what they wish. If anything it pushed me further.”

Now Josh is a globe-trotting ballerino - he’s worked with the Serbian National Bellet in Belgrade, the Bosnian National Ballet and even performed alongside Zvetlana Zakharova, the world’s most famous and highest paid ballerina, in front of 7,000 people.

Now he’s with the London Contemporary Ballet Theatre, and it was when an old friend, Sophie Duncan, stopped home from her own world tour, including working with Cirque de Soleil, that the pair had the idea of running a dance programme for kids in Notts.

Sophie has performed in Europe and Asia - and brings her expertise in contemporary dance for Notts youngsters.

“We were on the tube in London and talking about old times - and we realised this is something we’ve got to do, and almost immediately I was on the computer designing leaflets and logos.

“We went into opposite directions, I went into ballet and she went into contemporary and that’s part of what we’re doing, bringing those two together for the course."

Sophie, 26, from Chesterfield, said: “I was the first person in my area to go to a leading UK dance school. Dance was the one thing I’ve always wanted to do. I would never imagined I would be in Cirque de Soleil.”

“I had a really good dance school but there were so many questions I never got to ask, and that mentorship is what’s missing in the area so that’s what we want to give - we’re not a dance school and we’re not trying to steal anybody’s students – we’re just putting on a special programme to teach people from our experience.”

Joshua fell in love with ballet in Hucknall when he trained with Sarah Adamson's school at the John Godber centre.

NG Dance will be setting out a full week of training for kids to get a feel of what full-time training would be like at professional dance school.

They’ll be touching on technique, ballet history and provide a ‘dancer’s toolbox’ with all kinds of insider knowledge they can impart from their careers, covering both ballet and contemporary genres.

“There so many questions we never got to ask,” added Sophie, “so we’ll be giving sessions to cover this and give a Q&A, and we’ll also be providing continuing support through our website with interviews from all the contacts we’ve made in the industry.

Following that, their aim is to have more of a presence back home and put on more courses in the future.

“Dance can change young people’s prospects,” added Joshua. “It opened a door for us to experience more of the world. I cant imagine what else I’d be doing."

NG Dance will run at the Dance Studios in Hockley, Nottingham from August 1-6, 9am-5pm, costing £120 for 11-18 year olds. Limited spaces so book early.

The pair will offer mentorship in both ballet and contemporary for youngsters thinking about persuing dance seriously - no formal training required.

No formal dance training necessary - open to inexperienced people who have an interest.

Visit or to learn more.

(We would like to thank the John Godber Centre for allowing us to film and photograph the dancers in their main hall. Visit or for more information.)

Read more: