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All The Right Moves

IT’S been a decade in the dance industry for Neath’s Craig Coombs — and boy has it been busy.

From featuring on TV shows, to personal achievements in the education field, Craig, from Skewen, has achieved it all.

Now, aged 32, he continues to lead and encourage others at NPTC Group to follow in his footsteps.

He returned to Neath a few years ago after achieving his masters degree in Dance Studies, and now leads the dance department at the college.

He has also launched the LIFT Dance Company, an annual youth dance platform showcasing the dance talent of Neath Port Talbot.

“Working at the college for the past 9 years has enabled me to develop a flourishing dance department,” says Craig.

“It is my ambition to ensure young dancers are taken seriously as both vocational and academic learners, so I work hard to foster the skills of my students.”

This year, Craig’s efforts were rewarded when he found out he had been nominated for a Pearson’s National Teaching Award.

“Being nominated was a huge surprise and a great honour,” he says.

“To know that my work with young people in dance has been recognised by both my colleagues and my students is wonderful.

“I hope to be able to continue to inspire my students, so that they might one day fulfil their ambitions in dance, or whatever they choose to do.”

And what if that is following in his footsteps? Then they could bump into some of the world’s biggest celebs.

 

Craig featured as a dancer on ITV1’s The Kylie Show and won a place in the semi-finals of Sky 1’s Got to Dance, hosted by Davina McCall.

But it’s the personal achievements that are really an honour for former Dwr-y-Felin pupil Craig.

In April Craig, he was asked to contribute to Stage One a choreographic platform in association with the National Dance Company Wales, performing an original dance solo at Cardiff’s Dance House.

The dance received critical acclaim, and was followed by being awarded the Victoria Worsfold Griffiths Bursary for Trinity Laban, one of Europe’s leading conservatoires for contemporary dance in London.

This meant he was able to revisit his own training school and reconnect with dance in London, including a brief stint at Pineapple Dance.

“This was such an honour and it meant that I could spend nearly a month in London developing my dance skills alongside other dance professionals” he says.

“I now hope to be able to use my experiences in my own professional dance work, especially in collaboration with other Wales based dancers.”

It’s not all easy though, and earlier this year Craig dealt with one of the worst things for a dancer — injury.

“I have been very lucky to have had minimal injuries over the past decade,” he said.

“I am pleased to say I am well on my way to a full recovery, feeling stronger than ever.”

Now he hopes to use that strength to foster the talent he sees all around him in Wales.

“What is most exciting is seeing the young people I examine and teach becoming really good dancers themselves, it reminds me that with enough hard work and self-belief – anything is possible.”