Former Harry Potter actor takes dance ensemble to a US University

Former Harry Potter actor and KU Director of Studies of Dance and Drama, Jason Piper, created a world premier dance ensemble.


Kaia Tufteland


Former Harry Potter actor and KU Director of Studies of Dance and Drama, Jason Piper, created a world premier dance ensemble for a US University.


Jason Piper has created a dance ensemble with students and faculty members at Appalachian State University for their Spring Appalachian Dance ensemble (SADE) which was showcased at Valborg Theatre.


Mr Piper said: “The Universities were talking to each other and they sent some staff over on an exchange. Myself and the co-director of studies ran a workshop to some of their theatre students, which went really well.


“Then they got in touch and asked if I would do a short residency and I said yes,” Mr Piper said.


A different experience


Mr Piper, who has been running the dance department at Kingston for six years, was over in Boone, North Carolina from February 2-16.


He described the experience at Appalachian State University as fabulous and also noticed some differences in UK and US students taking dance at university.


“The American students are very enthusiastic. There used to be a queue of students after each class to say thank you and shake my hand, more often than not to ask for additional individual feedback. That is a massive difference.


“We have great students but we do still have this British mentality for information to be handed out rather than go and get the information.”


Big screen star


Mr Piper has been in the dance industry for 20 years and besides from teaching and choreographing he has appeared in the ballet Swan Lake as well as featured in the role of Bane in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.


“It’s the most money I’ve ever earned in my life for the least amount of screen time, it’s quite frankly embarrassing. As far as I could tell it was all cut out but I haven’t watched it myself to be honest,” he said.


Piper is currently working on a film with the Director of Studies of Music, Timothy Ewers. Mr Ewers has written a piece of music called Geometric Designs and they are making this into a film using professional and studying dancers and musicians from Kingston over Easter.


“That is going to be epic. I’m really excited about that and I’m determined to make that happen,” Mr Piper said.

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