ellis dances down a street wearing a suit in a promo shot

Alumni Interview / Performers College / Take The Stage

Take the Stage – Ellis Harman, Performers College

11th June 2024

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Take the Stage is our series where we catch up with graduates from our Performing Arts schools, Performers College, ICTheatre, and Northern Ballet School. This week we’re catching up with Ellis Harman, dancer, model, and Performers College Trinity Professional Diploma graduate on what he’s been up to since graduating.

What is an average day like in your current role?

My work is in the crossover between modelling and dancing. Either in commercials, campaigns or dancing for TV and Film. When I’m doing an on camera role, my day begins in Hair and Make up, which is where I find out the details of what I’m shooting that day. Fashion and commercial production can move very quickly and bookings can happen directly without going through a casting session so you have very little information – though you can research the brand and director/photographer for an rough idea of what they’ll be looking for.

Then I’m into wardrobe, being introduced to the director and photographer and onto set. Now the fun begins – listening to what the director wants and trying to apply myself to that, while also quickly showing him options of what I can do for that shot/look. A lot of it is movement based, so I often have to pull from a variety of styles to fit the brief.

If I’m working behind camera as a movement director I have more prep time, and on the day it’s about blending the capabilities of the model/actor/dancer with the aspirations of the director. Not intruding with my ideas but moulding what is available to improve the result.

Ellis sits in a make up chair surrounded by make up

What is your top advice to current students and other up-and coming performers?

Be open to everything. Where I ended up and where I thought I would be are very different; know your strengths but don’t close yourself off to things just because you feel awkward. Get used to feeling uncomfortable and push yourself so when a client asks for something different, you’re able to say yes. If you aren’t willing to be versatile, you’re limiting your work before you even start.

Why is collaboration important in creative industries, and what would your number one collaboration tip be?

So many of the jobs I’ve done are because of connections made along the way; recommendations from people I may not have seen in years – including my teachers at college.

My number one tip would be to say yes to every opportunity you can. Take a class with a friend even when you’re tired, help someone with a passion project, go to see shows big and small, even social events. All of which have made connections that led to work. I have even modelled for a brand because I put their store front on my Instagram story. My entire career is full of stories like this, so say yes to anything that comes up and be positive when talking about others, because hopefully when there’s a chance they will do the same for you.

Ellis views dancers through a camera as movement director

What was your biggest take away from your time at performers college?

Whatever the Job is, the fundamental principles are the same. What makes you a good student is what makes you a good performer to work with. You should arrive on time (which is 15 minutes before they told you to be there!) and research beforehand. Be prepared, positive and professional. Apply corrections straight away, practice when you aren’t needed and be humble. None of these cost money or have anything to do with your ability or experience, but they give you the best space to work in, then you can really hit the ground running.

When I first left college, I was asked to dance on Strictly Come Dancing. I had never formally trained in Latin and Ballroom, but we had done a lot of partner work at Performers and I knew how to emulate the style. So I watched the pros, asked questions and it’s a job I did for many years.

I didn’t know my toe leads from my heel leads at the start, but I turned up first, I held the door open for people and I rehearsed while waiting for my section. Professionalism first!

ellis is frozen in mid air as he leaps towards a womanw who is smiling

What are you up to next?

I’ve just been in a  Corporate Job in Berlin at the end of May, ans since then its been on to the next job, and the next… Commercial Dance work is always changing, a two day commercial here, a five day corporate dance job there, one day as a movement director – The ever changing nature of our industry is what I have always loved about it.

Embrace the uncertainty – it can all change from day to day and you never know what could be next!

To discover more about Performers College, including auditions and how to apply, contact us at [email protected] or book an Open Day on our Events page.


BIMM University

BIMM University provides an extensive range of courses in modern music, performing arts, filmmaking, and creative technology to over 8,000 students across 14 schools in the UK, Ireland, and Germany. We have a long-standing commitment to providing the highest quality in creative industries education, allowing students to maximise their career potential in an inclusive community built on a culture of shared passion, creativity, and collaboration. Berlin | Birmingham | Brighton | Bristol | Dublin | Essex | London | Manchester