A serving soldier will star in a dance show coming to Perth next month.
Choreographer Rosie Kay has been presenting 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline for eight years but this is the first time a real trooper has taken part.
Alex Smith, a trooper in 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, has been dancing since he was six years old and trained professionally at Jason Thomas Performing Arts in Cornwall and Northern Ballet School before joining the army.
Now the 22-year-old from South Wales is donning his ballet shows to star in the production, which takes an honest look at at how war can leave a lasting legacy on those who fight.
Alex said: “I found it quite easy making the transition into the army.
“The fitness from dancing kind of gave me a bridge for becoming a serving soldier because I was already one of the fittest people in training.
“There are similarities between the two. You have to have a lot of self-discipline to be a dancer. You turn up to class with absolute focus, determination and commitment and then you go and do whatever else after.
“And it’s the same with the army. You wake up in the morning, you go to physical training, you do your work and then you finish – but when you’re doing your work, you’re really doing it. You’re there 110%.”
5 Soldiers will be in Perth Theatre for just one night, on February 5.
Rosie spent two weeks on manoeuvres with 4th Battalion the Rifles, near Salisbury, and spoke to injured soldiers as part of her research.
The show was first launched at the peak of the UK’s conflict with Afghanistan and received a mixed response but has since become more popular, which Rosie puts down to changing attitudes towards veterans.
“We were still at war when 5 Soldiers was first created and I think it was really harrowing for people because we were still in it,” she said.
“We decided to tour it again in 2015 and I revised it – at that point I felt much more confident of telling the real story of those people in the show, of really going into more detail into what I’d encountered in the research.
““It makes you realise the horror, but also the humanity. War is a human act that we do to another.
“War across the centuries takes place on the human body – even now with all the technologies, it’s still the human body at the centre.”