Information for Auditionees

About The London Starlings

Brought together in early 2013, the London Starlings are one of the top chorus line and solo jazz troupes in Europe, specialising in vernacular jazz from the 20s – 40s. The Starlings are inspired by the African American chorus dancers of the Harlem Renaissance and the British chorus lines of the early 1900s. We are an all-female / femme troupe, and are a welcoming, safe space for women, non-binary, trans and genderqueer dancers of all ages and backgrounds. We have enjoyed competition success from performing across Europe under our former troupe name. We also perform in the community to share our joy and love of dance with others. We pledge to use our platform to celebrate the dance’s African American cultural heritage, to stand up against inequality, and to challenge racism. Our values can be viewed here.

About our Troupe Training and Class Structure

We have training sessions every Tuesday evening, 7pm – 9pm at our studio space at Gainsborough Studios in Hoxton. We may arrange some additional rehearsal sessions in the run up to competitions or performances.

Our training sessions are high-level solo jazz classes, focusing on vernacular jazz dances of the 20s, 30s and 40s. Formal dance education is not essential, but we will be looking for people with skills in musicality, rhythm, and performance. We are looking for dancers over the age of 18.

Cultural values of African American vernacular Jazz, such as community, musicality and improvisation are nurtured during training.

Training sessions start with warm up jazz circles involving improvisation and interaction. We have a number of drills that focus on flexibility, arm strength, core strength, balance, spinning and stamina.

Development classes focus on musicality, rhythm, tempo, storytelling and choreography. Education and styling classes focus on studying Black jazz and tap dancers, such as Norma Miller, Mabel Lee, John Bubbles, Al Minns and Leon James, and Marie Bryant.  We also love to spotlight Black female musicians in our song choices, such as International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams, and Mildred Bailey. When we have upcoming competitions and performances the classes focus on learning choreography, routine development, formations, and performance.

Troupe members contribute £45 per month to cover studio fees, teacher fees, competition entry fees and costumes. Troupe members will need to pay for their own travel and entry to the events where the competitions are held. We donate 10% of our member subscription contributions to Black community groups in line with our anti-racism and education pledge. We currently donate to IRIE! Dance Theatre in New Cross, South London.

We have a number of subsidised memberships available, and a number of free membership placements for those unable to afford the full subscription cost.

The Troupe’s Commitment to its Members

  • High-level training and dance development.
  • Engagement with the African American history of vernacular jazz dance.
  • Engagement with the movement and music of the women who pioneered vernacular jazz dances.
  • Innovative choreography.
  • Support for wellbeing during training (and outside of training – we’re a community).
  • Positive and supportive experiences when performing and competing.
  • Encouragement of creativity across all our activities.
  • Opportunities to compete at the highest level of swing and vernacular jazz competitions.
  • Lots of fun, humour and joy!

Our Member’s Commitment to the Troupe

  • Members engage with the African American history of vernacular jazz dance.
  • Members actively and intentionally strive to be anti-racist in their exploration of jazz roots.
  • Members support each other’s dancing and performance.
  • Members support each other’s wellbeing during training (and outside of training – we’re a community).
  • Members bring their joy of dance and movement to the Troupe.
  • Members commit their time to the Troupe training sessions.
  • Members will let the admin team know of any booked holidays or needed time away from training in advance.
  • Members will let the admin team know of any absence due to sickness before 12pm on the day of training.
  • We have 5 sub-committees within the Troupe to support our performances and community. Members are expected to be part of at least one group. These groups are:
    • BLM and Education
    • Welfare and Socials
    • Costumes, Props and Set
    • Finance
    • Social Media and Marketing

How to Register for Auditions

Our Audition Registration Website is now open. Click here to register.