An interview with Aimee Butler, Dance Captain at Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Meet the Experts
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Behind the scenes of the any theatre always seems a mysterious, out-of-bounds area, where you wonder what goes on behind the scenes. Aimee Butler, a Dance Captain from Blackpool, works onboard Seven Seas Voyager - we found out just what it's like to be a dancer onboard a cruise ship.

'I started dancing when I was about 6 years old, doing Jazz, Ballet and Tap and then stopped for a while. I returned to it but only as a hobby and didn't really take it seriously on a professional level until I was about 17 years old. College didn't work out for me, so I applied to the Preston Dance College and received training in Professional Dancing & Teaching. The College encourages us to take auditions and Jean Ann Ryan productions (JAR) were auditioning. I was auditioned early in 2011 and was so happy to receive a call offering me a contract.'

It is one thing to be a dancer on board a cruise ship, but being Dance Captain brings a whole new level of responsibility. Every performance is filmed and it's the dance captain's role to watch the films after each show and make notes of anything that may not have gone to plan, such as lighting issues, spacing or choreography, and report back. Before each performance, a dress run and a technical run in the morning resolve any issues from the previous show. And of course it is essential to make sure everyone is healthy and happy.

In addition to doing a job you love, you get to see the world, and do some other 'entertainment' duties too, so the role can be quite varied. You get to know the guests on a personal level, sometimes joining them for dinner or going on tours.

We asked Aimee about the parts of her job she was not so keen on, but her overwhelmingly positive attitude to the job made us realise Regent Seven Seas was a great company to work with. We wondered if being so far from home was a problem?

'I'm fine, it's my first time living away from home (college was quite local), but a lot of the cast members moved out at 16 to go to dance college. I speak to my family regularly and keep in touch via Facebook and Skype and I saw them last August when the ship docked in Holyhead. They're very supportive of me. My main adjustment to being away from home is that I miss driving. I love driving! I drive everywhere. So, I do miss my car.'

Working on board a ship is notoriously hard work, and we know that many people use their time off to catch up on their sleep. But Aimee's perfect day off would be something really busy - going to visit the Egyptian pyramids and riding a camel or going on an excursion to the ancient city of Petra. Travelling the world certainly is the perfect job for her.

Uprooting yourself from everything you know and setting forth for an overseas contract is quite a daunting thought. We asked Aimee how it felt.

'I think Regent Seven Seas Cruises is amazing. I'd never been on a cruise ship before, so I didn't know what to expect although I'd seen the website and photos. However, should I not get another contract, I don't think I'd really want to go any other cruise line. We are all treated so well here and there's such a friendly atmosphere behind the scenes, even with the crew members you don't know or see on a regular basis. It's just such a positive environment to be in. So for the short term, I definitely want another contact and maybe on one of the other two ships in the fleet.'

Early memories of being abroad certainly prepared Aimee for her career: she used to travel with her grandparents to Majorca, Ibiza or mainland Spain, where she was the star performer in the Kids Club.

Nowadays, she takes the opportunity to join Regent excursions whenever she can. Although they are included in the fare, they are often quite out of the ordinary, and Aimee's favourite has been sea kayaking in Tallinn, Estonia.

'Everyone kayaked to a little island and had a picnic.' Then just as they set off to head back, an almighty storm came with hail and heavy rain.

Not even Regent is able to control the weather!


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Edwina Lonsdale
Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and, together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising.

More about Edwina

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