Central’s class of 2021 graduate at the Britten Theatre

Central’s students on the three year degree course, the BA (Hons) Professional Dance & Performance, graduated this week at London’s Britten Theatre at the Royal College of Music. As part of the celebration of outstanding skills, artistry and talent, the students each performed a solo in a dance genre of their choice.  This performance piece also allows each one to demonstrate the extraordinary progress achieved through the degree course in front of live audiences.  A selection of the graduation solos:

  • Autumnus and Tantrum Fairy from Sleeping Beauty, choreography by Matthew Bourne, performed by Samuel Banks
  • Solor wedding variation from La Bayadere, choreography by Marius Petipa, performed by Matteo Zecca
  • 2nd Shade variation from La Bayadere, choreography by Marius Petipa, performed by Lucy Gerrard
  • The Quarter from Within the Golden Hour, choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, performed by Hannah Thirkettle
  • Dulcinea from Don Quixote, choreography by Marius Petipa, performed by Angela Albonetti
  • Victoria Page’s solo from The Red Shoes, choreography by Matthew Bourne, performed by Lucy Bishop-Laggett
  • 14’20” from 27’52”, choreography by Jiří Kylián, performed by Jake Tang
  • Wet Woman, Choreography by Mats Ek, performed by Koharu Kawakami

Central’s dancers live to perform so the opportunity to perform at graduation after a year of lockdowns and selectively training online while studios were closed has been especially welcome.  They are graduating as professional dancers ready to join dance companies in jobs and training contracts and with international musical theatre productions – many of whom have this next step in their careers already secured.

Mark Osterfield, Executive Director said: “We are particularly pleased to present this year’s Graduation Celebration after a year of lockdowns, theatre closures and students adapting to training and learning online.  It is has been a great joy to move into Central’s new home this term, The Countess of Wessex Studios in the South Bank arts community, as a fitting culmination of a year of our students’ hard work, determination, resilience and success.  Congratulations to you all.”

The final year cohort has been on tour with Ballet Central in recent months, a core part of their degree course, performing a broad range of repertoire in mid-size theatres across England to enthusiastic reviews.  The tour concluded at the Britten Theatre on 21st July just before graduation.  Christopher Marney, Artistic Director commented: “Throughout the three year degree course, and at the heart of the ethos of Central’s training, is the original vision of founder Christopher Gable – to challenge a student’s thought process.  Our dancers evolve from first year students through a stringent learning and training process, and by exposure to a professional dancer’s career through Ballet Central, they become company-ready performers at graduation.  This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate talent and artistry at all levels of Central’s training.”