Looking Back at Central’s 40th Anniversary Year

Central’s 40th anniversary year has come to a close, with a week of performances at the Britten Theatre offering a celebratory finish for students and staff. In celebration of the end of this special year, Central is looking back at some of the highlights from another year of training.

In September 2022, Central welcomed a new cohort of students to its Foundation Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. Dancers joined the school from around the country and the world to begin their full-time training. First year student, Mackenzie Long from Australia, spoke about her experience joining the School: “Deciding to move to the UK and to join Central has turned out to be an amazing decision. Since arriving at Central I’ve been welcomed with open arms, been coached by amazing tutors, danced in the incredible new facilities, and met an amazing group of friends.”

Central also welcomed a new Ballet Central Company into the third year, ready to tour the country. In the Autumn term, dancers were able to get their first insight into life in a company, with a trip to visit Birmingham Royal Ballet. The day offered the chance to meet Principal Dancer Céline Gittens and Assistant Director, Dominic Antonucci, tour the company’s studios, watch a tech rehearsal and performance of Coppélia, and ask questions about how to succeed in one of the country’s top ballet companies.

Dancers in the first and second year were also given the opportunity to gain insight into life in a professional ballet company with visits to technical rehearsals for Northern Ballet’s Three Short Ballet’s and The Great Gatsby at the Royal Opera House.
Three final year students were able to gain further industry experience, taking on roles in English National Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker. Nina Aizawa, Anna McCoy, and Jasmine Whitford each performed in thirty shows over four weeks in the classic ballet’s Waltz of the Snowflakes, the Russian Dance and the Spanish Dance. The entire year group also benefitted from workshops given in School by English National Ballet’s Artistic Coordinator, Jennie Harrington.

There have been many opportunities for performance throughout the year for all students both in Central’s Gable Studio Theatre and externally. Performances celebrating the end of the Autumn and Summer terms allowed friends and family the chance to come together and see the students demonstrate the development of their technical and artistic capabilities.

With a 40-year history of training dancers for an ever-evolving dance industry, Central celebrates this milestone birthday and looks forward to seeing many more years of talented dancers pass through its doors.