Central School Of Ballet

Undergraduate students take part in online HIIT class

Thursday 2nd April 2020 Anita Hamilton writes:

100 Central undergraduate students took part in a digital HIIT class delivered by Anna Brodrick, Head of Medical Services via Zoom. This blast of exercise resulting in a flood of endorphins is a wonderful way to start the day and part of a Health at Home initiative, in the new Centrally Connected programme. Anna reported huge enthusiasm from our dance students who are back at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: "Students are remaining active and connected to one another from their homes across the world. Their wellbeing is a core focus of training at Central and group exercise provides a positive hub of energy, Sharing the activity with others keeps motivation high. It was marvellous to see so many take part - I look forward to many more sessions like this while we are separated from one another."

Students are receiving online personal physiotherapy sessions where needed and all undergraduates are given guidance on nutrition and training goals. This reflects the support that they usually receive as part of their Foundation level and BA programmes at Central's studios in Herbal Hill.


Centrally Connected - teaching and learning in response to COVID-19

Wednesday 1st April 2020 Anita Hamilton writes:

Central closed its studios in Herbal Hill in Clerkenwell two weeks ago on 17th March. Quite apart from the UK Government directive our aim was then, and continues to be now, concern for the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and guests as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In just two weeks we have developed a new online programme called Centrally Connected which offers through remote learning a range of practical support, academic teaching sessions and tutorials including: live exercise and movement sessions, one-to-one physiotherapy advice, supported contextual studies, and study skill sessions, complemented by a series of master classes and special events connecting the students with the School, each other, and the wider dance world. This new programme will build in the summer term extending the activity and number of sessions. The aim is to support the students’ on-going studies and practical work towards meeting the learning outcomes of our degree programmes.

Our current plan is to run the Centrally Connected online programme over the summer term whilst being ready to Herbal Hill if and when circumstances permit. The early dates for the Ballet Central 2020 Tour have now been cancelled but we will, however, look for opportunities to perform later dates or dates rescheduled after the current restrictions have been lifted.

Our goal of moving to our new premises The Countess of Wessex Studios in the London Borough of Southwark in the autumn term 2020 continues.

We are liaising closely with the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama and the University of Kent, as well as following the advice of the Office for Students, Public Health England and related UK Government guidance.

I am grateful to everyone at Central and the support and understanding of the wider dance community during this difficult time.

Mark Osterfield,

Executive Director

Important update from Central - Covid-19 response

Tuesday 17th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

In line with the latest UK government guidance following the Covid-19 outbreak, and as part of our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students, staff and guests, Central has decided to close its studios in Herbal Hill, Clerkenwell as from 5.30pm this evening 17th March 2020. This closure affects Central Nights classes and Junior and Associate School classes with immediate effect. All staff, following this evening’s closure, will be working remotely.

Students on the undergraduate Foundation and BA (top-up) degrees and the postgraduate MA programme are being advised about continuing training and academic study on a remote basis.

The undergraduate student auditions scheduled for later this week 21st/22nd March have been cancelled and all those involved will be contacted separately about alternative arrangements.

Updates on future Central Nights classes will be publicised on Central’s website centralschoolofballet.co.uk and on social media channels. Junior and Associate School students will be informed via email.

The forthcoming Spring Course scheduled for 4th April 2020 will not go ahead as planned. All Spring Course participants will be notified of alternative arrangements.

A decision about the forthcoming Ballet Central tour will follow in the next few days.

For more information from Public Health England about advice to the public following the Covid-19 outbreak see: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Central School of Ballet announces new MA Choreography programme participants

Thursday 12th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central School of Ballet has announced that former Royal Ballet choreographer Charlotte Edmonds and Matthew Bourne/Ballet Central dancer Natasha Chu have both joined the organisation’s renowned ballet focused MA Choreography programme. The MA takes 18 months on average to complete, providing the opportunity for professional choreographers to hone their skills, engage in research and develop their practice at the highest level.

Charlotte trained at The Royal Ballet Lower School and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. She was The Inaugural Young Choreographer at The Royal Ballet (2015 - 2018) and now works as a freelance dance-maker across Europe.

Natasha is a Central School of Ballet graduate gaining a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance in 2018. For the Ballet Central tour, she performed works by Matthew Bourne, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Gable, and choreographed a piece for the Central’s End of Year Show and later for Ballet Central. After graduating, she joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures for the world premiere of Romeo & Juliet, which toured the UK in 2019. She worked with Payne Productions on the research and development for Bluebeard: A Chamber’s Scent and later joined Arielle Smith’s Project Dot.

Louise Ainley, Central’s Director Higher Education Programmes said: “Central’s MA in Choreography continues to provide opportunities to make new work in a context where the art form of dance can be explored, interrogated and extended. The outstanding successes of our MA alumni is assurance that our postgraduate programme continues to support the career development of talent choreographers who in turn are making a significant impact on the dance profession.”

Good luck to outgoing director Heidi Hall

Friday 6th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central wishes all the best of luck to Heidi for the future after her final day as Director of Central School of Ballet.

Heidi has devoted much of her career to Central School of Ballet. She completed her dance training at Central in 1995 which led to a successful performance career. In 2012 Heidi returned to Central as Company Manager to Ballet Central, the organisation’s touring company. She was subsequently promoted to Deputy Director and then in September 2016 appointed as Director of Central School of Ballet. During her tenure she has notably spearheaded the campaign to raise £9m to fund the specific fit-out required for Central’s bespoke new building in Southwark.

Heidi will take on a role as Director of an educational foundation in Cambridge but will remain involved with Central and will join the Board of Governors in April 2020.

Central Success with Boys Move

Thursday 5th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

On Sunday 1 March, Central held its annual Boys Move day. Established in 2016, this year Central welcomed 30 boys age 8-18 years to take part in the day dedicated to inspiring boys to get into dance, led by all-male tutors and accompanied by all-male musicians.

Highlights of the day included a ballet class led by a member of Central’s Senior School Teaching Faculty; advanced ballet students also took part in a contact improvisation workshop led by Edd Arnold and Nicholas Tredrea and younger boys took part in hip-hop with Bismark Anobah and tumbling with Adam Pudney.

Male students from Central’s undergraduate degree course also assisted teachers throughout the day and took part in a series of ballet demonstrations, inspiring the participants by showcasing what they have been working on in school.

One participant said: “I attended last year and like the idea of being with other boys who share my passion for dance. The teachers are all really helpful and are keen to help you develop and grow as a dancer.”

Central also runs boys only ballet classes as part of the Junior School for ages 8-16 and for more advanced male students, annual auditions for the Associate Programme will take place on Saturday 30 May. The Associate Programme takes place on Saturdays throughout the year and is for secondary school students years 7-11 who wish to receive additional training and pursue ballet more seriously.

For further details about any of our boys courses, please contact Jo Hurst at jo.hurst@csbschool.co.uk

Central’s Musical Director Philip Feeney attracts critical acclaim for ‘The Cellist’

Wednesday 4th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

The Royal Ballet’s new short ballet The Cellist, choreographed by Cathy Marston, features music by Central’s Musical Director, Philip Feeney.

Whilst playing at the Royal Opera House, Philip Feeney’s score has been widely met with critical acclaim.

“Philip Feeney’s score stylishly weaves sections of du Pré’s famous repertoire (including the Elgar concerto) into his own composition.” The Stage

“lifted on the swell of Philip Feeney’s classics-referencing score” Time Out.

“Philip Feeney’s thrilling orchestral score” The Times

The Cellist is the latest in a series of rewarding collaborations between Philip Feeney and Cathy Marston, including the critically acclaimed Victoria which received its world premiere by Northern Ballet in 2019.

Central School of Ballet announces naming of new Southwark building in honour of patron HRH The Countess of Wessex

Thursday 27th February 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central announced on 27th February 2020, that its new bespoke premises in Paris Garden in the London Borough of Southwark, part of the South Bank arts community, will be named after the school’s Royal Patron, HRH The Countess of Wessex. The Countess visited Paris Garden during the morning of 27th February, met students, staff and supporters, and unveiled a plaque for the new building which will now be known as “The Countess of Wessex Studios”. This reflects Central’s sincere gratitude for the continued interest and support provided by Her Royal Highness for the project and its broad objectives for exemplary dance industry training and benefit to the local community.

Students on Central’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes will begin using the new South Bank premises during the summer term in a phased move from the school’s existing home in Clerkenwell, with the school being fully operational there in the new academic year in September.

The new Paris Gardens premises will feature amenities to rival dance training facilities anywhere in the UK; seven studios, a fully equipped studio theatre, study and resource centres. The fit-out will include a state-of-the-art health suite providing psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy, Pilates and recovery from injury programme. The aim is to become a hub for a dynamic dance community combining excellence in dance training for those aiming for a professional career and a programme of opportunities for the local Southwark community.

Heidi Hall, Director of Central School of Ballet, said: “Our much-anticipated move will allow Central to provide exceptional facilities to match our world-class training for the benefit of our degree level students, for young people with an early passion for dance and the wider community to enjoy for exercise or recreation. Bringing everyone together in one place has been a long-held aim and we are forever grateful to The Countess for her support and enthusiasm as our Royal Patron.”

Heidi continued: “We also appreciate Southwark Council and Cllr Peter John for their support of Central’s work, and are thankful for all our loyal supporters who have believed in our passion and determination to deliver this project.”

Design for Dance collaboration with Central Saint Martins

Monday 24th February 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

This term, second-year students at Central have been collaborating with students at Central Saint Martins on the annual Design for Dance project.

All second-year students are required to create a piece of choreography for the choreography module on the BA programme. Five of these students have been paired with second-year students at Central Saint Martins to collaborate on the design for their pieces, including costumes and lighting. This year, the students taking part are Alessia Bartoletti, Lucy Gerrard, Olivia Johnstone, Sam Banks and Jake Tang.

Students from Rambert School and London Studio Centre have also taken part in the project.

The project concludes with a series of performances at The Platform Theatre 26-29 February.

Email platformboxoffice@arts.ac.uk to book tickets.

Central students performing with English National Ballet principal Alina Cococjaru

Friday 21st February 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Jake Milston, Brandon Bache, Joe Watson, Ryu Maeda, Alfie McPherson and Eri Zyla will perform in Frederick Ashton’s iconic Marguerite and Armand beside the world-renowned ballerina in her self-titled show at Sadler’s Wells this week.

The programme also includes a variety of other classical pieces and contemporary works by Tim Rushton, Juliano Nunes and Johan Kobborg. The performances will be interspersed by short films about Cojocaru’s life and career.

“This is a wonderful learning opportunity for some of our second and third year boys. Particularly as the third years prepare for the Ballet Central tour, the chance to perform beside Alina Cocojaru on a professional stage and rehearse in a professional environment is invaluable. The BA degree programme at Central is designed to prepare students for future employment and our students take part in many events and performances such as this throughout their degree. Thank you again to Alina Cocojaru and Sadler’s Wells for inviting our students to perform.” Christopher Marney, Artistic Director

Book tickets to see the show here.

For more details about Central’s BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance, please see here.

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