Central School Of Ballet

Central to hold auditions in Tokyo, Japan

Friday 17th January 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central will once again travel to Tokyo, Japan to hold auditions for the three-year degree programme.

Artistic Director Christopher Marney and 1st Year Boys Tutor Christopher Hinton-Lewis will audition the hopeful dancers on February 8th and 9th.

Central has a long history of recruiting excellent students from Japan and have welcomed many Japanese dancers through its doors over the years.

Any dancers selected will join us for the academic year 2020/21 to study for a two-year Foundation Degree in Professional Dance and Performance, followed by a further year of training to complete a BA (Hons) Degree, both accredited by the University of Kent.

“Japanese student dancers show enormous commitment to training, work hard and are focused on achievement. These are qualities, along with the required talent, that are the pre-requisites for a career as a professional dancer. Central has been recruiting directly from Japan for nearly 30 years and interest continues to grow. We visit Japan every year and run master classes in ballet and contemporary dance with local dance schools in Japan so that potential students can learn about what we have to offer at Central and where our training may lead for future employment.” Christopher Marney, Artistic Director.

For further details (in Japanese), see the event page for the auditions here.

For any inquiries about the Japan auditions, please use the following contact form https://thewells.co.jp/contact

For details of our UK auditions, please see here.

Central School of Ballet students set to dazzle in English National Ballet’s Nutcracker this Christmas

Wednesday 11th December 2019 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Two Central School of Ballet students will appear in the English National Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker at the London Coliseum this Christmas.

Third year students Karya Duru and Emily Pohl will dance in iconic scenes such as the Russian dance and the Waltz of the Snowflakes in this classic Christmas ballet.

Karya and Emily are currently in the third year of their BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. As part of their degree, third year students form a touring company, Ballet Central, and often take on other professional commitments. This helps to prepare them for future employment in the dance industry.

Book tickets to see English National Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker at the London Coliseum from 11 December to 5 January here. For more details about our accredited degree programme, please see here.

Central Dancers Perform in Film ‘KES Reimagined’

Thursday 7th November 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

In August three Central graduates and students were invited to perform in Jonathan Watkins’ film KES: Reimagined. 2019 graduates, Jonathan Layton and David Stirrup and current student Brandon Brereton worked on the film over a four week period during the summer, performing in the Youth Ensemble.

Based on Barry Hines’ novel A Kestrel for a Knave the story tells of a disaffected youngster Billy Casper, who discovers a purpose in life when he finds a young kestrel which he trains. It was first adapted for the screen in 1969 by Ken Loach for the film Kes.

In 2014 Jonathan Watkins premiered his dance adaptation of the story at The Crucible in Sheffield and has gone onto create the film version KES: Reimagined, which will premiere on Thursday 7 November at Leeds International Film Festival.

Speaking of the experience, student Brandon Brereton says “The best part of the project was getting to work with and learn from a variety of people in different creative fields. I really learned the importance of versatility - It was amazing to see people I thought of only as dancers act and people who I had only seen act explore movement. Working in a professional environment has made me approach my daily classes from a different perspective, as I now better understand how what I am learning now will inform my performances with Ballet Central and as a professional dancer in the future.”

The film will be screened on 19th November at 22:00 on BBC Four.

Watch the official trailer here

Read Jonathan Watkins’ interview about the film with DanceTabs here.

The importance of Improvisation in dance training

Friday 18th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

As the first half-term of the 2019/20 academic year draws to a close we are reflecting on the inspirational Improvisation classes that guest tutor Laura Lorenzi led in the September warm-up week.

See below a Q&A with Laura who tells us more about the classes and the importance of this discipline in training to be a professional dancer.

How did you structure your classes?

"I began the classes by guiding the whole group through imagery and physical instruction, encouraging them to keep their attention and focus as they explored possibilities of movement. I then set them shorter tasks in smaller groups of twos, threes and fours. I promoted reflection and verbal exchange between them after each task was proposed."

What did the students respond particularly well to?

"The students clearly enjoyed working with the music and moving to different layers of the soundscape, approaching each with different qualities. Many also responded very well to improvising with their eyes closes, because they censored less what they were doing, feeling free of judgement. The students' technical training was very apparent from the way that they moved and many demonstrated a great versatility."

How does improvisation inform the students' classical and contemporary dance training at Central?

"Improvisation is a discipline that helps the students to connect to themselves and their personal way of moving in a way that complements their other technical training. It pushes the students to face fears and self consciousness, allowing them to feel comfortable taking risks while moving. Improvisation tasks also promote a different kind of attention and thought process. Cultivating the personality and uniqueness of these young dancers is essential to their success in the industry, both as performers and choreographers. Improvisation is one of the tools to start the process of self enquiry."

Laura trained at London Contemporary Dance School, and following graduation in 2015 has performed in works by Anders Duckworth, Quang Kien Van and many more. Laura is also one of the founding members of The Sparse Collective, a group of international dance artists who specialise in Improvisation into Performance; with whom she has performed internationally.

Find out more about Laura here

Applications for Foundation and BA degree programmes open

Friday 18th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Applications are now open for 2020 entry onto Central's Foundation and BA Degree programmes in Professional Dance and Performance, accredited by University of Kent.

Preliminary auditions will be held as follows:

Sunday 17 November 2019: Glasgow - The Dance School of Scotland

Sunday 8 December 2019: London – Central School of Ballet

Sunday 9 February 2020: London - Central School of Ballet

Sunday 16 February 2020: Leeds – Northern Ballet

Final auditions will take place on Sunday 22 March at Central School of Ballet in London.

Apply for the degree programmes here.

In Leeds, Glasgow and in London there will be Dance Days held the day prior to the audition for students age 12-16 years. This an excellent opportunity to experience Central's vocational training with classes including classical ballet and contemporary dance.

Apply for a Dance Day here.

Central students perform in Bulgari film

Thursday 17th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Six Central students star in Bulgari film ‘Serpenti’ celebrating the Bvlgari Heritage collection.

The film which premiered this summer in Rome at the “Bulgari – The Story, The Dream” exhibition was directed and produced by Not Flat 3 and choreographed by Central’s Creative Projects Manager Leanne King.

Nada Debaumont from Not Flat 3 says “In celebration of the Bulgari Heritage Collection the film focuses on how dance, the body, light and jewellery intertwine to create compelling, enchanting and fleeting visual moments. The mystic serpenti motif celebrates the brands iconic Roman heritage and is an entrancing symbol used to weave through Bulgari’s history.”

The film in which Central students (Erin King, Emily Pohl Keiko Tsuchiya, Ella Slingsby, Annabee Fleming and Runa Oka) perform movement and dance was recorded in March 2018 at Central Saint Martins.

Speaking about the choreography Leanne King says “I created short sections of movement so that they could be adjusted and changed to show off the jewellery to its best.”

Leanne continues “The project was an opportunity for the students to work and perform in an environment hugely different to what they are used to. They were required to perform the choreography multiple times for different takes, enabling them to experience a non-linear way of working. They were required to adapt quickly to new ideas and were encouraged to think for themselves.”

Central is committed to working collaboratively with external organisations and companies to give our students professional performance experience during their training.

Watch the film here.


Production and direction: Not Flat 3

Choreography: Leanne King

Photo credits: Calum Barlow

Live brief: Central Saint Martins

For: Bulgari

Central’s 2019/20 academic year commences

Tuesday 10th September 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Monday 9 September the first term of the 2019/20 academic year commenced. Central is pleased to have welcomed new and returning students who will be training on the Foundation and BA degree programmes in Professional Dance and Performance, accredited by the University of Kent.

Over the next two weeks all students will be participating in a unique warm-up timetable, designed to prepare them for the intense term of training, rehearsals and performances ahead. Classes the students will be taking over the next fortnight include: ballet, choreography, drama, yoga, Pilates, fitness and anatomy.

Pictured are the 2019/20 cohort of First Year students with ballet tutors Christopher Hinton-Lewis and Julia Ellis.

Central and the University of Exeter have joined forces to assess bone density and risk of fracture in young athletes

Wednesday 24th July 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

There is increasing interest in assessing bone density, the risk of stress fracture and related injury in athlete populations. Anna Brodrick, Central’s Head of Medical Services, joined forces with the University of Exeter on a research project comparing footballers with ballet dancers. Both athlete populations experience increased bone mass in heel bones as a result of their exercise training regimes. 15 male amateur academy, 25 male professional academy football players and 19 dancers form Central were assessed in the research.

The results showed that ballet dancers experienced fewer signs of increased bone density in their heel bones compared with amateur and professional footballers. The professional footballers showed the most effects of their high impact training regimes, followed by the amateur players (who were also younger) and then the dancers. It was noted that while dancers showed least impact on heel bone density their results are higher than the average population. The study concluded that further research is needed to assess bone vulnerabilities and the risk of injury to young athletes.

Participant organisations:

University of Exeter, Central School of Ballet, Southampton Football Club, South Dartmoor Community College Academy

Central students celebrate graduation

Friday 19th July 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Saturday 20 July, students on the BA hons degree programme in Professional Dance and Performance will perform their graduation solos. This is the culmination of their final year of training at Central, and an opportunity for them to showcase their individual talent, technique and artistry.

The performances will be followed by a graduation ceremony where they will be presented with their congratulatory certificates by guest speaker Jasmin Vardimon, Director of the Jasmin Vardimon Company. In the evening the students will perform the final UK date of the Ballet Central 2019 tour, also closing Central' Summer Performance week.

The graduation solos form part of the Dissertation Module of the BA degree. Having researched the work and written a dissertation, the performance is the final piece of assessed work the students complete at Central.

The students have been researching and rehearsing their graduation solos for the past year. We spoke to two students about their experiences:

Student Thomas Varney chose to research and perform the Franz Variation from Coppélia, choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon. Thomas says “The solo is the first time that the audience meet the character Franz. It is a grand entrance, including a lot of presentation with the aim to win over the audience. Learning the steps was quite a quick process, but it has been really important for me to perfect every single movement, ensuring that it is ingrained in my muscle memory. Working with different internal and external mentors was really helpful as they all focused on different aspects of my performance. Ashley Shaw focused on characterisation of the role and how I could bring artistry to it, whilst Central tutors Elia and Chris were focused on my technique and musicality. I am excited to work with the lighting designers and to stage and perform it in the Bloomsbury in front of my friends and family.”

Student Molly Shaw-Downie chose to research and perform a solo from Act 3 of Cinderella choreographed by Matthew Bourne. Bourne’s version is set during the Blitz and Molly’s solo takes place just after a horrific war scene. Molly says “I chose to perform this solo because I love how innovative Matthew Bourne’s choreography is, and it is a role I aspire to perform in the future. It is a solo that challenges me because the character is frantic, but it is important that my movements are clear and defined. It also allows me to demonstrate my strengths in portraying a character with emotion and theatricality. I was mentored by Ashley Shaw and Kate Lyons who have both performed the role. It was fantastic to work with them on characterisation and interpreting the intent behind each movement and its' significance. I am really excited to perform it at the Bloomsbury with the addition of lights and music, when I can fully immerse myself in the role.”

Central students perform graduation solos

Friday 12th July 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This afternoon Central's third year students performed their graduation solos in front of first and second year students and all staff.

This assessment forms part of the BA degree programme's Dissertation Module. For this they must research, develop and perform a solo from an existing ballet or contemporary repertoire. Following the selection of a solo the student undertakes extensive research to support the public performance of the solo to a high standard, including historical and cultural context costuming and rehearsal processes.

Students perform their solo twice; firstly at Central and secondly at the end of the annual Summer Performance week, before their final Graduation Ceremony and Tea, on Saturday 20 July at Bloomsbury Theatre.

Stay tuned, as next week we share some of the students' graduation solo stories!

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