Central School Of Ballet

Summer Term Masterclass Series – new initiative for students under lockdown

Thursday 2nd July 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

One of the highlights of the summer term has been the exceptional Masterclass Series created to provide final year undergraduate students with access to some of the most influential and renowned figures in the dance industry.

These virtual Q&A sessions allowed students to listen to advice, insights and the experiences of legendary choreographers, artistic directors and world-leading dancers. Students were able to ask questions and explore thinking as well as seek direction about their future careers while gaining current insight into the theatrical world.

The participating dance industry leaders in Central’s Masterclass Series included:

  • Matthew Bourne OBE: Artistic Director of New Adventures
  • Christopher Hampson: CEO & Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet
  • Cassa Pancho MBE: Founder & Artistic Director of Ballet Black & Patron of Central School of Ballet
  • David Nixon OBE: Choreographer & Artistic Director of Northern Ballet
  • Xander Parish OBE: Principal dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet
  • Lesley Collier CBE & Guy Niblett: Repetiteur, Coach & Former Principals of the Royal Ballet
  • Leanne Cope: West-End & Broadway star of 'An American in Paris'
  • Wayne McGregor CBE: Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor
  • Alina Cojocaru: Lead Principal at English National Ballet
  • Kate Lyons: Dancer with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures

Ella Slingsby, Final Year student said: “The masterclass Q&A sessions have been extremely insightful. I have gained valuable information which I can take with me in my professional career. Each speaker has inspired and influenced me as an artist. I will never forget this special experience in my final term.”

Christopher Marney, Artistic Director, commented: “Central is committed to introducing our young dancers to industry professionals in order to make essential connections before they reach employment. Even though our studio doors are currently closed, students continue to gain prominent industry expertise while back at home all over the world.”

Final Year students feature in Dance Europe film about coping with lockdown

Wednesday 20th May 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Dance Europe, the international dance magazine published in London, has released a film about 10 dance students from around the world, giving each the chance to tell their stories of being in lockdown. Two of Central’s students were selected to participate, Kate Hester and Sara McGovern, both final year students on the BA (Hons) Degree programme. Central is the only UK based school featured in the film.

Both Kate and Sara spoke about the opportunities offered through the new Centrally Connected programme that provides online teaching, training and learning for 120 students despite the studios in Herbal Hill being temporarily closed. All the students, from all the prestigious schools, talk about missing being in class in person and the opportunity to perform. They talk about how they are coping with uncertainty of the coronavirus and the importance of maintaining contact with others while training at home.

Kate is featured in the opening credits of the film.

You can view the film on YouTube here: Dancing Under Lockdown

Central begins online classes for its first virtual summer term

Monday 27th April 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Last week, Central started the summer term in a different guise from what we usually expect at this time of year. Central’s tutors and guest contributors are continuing to teach Foundation, BA and MA programme students even though they are back home in the UK and in countries worldwide. The new Centrally Connected initiative, developed at the end of the spring term after Central closed its studios in Herbal Hill, now offers students training, teaching and learning through a comprehensive online timetable.

Through remote learning students can access 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. In order to fully support overseas students, Central is also concurrently running a separate timetable to account for time differences in teaching. In total, 117 students from 12 different countries will benefit from this programme to support their ongoing studies.

In addition, an online programme of activity to support Associate and Junior School students commenced last week to include ballet, contemporary, Pilates, HIIT and character classes.

“As part of our Centrally Connected online programme, last week we commenced online classes for the first time in the school’s history. The wellbeing of our students continues to be a primary focus. Through virtual contact time we can continue to support them and their ongoing studies to meet the learning outcomes of our programmes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff who have worked tirelessly to deliver these activities and the students for their continued engagement during these unprecedented times.” Executive Director, Mark Osterfield.

123 dancers submitted their final auditions via video

Thursday 9th April 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

The last few weeks have seen a lot of change and that extends to the way Central carries out its audition process for the Foundation & BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. As auditions were no longer able to be held in person, all finalists were asked to submit their auditions digitally. Central supported applicants through this change in process and as a result received video auditions from 123 aspiring dancers who had made it to the final round of this competitive degree programme. The quality of submissions was very high and the artistic staff were impressed by the range of talent displayed by the young artists.

All audition videos have now been reviewed and successful applicants are due to be informed of the result of their submissions ahead of the Easter break.

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

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

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.

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 validated 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.

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