Central School Of Ballet

Stories from the Ballet Central tour… Spotlight on dancer, Chelsea Wewege

Monday 17th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

My home is in South Africa and I came to London specifically to train at Central. It was a huge change, moving away from my home and my family to a city so far away. Becoming a professional dancer was something I had looked forward to my whole life and it was almost surreal to join a full-time ballet school. Being away from my family was challenging and I was sometimes homesick and lonely when I first arrived. It was quite hard to fit in as a foreigner in a city that is so huge but being at Central and being able to dance all day, every day, filled this gap and gave me a goal and a focus.

Performing with Ballet Central is the culmination of all the training and it has been the highlight of my time at Central. We perform a wide variety of repertoire and having the chance to tour to such a range of places and see different towns and cities is a great experience for somebody from outside the UK. I love performing and being on tour with Ballet Central has provided a huge insight into the life of a professional.

I have performed various roles including an Enchanted Bird in House of Birds, I am the freedom girl, and in the ensemble (In-between), I have also performed roles in Valses Nobles et Sentimentales but my favourite repertoire is Carousel Dances and playing the role of Louise. I love being able to dig deep and develop my character. And it’s good to have the chance to explore how to connect with the other dancers to create a promising story line on stage. The choreography in Carousel Dances is uplifting and it’s such an enjoyable piece to perform so I always have such a fun time in this piece.

Part of the learning in the final year is over-coming different challenges, possibly things you had not encountered before. Learning how to pack efficiently and organise what to take to each venue is always a challenge. Being on the road requires you to include everything you need to be productive but also to limit yourself, so you’re not overburdened. Injuries are another challenge, it is important to be careful in all aspects of tour - whilst rehearsing, performing and also during the get-in and get-out of the theatre. Managing how tired you are at times is also important as we don't always have a lot of time off. This has given me the chance to learn how to pace my body and find strength and perseverance to work through each day so that I can perform to my best.

We’re all learning that there is so much more to putting on a production that the show itself. We spend time with the wardrobe department, with the lighting and stage teams and this makes us more than dancers, we become experienced in many areas of the theatre.

It has also been interesting to see how touring works and has given me an insight into performing with a touring company in the future.

My overall experience has been very positive. I am learning so much during the tour and have been able to grow and develop as a person and a dancer. I am looking forward to graduation and the next stage of my career, hopefully with many more performing opportunities.

Photography by ASH

Pictured: Chelsea Wewege performing as a Showgirl in Christopher Marney's Carousel Dances.

The Ballet Central tour continues to tour across the UK until 20 July. Find your nearest venue and book now on www.balletcentral.co.uk

Stories from the Ballet Central tour… Spotlight on dancer, Natsuho Matsumoto

Friday 7th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

What has been the highlight of touring with Ballet Central?

I have really enjoyed the range of performing experiences we gain with Ballet Central. Being able to see the audience and how much they enjoyed our performance very closely is rewarding. And working hard with friends as a team means we have developed a sense of unity which I believe has improved our performance. It’s exciting on stage and off stage. We have to do other jobs besides dancing including the get-in and get-out at each venue we visit. It’s helpful to learn how much effort is involved in putting on a show.

Travelling outside of London has been such an exciting experience too. I have very few opportunities to get out of London other than the tour, so it has been lovely to see some more of England.

What are the roles you perform, and which are your favourites, and why?

I have performed Louise in Carousel Dances, and the roles of one of the lovers and the Enchanted Bird in 'House of Birds'. I have also performed in (in between) and Valses Nobles et Sentimentales. My favourite role is Louise in Carousel Dances because the performance requires the dancer to express a great range of emotions and there’s a strong story to tell. There’s a level of excitement in this piece created by other dancers (characters). It’s joyful and almost feels like as if I am actually in a circus, and living the role, which always makes me have goosebumps.

What challenges have you had to overcome on the tour?

The biggest challenge is to maintain health while we travel long distances as performance dates are close to each other. I have realised how important it is to look after myself in order to continue the hard work of performing.

Can you describe what you have learned from the touring/ performing experience that will help you in your professional career?

When it comes working professionally, I think this summarises everything that’s important: to be caring about others. This means to be helpful, to be kind to others and to look after each other, which I believe improves efficiency of the show’s preparation and how good the performance is. Having to adapt the repertoire to meet the size of the stage in different venues is a great learning experience – it’s about safety and the performance.

What has it been like to live and train in London? – Have there been any particularly challenges you have had to overcome and any highlights you would like to share?

It has been very exciting to live and train in London. Being close to major theatres means I have been able to see so many inspiring productions including newest dance performances by a variety of companies.

Looking back over the past three years of my degree I realise I have experienced both good things and challenges, but every single experience has made me grow as a person. I am glad I have spent such a precious time here in London at a key time in my life even though it has required being away from home. During the training here I have been able to have time to reflect my experiences and consider how to achieve my goals and take a step up to the next stage in my career.

Although writing essays has been hard, it has actually helped me to become an independent thinker and more sensible. Now I am about to finish my student life and I will start working professionally in a company, which I could never imagine when I first came to Central. I am incredibly thankful for my family, friends, and teachers and the staff at Central as I couldn’t come this far without their strong support.

Pictured: Natusho Matsumoto and Alexander Fadayiro performing in Christopher Marney's 'Carousel Dances'.

The Ballet Central tour continues to tour across the UK until 20 July. Find your nearest venue and book now: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Stories from the Ballet Central tour… Spotlight on dancer, Callum McGregor

Monday 3rd June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

What I have gained from touring with Ballet Central…..

Being on tour is hard; it challenges your dance abilities and demands an appreciation of working with a big cast to become one body of movement.

I have learnt so much to help with my future career. The intensive weeks of rehearsing Jasmin Vardimon's (in between) were very demanding and I had to learn how much energy every movement needs as well as how to protect and adapt so my body can cope with the performance. Knowing your own body and when to allow yourself to rest so that you can perform to your best is very important.

My favourite roles are the Dying Swan solo by Calvin Richardson and performing the role of Cosmo in Christopher Marney’s Carousel Dances. Being on stage alone as the Dying Swan is quite special, absorbing the energy of the audience and using it to fuel my performance. And as Cosmo, it’s such a fun and vibrant piece to perform, you can’t help but smile and really enjoy the time on stage.

The next stage in my career….

I’m really excited to move on to join a professional company. This year has really prepared me for my chosen dance career, so the next step doesn’t feel like a big leap into the unknown. I am looking forward to seeing more of the world and experience more repertoire.

Following graduation from Central, Callum will be joining Canada's Ballet Jörgen in Toronto.

Pictured: Callum McGregor performing Cosmo in Christopher Marney's Carousel Dances.

The Ballet Central tour continues to tour across the UK until 20 July. Find your nearest venue and book now: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Stories from the Ballet Central tour… Spotlight on dancer, Olivia Boyd

Thursday 30th May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

What I have gained from touring with Ballet Central…

The highlight of the tour for me has been the opportunity to perform some amazing roles in front of family and friends. The tour visited my home county of Suffolk and many of the people who I know saw how much I have achieved through my training. When we were in Bury St Edmunds BBC’s Look East programme filmed rehearsals and interviewed some of the local students from the area. This was my first experience of live TV. It was a nerve-racking but an amazing experience, which gave my family and friends at home the chance to see what I was doing. I’ve also been interviewed on local radio and appeared in a few different newspapers in my area. This has helped me in my career – I was challenged to do something I would not usually do, and this has helped to boost my confidence.

Being on tour over five months means we have to face quite a few challenges. I am now conscious of the need to self-correct and to stay focused during our short warm up classes on stage, because we are so busy on tour we don’t have as many technique classes, and it’s really important not to lose our technique.

The tour allows us to perform many different roles across the repertoire. My favourite is the girl in 'House of Birds' as I love performing pas de deux and feel I can really get into the character within the piece. I also enjoy being the lead girl in 'Valses Nobles et Sentimentales' as well as performing as the hula girl in 'Carousel Dances'. The variety of roles means I can bring something different to each piece and practice a range of techniques.

One thing I have gained through the Ballet Central tour is how to cope with my nerves. As I have been lucky enough to perform a few demanding but amazing roles I have learnt the best way to cope with them and still perform to the best of my ability.

The Ballet Central tour continues to tour across the UK until 20 July. Find your nearest venue and book now: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Pictured: Olivia Boyd and Joseph Beretta performing The Lovers duet from Kenneth MacMillan's 'House of Birds'

Ballet Central 2019 reviewed in May issue of Dance Europe

Thursday 25th April 2019 writes:

The reviews of the Ballet Central 2019 show are in! Pick up the May edition of Dance Europe to read Gerard Davis' triple-page review of the Ballet Central 2019 tour!

Described as "a cracking watch" and a "truly entertaining night", view the new Ballet Central 2019 trailer here.

View all tour dates and book tickets for a performance near you: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Ballet Central 2019 tour trailer goes live

Monday 15th April 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Ballet Central's 2019 tour trailer is now live. Click here, to watch the trailer made by Laurent Liotardo on Ballet Central's YouTube channel.

Filmed at the beginning of the tour at Stratford Circus Arts, the trailer offers a taste of what audiences across England can expect to see in this year's show. Featuring excerpts from all of the repertoire on this year's tour including; Christopher Marney's Carousel Dances, Frederick Ashton's Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, Jasmin Vardimon's (in between), Calvin Richardson's Dying Swan and Kenneth MacMillan's House of Birds, the trailer highlights the talent and artistry of the Ballet Central dancers.

Book tickets for upcoming performances: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Ballet Central featured on BBC Look East

Friday 12th April 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Thursday evening Ballet Central was featured on BBC Look East live from Theatre Royal, Bury St. Edmunds where they later performed.

The feature included interviews with Artistic Director Christopher Marney and Ballet Central dancers local to the area as well as clips from company class and rehearsals.

The feature highlighted upcoming Ballet Central performances in East Anglia this spring; Cambridge at the ADC Theatre on 22 and 23 April, Norwich at the Norwich Playhouse on 2 May and Chelmsford at the Civic Theatre on 3 May.

You can watch the feature back on BBC iPlayer, at 21 minutes here.

Book tickets for all performances this spring and summer: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Ballet Central 2019 tour opens in London

Friday 29th March 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Thursday evening the Ballet Central 2019 tour opened in London at Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Central was pleased to welcome so many friends and supporters to the first performance of this year's tour which will visit 20 venues across England.

Central's third year students are dedicated and determined young people who have worked tirelessly to get this year's show ready for the stage. They not only perform, but are involved in all aspects of staging the show including costume design and the sound and lighting.

The next performance is on Saturday 30 March in Tonbridge at the EM Forster Theatre which is sold-out.

Find your closest venue and book tickets at www.balletcentral.co.uk

Photo: ASH Photography

Ballet Central 2019 tour featured in The Telegraph

Thursday 21st March 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Ballet Central is featured in today's Daily Telegraph

Pictured on page 3 is Nell Maude, third year student and Ballet Central dancer in The Bird Woman costume of Kenneth MacMillan's 'House of Birds', posing in the Chelsea Physic Garden.

The 2019 tour launches one week today, Thursday 28 March in London at Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

View the full list of tour dates and book tickets: www.balletcentral.co.uk

Ballet Central dancers attend workshops at the National Centre for Circus Arts

Tuesday 5th February 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This week Ballet Central dancers are attending workshops at the National Centre for Circus Arts, a fellow affiliate member of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama..

The students are attending both unicycle and hulahoop workshops, as part of their preparations for Carousel Dances, by Christopher Marney, which will be performed on the 2019 Ballet Central tour.

The Ballet Central 2019 tour will commence at Stratford Circus Arts Centre on 28 March 2019.The tour will then visit 20 venues across England. Click here for the full list of tour dates and to book tickets.

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