Central School Of Ballet

Ballet Central announces a new online performance by dancers in lockdown to a specially created music composition

Tuesday 23rd June 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Ballet Central has created a unique performance by the company’s dancers who are back at home across the UK and in countries worldwide following the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Centrally Connected Performs, a new choreographic project realised in a three minute film, is based on a specially created piece of music by composer-in-residence Philip Feeney. With contributions from 27 student dancers and their individual choreography, the resulting film is being released online on the Ballet Central website and on YouTube: Centrally Connected Performs on 23rd June.

Each dance student is in their final year at Central School of Ballet and was given the challenge of choreographing and performing a solo with consideration of the setting, costume and the dance genre, allowing each person to interpret the music based on the skills and artistry gained during their BA (Hons) Professional Dance & Performance degree programme.

Artistic Director Christopher Marney explains: “This year’s Ballet Central tour was unable to proceed due to the Covid-19 pandemic so we created Centrally Connected Performs instead to allow dance students to create their own choreography using ballet or contemporary dance genres to Philip’s innovative music. The result is a unique collaboration, a unifying experience despite not being on tour together or rehearsing as a company at our studios in London.”

Composer-in-residence Philip Feeney explains his inspiration for the unique music that has stimulated the dancers’ performances: “Corona (virus) has the first six letters of the word Coronation so I have co-opted the music from Mozart’s life-enhancing Coronation Mass K.317 (1779) to bring the piece to life. The music takes a journey, starting with the Mozart piece which soon suddenly becomes suspended. The idea is one of growth and discovery, and ultimately defiance, daring to be triumphant in these challenging times.”

The film Centrally Connected Performs is part of Central’s remote learning, teaching and training initiative established to ensure continuity for dance students participating in the school’s BA and MA programmes even though its studios in Herbal Hill in London are currently closed. Centrally Connected is an online programme supporting 117 students in 12 countries and also provides online training for Junior, Prep and Pre-Senior students.

Change to Ballet Central 2020 Tour Repertoire

Friday 31st January 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

A piece of repertoire created by the Royal Ballet’s choreographer Liam Scarlett due for inclusion in this year’s Ballet Central tour will no longer be presented. Central School of Ballet has decided not to run the piece following a report in yesterday’s Times which featured allegations of misconduct at the Royal Ballet. Central was unaware of the story or the allegations until the news appeared yesterday.

The piece Serpent was commissioned by Central through the company Ballet Boyz and not by Liam Scarlett directly. In preparation for this year’s tour Liam Scarlett has neither visited the school, personally rehearsed the piece with Ballet Central, nor had any contact with Central School of Ballet students.

The tour opens in London on 26th March with revised repertoire, soon to be announced.

Ballet Central announces five month 2020 tour commencing in London 26th March

Monday 27th January 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

The renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central will commence its annual tour at Stratford Circus in London, on Thursday 26th March 2020. Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, Ballet Central’s diverse range of dance and theatre will perform in 13 venues across England over a five month period concluding in London on 18th July.

This year’s repertoire delivers an exciting performance of theatricality, technical excellence and drama choreographed by international dance industry influencers, with stunning costumes enhanced by powerful music.

The Royal Ballet’s Liam Scarlett will present Serpent, an athletic ballet featuring an all-male cast. Ballet Central is pleased to perform an excerpt from Wayne McGregor’s Symbionts and scenes from Marius Petipa’s La Bayadere. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s passion for storytelling is demonstrated in Requiem for a Rose which explores a beautiful metaphor of romance. Scottish Ballet’s Sophie Laplane is creating a new work with composer Philip Feeney based on the story of novelist George Eliot called George(ette), and finally Jenna Lee’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, is sure to please with a ballet inspired by the music and style of the 1950’s dance halls.

Christopher Marney, Artistic Director of Ballet Central comments: "There is a growing appreciation for the varied repertoire of the Ballet Central tour. We are thrilled to be returning to so many venues where audiences have welcomed the skill and technique of our young dancers. The tour is a unique opportunity to bring the works of world-class choreographers to audiences outside of London.

For the full list of tour dates, see the Ballet Central website.

Company Manager Job Opening

Thursday 2nd January 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central is looking for a new Company Manager.

We are looking to recruit an experienced Company Manager to work on the Ballet Central national tour.

Responsibilities include assisting in all aspects of the planning and smooth running of the Ballet Central Tour, supporting the Artistic Director and working with the Ballet Central Rehearsal Coach to deliver a quality and cost-effective tour as part of the BA (Hons) Professional Dance & Performance programme.

For further information and an application form, please visit the recruitment page on our website.

Application closing date: Sunday 12 January 2020

Interviews: Week of 20 January 2020

Central Collaborates with Mall Galleries

Monday 4th November 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Saturday evening Ballet Central performed at the company's first external event of the 2019/20 season, a Drawing Evening at Mall Galleries.

The event was a collaboration between Central, Museums at Night Festival and the Society of Wildlife Artists.

The dancers wearing bird-inspired costumes performed class at the barre, centre work and then held positions.

It was a fantastic opportunity for all, including seasoned artists and first-timers to pick up a pencil/ paintbrush and have the opportunity to be inspired by Central's dancers.

To see the variety of art the dancers' performances inspired the artists to create, visit Central's Facebook page.

This was the third time Central and Mall Galleries have collaborated on a drawing event, which once again received a high attendance.

Ballet Central Announces 2019/20 Season

Monday 4th November 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Monday 4 November Ballet Central announced the choreographers for the 2019/20 season.

The company is once again working with internationally acclaimed choreographers on a diverse range of repertoire; works by Liam Scarlett, Wayne McGregor, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Sophie Laplane, Jenna Lee and Merce Cunningham will be performed on the tour, premiering in March and touring across the UK until July.

This week on social media, the company will reveal each piece of repertoire the company will be performing. Follow the company on Twitter and Instagram to be the first to find out.

For a taste of what to expect from the tour view the Ballet Central 2019/20 Season Trailer here.

Ballet Central return to Cambridge for Nutcracker shows

Wednesday 2nd October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This December Ballet Central will return to the ADC Theatre in Cambridge for a limited run of eight performances of the festive favourite ‘The Nutcracker’.

Directed by Artistic Director Christopher Marney, Ballet Central will present their enchanting 45-minute version of the classic Christmas ballet. This is a show designed for families, introducing children of all ages to a new version of the dance favourite performed to the iconic Tchaikovsky score.

Early booking is recommended for these unique performances. Designed to make the show accessible to all, tickets are priced at just £10 and available at www.adctheatre.com or the ADC Theatre Box Office on 01223 300085.

The eight performances take place over three days:

Tuesday 17th December 4.30pm, 6.30pm

Wednesday 18th December 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm

Thursday 19th December 2.30pm, 4.30pm

Comments from last year’s performance in Cambridge:

Members of the audience, 2018

A bite-sized, magical & touching Nutcracker for everyone to fall in love with."

"Outstanding performance! What a lovely fantasy world!".

"[I was] charmed by the abridged Nutcracker production by Ballet Central. My 5 year old son loved it and I thought it was superb! Thanks for a delightful evening out."

Dance Europe, 2018

"The young audience were thrilled."

MA Choreographer Anjali Mehra leads workshops with Ballet Central

Friday 20th September 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Central MA Choreographer Anjali Mehra has for the past two weeks been working in the studio with the third years students (Ballet Central dancers). Anjali has had five two-hour sessions to workshop new choreography in collaboration with the students. This work forms part of Module 2 of the MA Choreography degree programme which focuses on exploring the process of creating choreography.

Anjali says “Initially we worked on the dancers’ spatial awareness and sense of unity as I wanted all the dancers to be dancing together. We then focused on tasks where the students were involved in creating their own movements. Bringing these elements together we will also focus on partner work, performance and intention.”

“The greatest inspiration for this work has been having such a large group of hard-working versatile dancers. As an alumnus of Central myself, it has been wonderful to return as a choreographer because I understand the ethos of the school and the focus of the students’ training and movement. They have demonstrated focus, openness and imagination throughout the sessions which has really supported the creative process.”

Opportunities to work with professional choreographers such as Anjali offer Central’s students a taste of the creative professional environment they will be working in after graduation.

Learn more about Central’s MA Choreography programme here.

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

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