Central School Of Ballet

Central students perform with Northern Ballet on tour

Thursday 30th May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This spring, two Central second year students, Andrew and Brandon have been performing with Northern Ballet on the tour of ‘Puss in Boots’.

Both Andrew and Brandon have been performing the same role of Jack, taking it in turns to perform on tour whilst the other trains at Central in London. This professional performance experience serves as excellent preparation for the students, who will be joining Central’s touring company Ballet Central this September.

Speaking about the experience Andrew said: “I am very grateful for this fantastic opportunity to perform in a professional company. Touring to different venues has enabled me to learn the importance for there to be flexibility within a production so that it is able adapt to different spaces. I have enjoyed the opportunity to develop my acting skills while I dance and to truly create a character on stage. The feedback from the audience has been fantastic and I hope that they leave feeling inspired!”

Brandon said: “My experience at Northern Ballet has given me the opportunity to learn about what is necessary to succeed as a dancer in the professional world. Most importantly, I have learned to allow myself the freedom to explore my own artistry and style. Working with the ballet staff and company members at Northern has developed my stage performance skills which I will carry through to Ballet Central and throughout my professional career.”

The ballet is choreographed by current Central MA student Jenna Lee, and is performed by Northern Ballet, featuring performances from current students Andrew and Brandon, alongside Central alumni including Harris Beattie, Julie Nunès, Ayca Anil and Matthew Morrell.

‘Puss in Boots’ is on tour in the UK until 8 June. Book tickets: northernballet.com/puss-in-boots

Photo by Brian Slater

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'

Central students perform in dance festival established by Central alumni

Wednesday 29th May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Saturday evening second year students Keiko and Andrew will perform at the Sayawan dance festival in London, organised by 1991 Central graduates JJ Formento and Sally Marie.

The festival, in its first year will be held in Kilburn at St Augustine's CE High School. The festival has been established to commemorate Filipino and British choreographic artists, celebrating multi-national integration and showcasing excellence in dance.

Keiko and Andrew will perform the pas de deux from Surgeyev's 1948 revival of Peripa's 'Raymonda', first performed by the pair in the BBC Young Dancer ballet category final.

The organisers of the festival, JJ and Sally, both Central alumni have had extensive careers in the arts, both as performers and as arts leaders. JJ has danced with companies and productions including; Miss Saigon Drury Lane, the National Dance Company Wales and the Dance Theatre of Ireland and founded Dublin Youth Dance Company. Sally has worked with numerous choreographers and companies including; Jasmin Vardimon Company, Titled Productions and Sean Tuan John. Sally also founded her own company Sweetshop Revolution which was nominated for Best Independent Company in the National Dance Awards 2016.

For more information about the event, visit the Facebook event

Pictured: Andrew and Keiko with Central tutor and rehearsal coach Resmi Malko

Central hosts annual Ballet Teacher Personal Development Day

Thursday 23rd May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Tuesday 21 May Central held its annual Ballet Teacher Personal Development Day.

Established in 2016 by Central’s Widening Participation and Access Department, the day is an opportunity for ballet teachers from across the UK to network and learn about the training programmes offered at Central.

The focus of this year’s course was on the transition for students going into full-time vocational training. Sessions were led by Central tutors and by One Dance UK, with a focus on student mindset and the development of student resilience. The day included Q&A sessions with Central’s degree programme tutors and students, with the opportunity to watch classes and a Ballet Central rehearsal.

Debra Cougill, Central’s Head of Widening Participation and Access said “The day serves as a fantastic opportunity to nurture Central’s invaluable links with ballet teachers across the country. The day was a chance for the teachers to have a greater insight into what their students can expect on Central’s degree programmes in Professional Dance and Performance and what other opportunities are available for pre-vocational students at the school’’.

Feedback from the day: “It was wonderful to observe Central’s classes and listen to the students and faculty. Central is a certainly a beautiful place with such a caring atmosphere. It was an informative and most importantly relevant and thoughtful day.”

To learn more about the world-leading professional training Central offers watch the trailer below and visit: www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk

Central hosts annual Choreography Platform

Tuesday 21st May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Friday, Central held our annual Choreography Platform. The event is an opportunity for students studying on the degree programme to present choreographic ideas and work within a safe and informal setting. Now in its eighth year, it continues to showcase the creative skills of the students.

The works presented can be finished, rehearsed and ready for performance, but can equally be snap-shots of ideas that students want to trial before leading onto more accomplished pieces.

Leanne King, Central’s Creative Projects Manager who runs the event said “This year the standard of work produced was at its highest yet. The confidence shown by our students in playing with ideas has increased considerably. They were all able to talk openly about their ideas and present these personal works with confidence.”

Choreography is a core part of the training Central offers with students participating in weekly classes. Exploring the choreographic process enables students to develop another creative voice, allowing them to experiment with ideas of their own and others. The Choreography Platform is one of several creative projects Leanne King leads which serve as forums for Central students to collaborate with each other and artists from other disciplines, enabling them to develop skills in collaboration, project management and leadership. Other projects include Design for Dance (an annual collaboration with Central Saint Martins students) and the Virtual Conservatoire.

Pictured is Leanne King leading a Contemporary class.

Central supports Mental Health Awareness Week

Monday 13th May 2019 Anita Hamilton writes:

Central is pleased to be supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.

The theme this year is Body Image – how we think and feel about our bodies. Central is encouraging our dance students to be more aware of this important issue. There are a range of activities taking place in school including mindfulness sessions after each ballet class and encouraging students to note their awareness of their own bodies each day focusing on sleep/fatigue/general muscle soreness and mood.

Anna Brodrick, Central's Head of Medical is also leading tutorials this week focusing on sleeping, eating and training well to underpin the mental health focus, alongside sharing lunches for students.

Central's Boys Move 2019 met with high praise

Friday 3rd May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Sunday 28 April, Central held its annual Boys Move day. Established in 2016, this year Central welcomed 40 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 include a contact workshop for the older boys led by Edd Arnold and Will Thompson from Russell Maliphant Comapny; a circus skills workshop led by National Centre for Circus Arts; a stage combat workshop for the 8-10 years and a ballet class taught by male senior school artistic staff.

Debra Cougill, Central’s Head of Widening Participation and Access said “The annual Boys Move day is always a highlight in our widening participation calendar. The day which is led by all-male tutors and musicians leads to an exhilarating and rewarding day for everybody involved. The involvement of Central’s senior school male students who assist and also perform solos at the end of the day is truly inspirational. Boys Move continues to inspire a new generation of boys into dance each year and demonstrates the value and need for such programmes.”

One participant said: “The highlight of today was to discover and know that if you use your imagination and put your mind to it, you can make a pretty good show.”

Parent’s feedback included:

“[My son] has spoken of nothing else, he can’t wait to come back!!!... he fully intends on taking part in any future workshops! The talk at the end was fantastic and of course great to see the talents soloists!”

“I cannot put into words how much [my son] enjoyed the day and how inspirational he found it. He has been the only boy in his dance classes for years and finds it very lonely…He has come back incredibly confident and very inspired. “

[My son] had never been to a dance class before so this was all very new to him. He had a great day and didn’t feel worried that he was less experienced than the others. He absolutely loved the creative dance class and we both enjoyed the opportunity to watch and hear from the older boys.”

For those who wish to pursue ballet further, Central runs ‘boys only’ ballet classes in addition to Central's regular ballet classes for all students. The Boys Ballet classes are for boys age 8-16 years and run on Friday evening and are led by tutor, Philip Page.

For young dancers who are more advanced in ballet, Central's annual auditions for the Associate programme take place on Saturday 1st June 2019. The Associate Programme runs on Saturdays throughout the year and is for young people in schools years 7-11 who wish to pursue ballet more seriously and receive additional training to complement their weekly ballet classes that they undertake elsewhere.

For further details about the Boys Ballet classes and the Associate Auditions please see Central's website or contact Jo Hurst, Associate School Manager at jo.hurst@csbschool.co.uk

Central students co-produce and perform in a unique contemporary work

Thursday 2nd May 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Friday 26 April, all first year Central students performed in 'non-place', a unique collaboration with students from the Royal College of Music (RCM) and Imperial College London, at the Britten Theatre.

The work was initiated by MA composers from RCM, who worked with a student from Imperial College to create the digital projection and Central students and tutors to choreograph and perform the movement.

The title of the work was inspired by 'Non-Place' a neologism coined by French anthropologist Marc Auge describing spaces of transience and was the starting point for the composers to explore human relationships to familiar spaces, identity and anonymity in modern society.

The work combined electro-acoustic sound, performed by a live ensemble, Cat’s Cradle Collective chamber Orchestra, mixed with a pre-recorded electronic score.

The presentation included video mapping and projection and contemporary dance performed by Central's first year students, choreographed by themselves and Central tutors Leanne King and Bim Malcomson.

The performance was part of the Great Exhibitionists series held at RCM annually.

Leanne King, Central's Creative Projects Manager said "This collaboration was a fantastic opportunity for the students to be fully involved in an experimental creative process, resulting in a fully co-produced work. The final piece combined a variety of disciplines which Central trains our students in; including Contemporary Dance, Choreography and Improvisation.The students were highly focused and motivated throughout the creative process, with their final performance demonstrating a high level of maturity and artistry."

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