Central School Of Ballet

In rehearsal with Jenna Lee for Central's Summer Performance

Tuesday 25th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This week Jenna Lee continues to rehearse her Rock 'n' Roll ballet with Central's second and third year students, ahead of Central's Summer Performances at the Bloomsbury Theatre on July 18 and 19.

Rock 'n' Roll takes inspiration from the upbeat music and glamourous style of the 1950’s dance halls. The piece is based on a trio Jenna created in 2015 for three English National Ballet dancers for a gala that was held at Sadler’s Wells. Now part of the repertoire of Dimensions Dance Theatre in Miami, Florida, Jenna used this as a stimulus to create a longer work to be performed by a full company of dancers. Based on classical ballet technique, the choreography includes elements of styles including; boogie-woogie, swing, jive, jitterbug and the Lindy hop.

Rock 'n' Roll is one of seven pieces of repertoire that will form Central's annual Summer Performance. This is a chance to see over 100 dancers from all three year groups perform a variety of classical and contemporary repertoire.

Book now, online or call the Box Office on 020 3108 1000.

Photo by Drew Forsyth

Central alumni perform title roles in Matthew Bourne's Romeo and Juliet

Monday 24th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Central alumni, Seren Williams and Andrew Monaghan are currently performing the title roles in Matthew Bourne's New Adventures production of Romeo & Juliet.

Andrew graduated from Central in 2012 and joined New Adventures the following year in 2013, whilst Seren graduated from Central in 2016, joining the company that year for the production of Red Shoes.

Meet Seren and Andrew and hear more about what it's like to perform these roles in this video.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet is a passionate and contemporary re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic love story. Confined against their will by a society that seeks to divide, the two young lovers must follow their hearts as they risk everything to be together.

Bursting with youth, vitality and Matthew Bourne’s trademark storytelling, the UK’s brightest young dance talent join the New Adventures company, with direction and choreography by Matthew Bourne, design by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Paule Constable, sound by Paul Groothuis and new orchestrations of the Prokofiev score by Terry Davies, played live by the New Adventures Orchestra conducted by Brett Morris.

The national tour began in May of this year and will continue until October. Find your nearest venue and book tickets 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

Scottish Ballet dancers to perform at MA Choreography Showcase

Monday 17th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This Wednesday dancers from Scottish Ballet including Central alumnus Thomas Edwards will perform in Sophie Laplane's Sibilo as part of the MA Choreography Showcase at Jacksons Lane.

Sophie originally created Sibilo in 2016 and revisited and developed this work during her MA. The piece has been performed at the Ballet West Choreographic Festival at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City, USA.

This work is a celebration of the power and versatility of dancers’ bodies and of movement in all its forms. Sophie collaborated with Scottish electronic DJ and music producer and DJ Alex Menzies (aka Alex Smoke) to create an original musical composition for Sibilo.

Final few tickets available on the theatre's website.

Central partners with Phoenix Dance Theatre to celebrate #WindrushDay

Friday 14th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

In celebration of #WindrushDay next Saturday 22 June, at 12 noon Central is pleased to be partnering with Phoenix Dance Theatre to stream Sharon Watson's film 'Windrush: Movement of the People' on Central's Facebook page.

The production which premiered at Leeds Playhouse in February 2018 is the first contemporary dance work to explore the narrative of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush that brought the first Carribean migrants to the UK.

"Windrush highlights both the struggles and the good times the Jamaican community experiences during those early years"- Sharon Watson

Having completed a sell-out UK tour and international performances to critical acclaim, the production was captured on film in December 2018 after being commissioned by The Space and Leeds 2023.

Phoenix Dance Theatre's Artistic Director Sharon Watson, creator of the film is also an Artistic Adviser to Central, and Central alumnus Carmen Vazquez Marfil performs in the film.

Watch the trailer here.

In rehearsal with Thiago Soares for Central's Summer Performance

Wednesday 12th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

On Tuesday Central welcomed back Guest Royal Ballet Principal Thiago Soares into the studios.

Thiago was rehearsing his new creation, Vossa Sinfonia with Central's third year students who will perform the work at Central's Summer Performances at the Bloomsbury Theatre on July 18 and 19.

Vossa Sinfonia is a neo-classical piece with a minimalist and youthful feel performed to a selection of music by some of the most revered classical composers including; Ludwig van Beethoven, Noel Rosa, Ernesto Nazareth and Heitor Villa-Lobos

Thiago's choreography explores each dancer’s ability to perform alone on stage and within a group interacting with one another. As the music and scenes transition, the emotions of the characters evolve to tell the story.

Vossa Sinfonia is one of seven pieces of repertoire that will form Central's annual Summer Performance. This is a chance to see over 100 dancers from all three year groups perform a variety of classical and contemporary repertoire.

Book now, online or call the Box Office on 020 3108 1000.

Photo by Andrej Uspenski

MA Choreographer Sophie Laplane rehearses work with Ballet Central for showcase

Wednesday 12th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This week MA Choreographer Sophie Laplane has been in the studio with Ballet Central dancers rehearsing her work 'Dextera' ahead of the showcase at Jacksons Lane on 19 June.

This piece was created this year as part of 'Spring!' a double bill alongside Elite Syncopation for Scottish Ballet's 50th Anniversary.

Sophie’s trademark quirky style promises a tour de force of creative ideas, set to the music of Mozart.

Tickets for the MA Choreography Showcase are £15 and are available directly from the theatre.

Photo by ASH photography.

Dancers from world-renowned ballet companies rehearse with Central MA choreographer Jenna Lee ahead of showcase

Tuesday 11th June 2019 writes:

On Monday Central welcomed English National Ballet First Artist Barry Drummond and Opera Vlaanderen dancer Nancy Osbaldeston to the studios.

The dancers were in rehearsal with Central MA Choreographer Jenna Lee for the Summer movement of 'The Four Seasons' which will be performed at the MA Choreography Showcase at Jacksons Lane on 19 June.

Vivaldi’s 'The Four Seasons', dynamically recomposed by Max Richter forms the musical foundation for choreographer Jenna Lee’s bold, stylish ballet, skilfully offset by dazzling costume designs representing each season.

In 2018 Jenna was commissioned to create the whole ballet of 'The Four Seasons' for the New English Ballet Theatre.

Tickets for the MA Choreography Showcase are £15 and are available directly from the (STARTLINK)https://www.jacksonslane.org.uk/whats-on/ma-choreographic-showcase">theatre.

In rehearsal with Leanne King for Central's Summer Performance

Monday 10th June 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This week Leanne King is working with Central's first year students on her new contemporary work All in Four which will feature in Central's Summer Performance at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London on 18 and 19 July.

All in Four is a celebration; The score, created by Philip Feeney is based on Monteverdi’s 'Beatus Vir' – 'Blessed Be' and is uplifting and joyous. The piece has been co-produced with the students and involves elements of movement created from task-based work around their feelings of happiness.

Speaking about the process so far Leanne says "Having taught the first year students since September 2018, it is exciting to create a new project with them in the final term, and a lovely conclusion to the academic year. We are working closely with Central's Musical Director, Philip Feeney to finalise the score. Philip has re-written sections and extended the piece. He will be working with violinists from the Royal Academy of Music to record these new sections in their bespoke studios. This is an exciting collaborative project between myself, the dancers, composer, musicians and an external world renowned institution."

All in Four is one of seven pieces of repertoire that will form Central's annual Summer Performance. This is a chance to see over 100 dancers from all three year groups perform a variety of classical and contemporary repertoire.

Book now online or call the Box Office on 020 3108 1000.

Photography by ASH

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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