Central School Of Ballet

Central School of Ballet announces departure of Heidi Hall as Director and her new role as Governor

Tuesday 29th October 2019 Anita Hamilton writes:

Central School of Ballet yesterday announced that Heidi Hall, Director of Central, will be leaving the school at the end of the spring term 2020. Heidi will oversee the organisation’s move to its new world-class premises in the South Bank in London early next year before taking on a role as Director of an educational foundation in Cambridge. Heidi will remain involved with Central and will join the Board of Governors in April 2020.

Heidi leaves Central as undergraduate admissions for its core BA Hons programme in Professional Dance & Performance are at an all-time high and its graduate performing company Ballet Central delights growing audiences in towns and cities across the UK. Central is fully prepared for the continually evolving dance industry with a strong team in place. Christopher Marney, currently Artistic Director of Ballet Central, will take on a new leadership role in the New Year focusing on expanding his artistic vision for the organisation at all levels encompassing Central’s professional level training programmes through to the Junior School. Christopher will lead Central’s staff in a direction vital for a dance organisation of this generation. The process to recruit an Executive Director to run Central operationally in its new South Bank home is underway.

Heidi has devoted much of her career to Central School of Ballet; she completed her professional training at Central in 1995 which led to a successful performance career. In 2012 Heidi returned to Central as Company Manager to Ballet Central, the organisation’s touring company. She was subsequently promoted to Deputy Director and then in September 2016 appointed as Director of Central School of Ballet. In 2018 Heidi was recognised with the Rising Chief Executive Award by the annual Third Sector Awards who noted her part in transforming Central into a world-leading professional dance organisation and spearheading the campaign to raise £9m to fund the specific fit-out required for Central’s bespoke new building in Southwark.

Ralph Bernard, Chairman of Central’s Board of Governors said: “Everyone at Central is deeply grateful for Heidi’s exceptional leadership and dedicated service. Her commitment to the highest professional standards and her extraordinary vision has led Central to be recognised as one of the world’s leading dance schools. We are delighted that she has agreed to take up a role as Governor at the school next year. This will enable us to continue to benefit from her support to Central as we embrace our most exciting development since the school was founded in 1982.”

“We congratulate Christopher on his enhanced and important role in the organisation.” Ralph continues, “Our focus now is to attract a talented Executive Director to work with Christopher and the Central team for the next exciting phase at our new premises in Southwark.”

Central MA Choreographer Working Internationally

Monday 28th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Since joining Central’s MA Choreography degree programme in January 2019, Anjali Mehra has choreographed a number of new works. In September her work God Only Knows was performed at the Tate Modern. Inspired by the last performance of renowned ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, the work aimed to engage visitors to reflect on mental health and artistic practice, the movement between public and private life, and the temporary nature of performance. You can find out more about this unique performance here.

Recently, Anjali has also been an Associate Choreographer on Leonardo Da Vinci: Masterpieces of Motion at Windsor Castle, which marks the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master’s death. Working alongside choreographer Edwin Ray and fellow Associate Choreographer Tom Jackson Greaves, the team have created a contemporary dance piece inspired by Leonardo’s extraordinary anatomical insights and depictions of movement. Speaking about the process Anjali says “We started working on the concept in May, developing Edwin’s scene ideas. Creating choreography for each section, we made the piece on a cast of 5 dancers over 2 weeks. This involved rehearsals in studios as well as at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.” The performances are taking place this week, 25 October -3 November. Find out more here.

Anjali is currently working on a new work entitled Judgement Day, a Park Avenue Armory Production in New York, and in 2020 will choreograph The Gondoliers for Scottish Opera.

Speaking about the MA’s impact on her work, Anjali says “The MA Choreography degree has facilitated the opportunity for me to continuously work on and think about dance and choreography. I have already created five dance pieces since beginning the MA, which is enhancing my practice and informing my professional work. The tutorials covering topics including research, writing, self-representation and communication skills have helped me to develop confidence and creative knowledge to succeed in this profession.”

Louise Ainley, Central's Director of Higher Education Programmes, who leads on the MA programme at Central says “The MA continues to exceed expectations in its aim to enhance the career development of emerging and professional choreographers.”

Applications are currently open for Central’s MA Choreography Degree programme for entry in January 2020. Aimed at emerging and professional choreographers the degree focuses on creative reflection and research. Applications are open until 11 November. Find out more here.

The importance of Improvisation in dance training

Friday 18th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

As the first half-term of the 2019/20 academic year draws to a close we are reflecting on the inspirational Improvisation classes that guest tutor Laura Lorenzi led in the September warm-up week.

See below a Q&A with Laura who tells us more about the classes and the importance of this discipline in training to be a professional dancer.

How did you structure your classes?

"I began the classes by guiding the whole group through imagery and physical instruction, encouraging them to keep their attention and focus as they explored possibilities of movement. I then set them shorter tasks in smaller groups of twos, threes and fours. I promoted reflection and verbal exchange between them after each task was proposed."

What did the students respond particularly well to?

"The students clearly enjoyed working with the music and moving to different layers of the soundscape, approaching each with different qualities. Many also responded very well to improvising with their eyes closes, because they censored less what they were doing, feeling free of judgement. The students' technical training was very apparent from the way that they moved and many demonstrated a great versatility."

How does improvisation inform the students' classical and contemporary dance training at Central?

"Improvisation is a discipline that helps the students to connect to themselves and their personal way of moving in a way that complements their other technical training. It pushes the students to face fears and self consciousness, allowing them to feel comfortable taking risks while moving. Improvisation tasks also promote a different kind of attention and thought process. Cultivating the personality and uniqueness of these young dancers is essential to their success in the industry, both as performers and choreographers. Improvisation is one of the tools to start the process of self enquiry."

Laura trained at London Contemporary Dance School, and following graduation in 2015 has performed in works by Anders Duckworth, Quang Kien Van and many more. Laura is also one of the founding members of The Sparse Collective, a group of international dance artists who specialise in Improvisation into Performance; with whom she has performed internationally.

Find out more about Laura here

Applications for Foundation and BA degree programmes open

Friday 18th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Applications are now open for 2020 entry onto Central's Foundation and BA Degree programmes in Professional Dance and Performance, accredited by University of Kent.

Preliminary auditions will be held as follows:

Sunday 17 November 2019: Glasgow - The Dance School of Scotland

Sunday 8 December 2019: London – Central School of Ballet

Sunday 9 February 2020: London - Central School of Ballet

Sunday 16 February 2020: Leeds – Northern Ballet

Final auditions will take place on Sunday 22 March at Central School of Ballet in London.

Apply for the degree programmes here.

In Leeds, Glasgow and in London there will be Dance Days held the day prior to the audition for students age 12-16 years. This an excellent opportunity to experience Central's vocational training with classes including classical ballet and contemporary dance.

Apply for a Dance Day here.

Central students perform in Bulgari film

Thursday 17th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

Six Central students star in Bulgari film ‘Serpenti’ celebrating the Bvlgari Heritage collection.

The film which premiered this summer in Rome at the “Bulgari – The Story, The Dream” exhibition was directed and produced by Not Flat 3 and choreographed by Central’s Creative Projects Manager Leanne King.

Nada Debaumont from Not Flat 3 says “In celebration of the Bulgari Heritage Collection the film focuses on how dance, the body, light and jewellery intertwine to create compelling, enchanting and fleeting visual moments. The mystic serpenti motif celebrates the brands iconic Roman heritage and is an entrancing symbol used to weave through Bulgari’s history.”

The film in which Central students (Erin King, Emily Pohl Keiko Tsuchiya, Ella Slingsby, Annabee Fleming and Runa Oka) perform movement and dance was recorded in March 2018 at Central Saint Martins.

Speaking about the choreography Leanne King says “I created short sections of movement so that they could be adjusted and changed to show off the jewellery to its best.”

Leanne continues “The project was an opportunity for the students to work and perform in an environment hugely different to what they are used to. They were required to perform the choreography multiple times for different takes, enabling them to experience a non-linear way of working. They were required to adapt quickly to new ideas and were encouraged to think for themselves.”

Central is committed to working collaboratively with external organisations and companies to give our students professional performance experience during their training.

Watch the film here.


Production and direction: Not Flat 3

Choreography: Leanne King

Photo credits: Calum Barlow

Live brief: Central Saint Martins

For: Bulgari

Central 2019 graduate joins Ballet Black

Thursday 10th October 2019 Isabel Campbell writes:

This week, 2019 Central graduate Alexander Fadayiro joined Ballet Black as an Apprentice Artist.

Alexander is just the eighth dancer to join the company, founded and directed by Central Patron Cassa Pancho.

During his final year training at Central, Alex. was a member of Central's touring company Ballet Central, and also a Student Associate with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, with whom he continued to perform with until this Autumn in productions including Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet.

Central wishes Alexander many congratulations and every success in this next stage of his professional performance career.

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."

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