Central School Of Ballet

Blackout Tuesday

Tuesday 2nd June 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Today on Blackout Tuesday people have spoken out in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and all those affected by current events in the United States and increasingly worldwide. At Central, we want to express our support, as well as check in with our students and staff who may be feeling the effects of what is happening. Central is looking at our own practises to make sure BAME staff and students are supported, and will continue the work to ensure that future students and staff experience Central as an organisation that listens, considers, cares and takes action where it can to eradicate racism.

Mark Osterfield, Executive Director

Final Year students feature in Dance Europe film about coping with lockdown

Wednesday 20th May 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Dance Europe, the international dance magazine published in London, has released a film about 10 dance students from around the world, giving each the chance to tell their stories of being in lockdown. Two of Central’s students were selected to participate, Kate Hester and Sara McGovern, both final year students on the BA (Hons) Degree programme. Central is the only UK based school featured in the film.

Both Kate and Sara spoke about the opportunities offered through the new Centrally Connected programme that provides online teaching, training and learning for 120 students despite the studios in Herbal Hill being temporarily closed. All the students, from all the prestigious schools, talk about missing being in class in person and the opportunity to perform. They talk about how they are coping with uncertainty of the coronavirus and the importance of maintaining contact with others while training at home.

Kate is featured in the opening credits of the film.

You can view the film on YouTube here: Dancing Under Lockdown

Central begins online classes for its first virtual summer term

Monday 27th April 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Last week, Central started the summer term in a different guise from what we usually expect at this time of year. Central’s tutors and guest contributors are continuing to teach Foundation, BA and MA programme students even though they are back home in the UK and in countries worldwide. The new Centrally Connected initiative, developed at the end of the spring term after Central closed its studios in Herbal Hill, now offers students training, teaching and learning through a comprehensive online timetable.

Through remote learning students can access a range of practical support, academic teaching sessions and tutorials including live exercise and movement sessions, one-to-one physiotherapy advice, supported contextual studies, and study skill sessions. In order to fully support overseas students, Central is also concurrently running a separate timetable to account for time differences in teaching. In total, 117 students from 12 different countries will benefit from this programme to support their ongoing studies.

In addition, an online programme of activity to support Associate and Junior School students commenced last week to include ballet, contemporary, Pilates, HIIT and character classes.

“As part of our Centrally Connected online programme, last week we commenced online classes for the first time in the school’s history. The wellbeing of our students continues to be a primary focus. Through virtual contact time we can continue to support them and their ongoing studies to meet the learning outcomes of our programmes. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff who have worked tirelessly to deliver these activities and the students for their continued engagement during these unprecedented times.” Executive Director, Mark Osterfield.

123 dancers submitted their final auditions via video

Thursday 9th April 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

The last few weeks have seen a lot of change and that extends to the way Central carries out its audition process for the Foundation & BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. As auditions were no longer able to be held in person, all finalists were asked to submit their auditions digitally. Central supported applicants through this change in process and as a result received video auditions from 123 aspiring dancers who had made it to the final round of this competitive degree programme. The quality of submissions was very high and the artistic staff were impressed by the range of talent displayed by the young artists.

All audition videos have now been reviewed and successful applicants are due to be informed of the result of their submissions ahead of the Easter break.

For more details about Central’s BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance, please see here.

Undergraduate students take part in online HIIT class

Thursday 2nd April 2020 Anita Hamilton writes:

100 Central undergraduate students took part in a digital HIIT class delivered by Anna Brodrick, Head of Medical Services via Zoom. This blast of exercise resulting in a flood of endorphins is a wonderful way to start the day and part of a Health at Home initiative, in the new Centrally Connected programme. Anna reported huge enthusiasm from our dance students who are back at home during the COVID-19 pandemic: "Students are remaining active and connected to one another from their homes across the world. Their wellbeing is a core focus of training at Central and group exercise provides a positive hub of energy, Sharing the activity with others keeps motivation high. It was marvellous to see so many take part - I look forward to many more sessions like this while we are separated from one another."

Students are receiving online personal physiotherapy sessions where needed and all undergraduates are given guidance on nutrition and training goals. This reflects the support that they usually receive as part of their Foundation level and BA programmes at Central's studios in Herbal Hill.


Centrally Connected - teaching and learning in response to COVID-19

Wednesday 1st April 2020 Anita Hamilton writes:

Central closed its studios in Herbal Hill in Clerkenwell two weeks ago on 17th March. Quite apart from the UK Government directive our aim was then, and continues to be now, concern for the safety and wellbeing of students, staff and guests as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In just two weeks we have developed a new online programme called Centrally Connected which offers through remote learning a range of practical support, academic teaching sessions and tutorials including: live exercise and movement sessions, one-to-one physiotherapy advice, supported contextual studies, and study skill sessions, complemented by a series of master classes and special events connecting the students with the School, each other, and the wider dance world. This new programme will build in the summer term extending the activity and number of sessions. The aim is to support the students’ on-going studies and practical work towards meeting the learning outcomes of our degree programmes.

Our current plan is to run the Centrally Connected online programme over the summer term whilst being ready to Herbal Hill if and when circumstances permit. The early dates for the Ballet Central 2020 Tour have now been cancelled but we will, however, look for opportunities to perform later dates or dates rescheduled after the current restrictions have been lifted.

Our goal of moving to our new premises The Countess of Wessex Studios in the London Borough of Southwark in the autumn term 2020 continues.

We are liaising closely with the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama and the University of Kent, as well as following the advice of the Office for Students, Public Health England and related UK Government guidance.

I am grateful to everyone at Central and the support and understanding of the wider dance community during this difficult time.

Mark Osterfield,

Executive Director

Important update from Central - Covid-19 response

Tuesday 17th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

In line with the latest UK government guidance following the Covid-19 outbreak, and as part of our commitment to the safety and well-being of our students, staff and guests, Central has decided to close its studios in Herbal Hill, Clerkenwell as from 5.30pm this evening 17th March 2020. This closure affects Central Nights classes and Junior and Associate School classes with immediate effect. All staff, following this evening’s closure, will be working remotely.

Students on the undergraduate Foundation and BA (top-up) degrees and the postgraduate MA programme are being advised about continuing training and academic study on a remote basis.

The undergraduate student auditions scheduled for later this week 21st/22nd March have been cancelled and all those involved will be contacted separately about alternative arrangements.

Updates on future Central Nights classes will be publicised on Central’s website centralschoolofballet.co.uk and on social media channels. Junior and Associate School students will be informed via email.

The forthcoming Spring Course scheduled for 4th April 2020 will not go ahead as planned. All Spring Course participants will be notified of alternative arrangements.

A decision about the forthcoming Ballet Central tour will follow in the next few days.

For more information from Public Health England about advice to the public following the Covid-19 outbreak see: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response

Central School of Ballet announces new MA Choreography programme participants

Thursday 12th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central School of Ballet has announced that former Royal Ballet choreographer Charlotte Edmonds and Matthew Bourne/Ballet Central dancer Natasha Chu have both joined the organisation’s renowned ballet focused MA Choreography programme. The MA takes 18 months on average to complete, providing the opportunity for professional choreographers to hone their skills, engage in research and develop their practice at the highest level.

Charlotte trained at The Royal Ballet Lower School and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. She was The Inaugural Young Choreographer at The Royal Ballet (2015 - 2018) and now works as a freelance dance-maker across Europe.

Natasha is a Central School of Ballet graduate gaining a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance in 2018. For the Ballet Central tour, she performed works by Matthew Bourne, Wayne McGregor and Christopher Gable, and choreographed a piece for the Central’s End of Year Show and later for Ballet Central. After graduating, she joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures for the world premiere of Romeo & Juliet, which toured the UK in 2019. She worked with Payne Productions on the research and development for Bluebeard: A Chamber’s Scent and later joined Arielle Smith’s Project Dot.

Louise Ainley, Central’s Director Higher Education Programmes said: “Central’s MA in Choreography continues to provide opportunities to make new work in a context where the art form of dance can be explored, interrogated and extended. The outstanding successes of our MA alumni is assurance that our postgraduate programme continues to support the career development of talent choreographers who in turn are making a significant impact on the dance profession.”

Good luck to outgoing director Heidi Hall

Friday 6th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

Central wishes all the best of luck to Heidi for the future after her final day as Director of Central School of Ballet.

Heidi has devoted much of her career to Central School of Ballet. She completed her dance 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. During her tenure she has notably spearheaded the campaign to raise £9m to fund the specific fit-out required for Central’s bespoke new building in Southwark.

Heidi will take on a role as Director of an educational foundation in Cambridge but will remain involved with Central and will join the Board of Governors in April 2020.

Central Success with Boys Move

Thursday 5th March 2020 Leona Hayhoe writes:

On Sunday 1 March, Central held its annual Boys Move day. Established in 2016, this year Central welcomed 30 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 included a ballet class led by a member of Central’s Senior School Teaching Faculty; advanced ballet students also took part in a contact improvisation workshop led by Edd Arnold and Nicholas Tredrea and younger boys took part in hip-hop with Bismark Anobah and tumbling with Adam Pudney.

Male students from Central’s undergraduate degree course also assisted teachers throughout the day and took part in a series of ballet demonstrations, inspiring the participants by showcasing what they have been working on in school.

One participant said: “I attended last year and like the idea of being with other boys who share my passion for dance. The teachers are all really helpful and are keen to help you develop and grow as a dancer.”

Central also runs boys only ballet classes as part of the Junior School for ages 8-16 and for more advanced male students, annual auditions for the Associate Programme will take place on Saturday 30 May. The Associate Programme takes place on Saturdays throughout the year and is for secondary school students years 7-11 who wish to receive additional training and pursue ballet more seriously.

For further details about any of our boys courses, please contact Jo Hurst at jo.hurst@csbschool.co.uk

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