Central School Of Ballet

News

Central’s Graduation Ceremony takes place online

Calendar Posted 20 July 2020

The 2020 class participated in an online ceremony on the last day of term, 17th July, to conclude their BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance.

The celebration of undergraduate achievement - three years of training, personal development, skills and artistry - is typically staged at the conclusion of the Ballet Central Tour in a theatre in Central London. This year’s global pandemic has resulted in UK wide theatre closures meaning that the Graduation Ceremony for Final Year students moved online as part of the Centrally Connected programme implemented by Central for the period of lockdown.

The online event was attended by over 200 people – students and their families, friends of Central, governors and supporters – who all logged on to the live event from homes across the world.

Approaching the graduation from a different perspective, Christopher Marney and his artistic team collated a great range of archive footage, images, films, messages and photos for the audience to see and celebrate the class of 2020 and all their achievements. There was a chance to see film from numerous events and performances from across the three years as a reminder of training and artistic progression.

The students themselves also contributed to the ceremony with their own reflections and memories, some emotional and some amusing with anecdotes from their own experiences and performances.

In his address Mark Osterfield, Executive Director, particularly highlighted Coronation Mass the film created through the Final Year students’ choreographic project to Philip Feeney’s original score. Mark noted how the individual choreography featuring dancers moving from inside to outside spaces is a metaphor for lockdown and the highly unusual circumstances of the last term.

Mark said: “Throughout the last four months I have been impressed by the Final Year students’ dignity and resilience as they coped in the absence of the Ballet Central 2020 tour. The challenges of the past few months, though extreme, will equip students with strength, purpose and vision for a future in professional dance and theatrical careers. We are all enormously proud of each one of you.”

Christopher Marney added: “This group has experienced the highest highs and lowest lows of any student cohort at Central. Their ability to adapt at every stage, to every challenge, is extraordinary; their tenacity, seeking out new ideas and new opportunities is testament to commitment to a dance career. The transition from a performance planned for the stage to online would be hard for any dance professional, let alone those on the cusp of their professional careers, and yet they achieved this through brilliant performances in the Coronation Mass film.”

Christopher continued: “Carole and Christopher Gable’s legacy is demonstrated in every one of these dancers. Their individuality, strength and the techniques, skills and artistry achieved in all dance genres is at the heart of Central’s ethos and the very basis of Christopher Gables’ vision."

Heidi Hall, former Director of Central and now on the Board of Governors, was a special guest of the event who made a moving speech recounting how she and Christopher recruited this student cohort, the first new intake of their combined leadership. “This year group exemplifies all the very best that a Central degree has to offer. They give me such confidence about the future, being pioneers, and future leaders, influencing what the dance industry may be in years to come. I am excited to follow their individual careers and what they achieve as professionals.”

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