Central School Of Ballet


Central students celebrate graduation

Calendar Posted 19 July 2019

On Saturday 20 July, students on the BA hons degree programme in Professional Dance and Performance will perform their graduation solos. This is the culmination of their final year of training at Central, and an opportunity for them to showcase their individual talent, technique and artistry.

The performances will be followed by a graduation ceremony where they will be presented with their congratulatory certificates by guest speaker Jasmin Vardimon, Director of the Jasmin Vardimon Company. In the evening the students will perform the final UK date of the Ballet Central 2019 tour, also closing Central' Summer Performance week.

The graduation solos form part of the Dissertation Module of the BA degree. Having researched the work and written a dissertation, the performance is the final piece of assessed work the students complete at Central.

The students have been researching and rehearsing their graduation solos for the past year. We spoke to two students about their experiences:

Student Thomas Varney chose to research and perform the Franz Variation from Coppélia, choreographed by Arthur Saint-Léon. Thomas says “The solo is the first time that the audience meet the character Franz. It is a grand entrance, including a lot of presentation with the aim to win over the audience. Learning the steps was quite a quick process, but it has been really important for me to perfect every single movement, ensuring that it is ingrained in my muscle memory. Working with different internal and external mentors was really helpful as they all focused on different aspects of my performance. Ashley Shaw focused on characterisation of the role and how I could bring artistry to it, whilst Central tutors Elia and Chris were focused on my technique and musicality. I am excited to work with the lighting designers and to stage and perform it in the Bloomsbury in front of my friends and family.”

Student Molly Shaw-Downie chose to research and perform a solo from Act 3 of Cinderella choreographed by Matthew Bourne. Bourne’s version is set during the Blitz and Molly’s solo takes place just after a horrific war scene. Molly says “I chose to perform this solo because I love how innovative Matthew Bourne’s choreography is, and it is a role I aspire to perform in the future. It is a solo that challenges me because the character is frantic, but it is important that my movements are clear and defined. It also allows me to demonstrate my strengths in portraying a character with emotion and theatricality. I was mentored by Ashley Shaw and Kate Lyons who have both performed the role. It was fantastic to work with them on characterisation and interpreting the intent behind each movement and its' significance. I am really excited to perform it at the Bloomsbury with the addition of lights and music, when I can fully immerse myself in the role.”

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