Central School Of Ballet

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Stories from the Ballet Central tour… Spotlight on dancer, Chelsea Wewege

Calendar Posted 17 June 2019

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

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