Central School Of Ballet

Press Releases

Central School of Ballet announces new MA Choreography participants: Sandrine Monin and Anjali Mehra-Hughes

Calendar Posted 18 March 2019

Central School of Ballet announces new MA Choreography programme students: Anjali Mehra-Hughes from New Adventures and Sandrine Monin from Phoenix Dance Theatre. The students joined Central this spring on the MA programme that 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.

Anjali completed her professional dance training at Central School of Ballet where she also won the Christopher Gable Choreographer Award. She joined New Adventures in 1999 and now combines a career as a choreographer and a performer. Anjali has worked in dance, opera and in film and commercial projects. She was in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams and the recent production of Kiss Me, Kate at Theatre Du Chatelet. With New Adventures her roles have included Irina in The Red Shoes, the Queen and Girlfriend in Swan Lake 2013/14, Glenda in Play Without Words and Sugar in Nutcracker!

Anjali said: “Doing the MA in choreography will give me the chance to explore and analyse my work in depth and spend time pushing my creativity and practice. Returning to Central where I trained to begin the next chapter in my life is very exciting and I am really looking forward to the opportunity to work with the next generation of dancers. I hope to consolidate the skills I learned at Central and combine the 20 years’ of professional experience I have gained in the dance industry to find my unique voice as a choreographer.”

Sandrine was born in Montluçon, France and trained at the Conservatory National Superior of Music and Dance in Lyon. Sandrine trained and danced across Europe before moving to Leeds in 2012 to join Phoenix Dance Theatre, where she performed works by choreographers such as Itzik Galili, Christopher Bruce, Sharon Watson, Didy Veldman, and Ivgy & Greben. Sandrine’s choreography credits include successful pieces at Phoenix, beginning with Calyx for the 2016/17 Season, and her selection in 2017 for One Dance UK’s Mentoring Programme and Choreographer’s Observership.

Sandrine said: “The MA is going to allow me to investigate my practice, develop my professional competences and pursue my desire to create work that emotionally engages with the audience. I am looking forward to making this journey with Central School of Ballet and explore my own choreographic voice.”

Central launched an MA in choreography in 2011 and rapidly became a recognised way for professional choreographers to develop their skills and advance their careers. One of its first graduates was Christopher Marney, the current Artistic Director of Ballet Central.

Louise Ainley, has led the postgraduate programme for the past seven years, commented: “Central continues to celebrate valuable links with the dance profession. We are proud to be supporting the career development of talented choreographers who have ambitions to develop their practice at the highest level.”

Central’s MA programme has ballet as its principal focus and provides a bespoke approach to developing expertise. At its core the MA celebrates the importance of communication in dance and each choreographer is encouraged to explore and refine their individual choreographic voice. The postgraduate degree complements Central’s core BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Performance degree, both courses validated by the University of Kent.

Both Sandrine and Anjali are kindly supported by The Leverhulme Trust through their Arts Scholarships initiative. Central is particularly grateful to The Levehulme Trust for supporting emerging choreographers, allowing them to continue to train, to develop as artists, and influence the dance industry with new ideas and skills. For many aspiring choreographers the opportunities offered through Central’s MA programme would be impossible without such support.

Director Heidi Hall commented: “We welcome Anjali and Sandrine to Central, the latest cohort to join this unique programme that offers education, training and funding. Both undergraduate and postgraduate MA students will begin using our new premises in the South Bank in Southwark during the academic year 2019/2020. We recently announced that works have started on the bespoke fit-out of the building to provide amenities to rival dance training facilities anywhere in the UK; seven studios, a fully-equipped studio theatre, study, state-of the-art health suite and resource centres.” Heidi continues: “Our new Paris Gardens home will become a hub for a dynamic dance community, a place where professional choreographers will be stimulated to generate work and refresh their ideas.”

Central School of Ballet announces the commencement of works at new South Bank premises following successful fundraising campaign

Calendar Posted 20 February 2019

Central School of Ballet, the world-leading professional dance training organisation and part of the renowned Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, today announces the commencement of works for the bespoke fit-out of their new premises in London’s flourishing arts community on the South Bank in Southwark following a successful fundraising campaign.

This is a £9million project that involves the full relocation of the school to its new premises including the fit-out of the building. In March 2017 Central announced a campaign to raise £6million to finance the development and now, less than two years later, under £1million is required for the final stages of the Paris Gardens building. Support to date has come from individuals, major Trusts and Foundations and from two loans; £3million from Southwark Council and £600,000 from the Arts Impact Fund. Fundraising continues in earnest to repay the two loans.

Students on Central’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes will begin using the new South Bank premises during the academic year 2019/20.

The new Paris Gardens premises will feature amenities to rival dance training facilities anywhere in the UK; seven studios, a fully-equipped studio theatre, study and resource centres. The fit-out will include a state-of-the-art health suite providing psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy, Pilates and recovery from injury programme.

The aim is to become a hub for a dynamic dance community combining excellence in dance training for those aiming for a professional career and a programme of opportunities for the local Southwark community.

Central currently runs a thriving community at its current premises in Clerkenwell. Over 1200 people use Central’s facilities each week; from students training for a professional career in dance to children taking their first steps in ballet and adults using dance to improve fitness and wellbeing. The new premises in the South Bank will over the next five years allow the school to offer dance classes to thousands more in the Southwark area and give the local community opportunity to see and take part in dance and other performances in the new Studio Theatre alongside a range of other programmes in the building.

Heidi Hall, Director of Central School of Ballet, said: “The response to the capital campaign to finance our move announced less than two years ago has been exceptional. It has been most encouraging that organisations and individual arts enthusiasts believe in our ambition for wider access to dance for the public and improved training facilities for those aiming for a professional dance career. I am particularly grateful to Cllr Peter John and Southwark Council for their interest in and support of Central’s work, and to all our loyal supporters who have believed in our passion and determination to deliver this project.”

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “This is wonderful news and we look forward to seeing the finished building and officially welcoming the Central School of Ballet as part of Southwark’s growing reputation as a cultural destination. It is one of our key commitments that local people are able to benefit from the regeneration happening across the borough, and as well as offering local people access to world class entertainment, the school is already running a satellite Ballet school at the Alfred Salter school which has been established since 2012 in anticipation of their move.”

Seva Phillips, Head of Arts & Culture Finance, Nesta commented: "Central School of Ballet's continued fundraising success will mean that more young people will be able to benefit from the majesty of ballet for many years to come. The state-of-the-art Paris Gardens building will also be springboard for professional dancers, making an important contribution to London's thriving artistic and cultural ecosystem. Through the Arts Impact Fund's involvement with this project, we have been keen to demonstrate the value of social investment to long-standing cultural institutions embedded in their communities."

London’s Central School of Ballet returns to the US in a search for new young dance talent

Calendar Posted 14 February 2019

London, February 13, 2019,. Leading professional dance training organisation Central School of Ballet in London will return to the US this March to recruit young dance talent from the United States to train on their three year degree programme. Central hosted a special recruitment and dance day in New York last February (2018) offering young dancers the chance to take part in a workshop with Central’s Christopher Marney, former principal dancer with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and now Ballet Central Artistic Director, and to audition. Last year’s audition session was highly successful and three young US dancers were offered and accepted places for the current academic year joining Central in the first and second year of the degree programme.

Central has a history of attracting international dance talent from around the world including Japan, Australia, Italy, France, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, and Singapore alongside those from the UK.

Auditions for places commencing this autumn, for the 2019/20 academic year, will again take place in New York, attended by Artistic Director Christopher Marney and Leanne King who is leading the campaign for new students in the US. There will again be an opportunity to take part in a special workshop with Christopher Marney. The date and venue:

Sunday 3rd March, The Ailey Studios, The Joan Weill Center for Dance 405 West 55th Street at 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10019.

Applications can be made via www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk/usa

The draw for those selected is the opportunity to gain professional level training that equips graduate dancers for jobs in the best international dance companies and leading musical theatre productions. The added benefit is a degree qualification, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance validated by the UK’s University of Kent. The core curriculum is classical ballet and Central is renowned for its versatile and comprehensive training that includes Contemporary Dance, Choreography, Contextual Studies Dance Research, Jazz Dance, Drama and Spanish Dance.

Leanne King, who leads the US campaign, explains the reasons for returning to New York in 2019: “We were very impressed by the talent and commitment of young dancers at our inaugural visit to the US last year. I have been running an exchange programme with dance school SLK Ballet in New York for many years and it is very pleasing that we are now attracting dancers to train with us full time.”

Christopher Marney, Artistic Director commented: “The talent, dedication and determination of the US students who joined our cohort here at Central became evident from the very start. We look forward to our return visit to New York and anticipate meeting more talented young dancers who would like to benefit from training in London and learn from the dance industry leaders who contribute to our degree programme.”

The final year of the undergraduate degree course focuses on performance when the students join Central’s touring company Ballet Central. The annual tour typically visits over 20 venues across the UK in the spring and will this year will culminate in a performance in Tokyo, Japan. Performing a range of repertoire choreographed by some of the most renowned figures in the dance industry to ticket-buying audiences is an enriching experience for the students, enhancing their skills and development, making them particularly employable. Recent graduate destinations include Birmingham Royal Ballet; Scottish Ballet; Ballet Black; Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures; Michael Clark Company; Rambert Dance Company; Northern Ballet; Milwaukee Ballet; Martha Graham Dance Company; Minnesota Ballet; Phantom of the Opera and An American in Paris.

Central will move to its new premises in the flourishing arts community in the South Bank in Southwark in the academic year 2019/2020. Students will gain from the opportunity to train in the centre of London, at the heart of the capital’s rich culture and arts scene which includes over 200 professional theatres.

Central, an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, also offers the chance to work with and benefit from its dance industry leaders. One example is a partnership with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures whereby two final year Central students are selected each year to join the company and perform in selected productions and learn directly from the experience of working with professionals.

Director Heidi Hall said: “The dance industry needs versatile dancers who are not only elite athletes but also performers who communicate to audiences. Central only wants to attract top talent and we are looking abroad for the best alongside our broad recruitment activities here in the UK.”

Ballet Central announces 2019 international tour; 21 venues commencing in London 28th March

Calendar Posted 15 January 2019

Central School of Ballet’s renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central will commence its annual tour at the Stratford Circus Arts Centre, London, on Thursday 28th March 2019. Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, Ballet Central’s diverse range of dance and theatre will perform in 20 venues across England over a five month period (full tour schedule at the end of the release) and will go on to perform in Tokyo, Japan.

This season’s repertoire delivers an exciting performance of theatricality, technical excellence and drama choreographed by top dance industry influencers, with stunning costumes enhanced by powerful music. The repertoire includes Christopher Marney’s Carousel Dances, inspired by the 1945 musical Carousel by Rodgers and Hammerstein, a unique version of the Dying Swan Solo created by Calvin Richardson, and the Company is delighted to present an extract from Frederick Ashton’s acclaimed Valses Nobles et Sentimentales performed to Maurice Ravel’s suite of waltzes. Following the wonderful response to Kenneth MacMillan’s piece in the 2018 tour, Ballet Central is honoured to present another excerpt from MacMillan’s works, House of Birds, based on the Grimm Brothers’ macabre fairy tale, Jorinda and Joringel. Ballet Central also presents Jasmin Vardimon’s (in between), a physical contemporary work first created with the National Youth Dance Company in 2013. And for the first time, Ballet Central is collaborating with Thiago Soares, principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, who has created a new work with Ballet Central’s young dancers which will be premiered in London at a series of performances at the Bloomsbury Theatre in July.

Ballet Central has already performed 15 shows of The Nutcracker at the ADC Theatre in Cambridge and at the British Museum in December. Adding an international date to the 2019 tour in Tokyo, Japan demonstrates the increasing popularity of the Company’s theatrical dance performances.

Christopher Marney, Artistic Director of Ballet Central comments: "Audience attendance for last year’s Ballet Central tour was higher than ever. The exciting repertoire brought by these influential choreographers not only entertains our audiences, but also ensures our talented young dancers secure employment with leading dance companies and musical theatre productions worldwide.”

The annual Ballet Central tour offers audiences across the country the chance to see the company’s young and dynamic dancers showcase the best dance theatre from current industry professionals alongside newly-commissioned work and refreshed classics from the world’s top choreographers. Ticket prices are deliberately low in order to make the tour widely accessible in each venue.

Ballet Central is the touring company of Central School of Ballet in London, the leading centre for professional dance training and education. Students in the final year of their three-year BA (Hons) degree course in Professional Dance and Performance join Ballet Central to gain invaluable touring experience before graduation. Ballet Central’s dancers not only perform but also help with technical aspects including lighting, sound, staging and wardrobe.

Central’s graduates go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Performing a range of repertoire on the Ballet Central tour choreographed by some of the most renowned figures in the dance industry to ticket-buying audiences is an enriching experience for the students, enhancing their skills and development, making them particularly employable. Recent Central students are currently employed with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Rambert, Ballet Black, Phantom of the Opera, West End & Worldwide, Milwaukee Ballet - USA, Singapore Dance Theatre, Sarasota Ballet - USA, K-Ballet - Japan, New English Ballet Theatre.

Ballet Central Tour 2019:

London 28th March

Stratford Circus Arts Centre

www.stratford-circus.com

Tonbridge 30th March

EM Forster Theatre

www.emftheatre.com

Bury St Edmunds 11th April

Theatre Royal

www.theatreroyal.org

Leeds 14th April

Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre

www.theatreleeds.com

Cambridge 22nd & 23rd April

ADC Theatre

www.adctheatre.com

Uppingham 26th April

Uppingham Theatre

www.uppinghamtheatre.co.uk

Birmingham 27th April

The Crescent Theatre

www.crescent-theatre.co.uk

Norwich 2nd May

Norwich Playhouse

www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

Chelmsford 3rd May

Civic theatre

www.chelmsford.gov.uk/theatres

Lincoln 9th May

New Theatre Royal

www.newtheatreroyallincoln.co.uk

Sale 11th May

Waterside

www.watersidearts.org

Newbury 14th May

Newbury Spring Festival

Corn Exchange

www.newburyspringfestival.org.uk

Salisbury 30th May

Salisbury Playhouse (Arts Festival)

www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk

Bridport 1st & 2nd June

Bridport Arts Centre

www.bridport-arts.com

Winchester 4th June

Theatre Royal Winchester

www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk

Chipping Norton 8th June

The Theatre

www.chippingnortontheatre.com

Bath June 14th, 15th & 16th

Theatre Royal – the egg

www.theatreroyal.org.uk

Crawley 24th June

The Hawth Theatre

www.hawth.co.uk

Letchworth 28th June

Broadway Theatre

www.broadway-letchworth.com

London 20th July

Bloomsbury Theatre

www.thebloomsbury.com

Tokyo, Japan 28th July

Sun Pearl Arakawa

www.sunpearl-arakawa.com

Ballet Central to stage The Nutcracker at The ADC Theatre Cambridge, 13th – 15th December 2018 Extended Christmas run due to popular demand

Calendar Posted 23 July 2018

Following their sell-out performances last Christmas, Ballet Central will return to the ADC Theatre, Cambridge on 13th – 15th December to perform their adaptation of the Christmas classic, The Nutcracker.

In a limited run of eight performances directed by Ballet Central Artistic Director Christopher Marney, Ballet Central will present their dazzling 45-minute version of the time-honoured Nutcracker, 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. Tickets are priced at just £10 and there are eight performances which take place at 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm on Thursday 13th December and at 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm on both Friday 14th and Saturday 15th December. Tickets available from www.adctheatre.com and the ADC Theatre Box Office on 01223 300085.

It is Christmas Eve and Clara explores the fantasy world of Drosselmeyer's toyshop. As her dreams come alive before her eyes the dolls take her on a journey to the enchanted forest and onwards to the Kingdom of Sweets. Join us as Clara meets all the colourful characters, from the Nutcracker Prince to the Sugar Plum Fairy in this festive, sparkling, quintessential Christmas performance.

Christopher Marney, Ballet Central Artistic Director said: “It has long been a dream of mine to present a special adaptation of the Nutcracker, aimed at family audiences so that young children as well as grandparents will enjoy the fantasy and sparkle of the ballet. The Cambridge audiences were so receptive to our performances last year that we can’t wait to return this December with an extended run.”

Central School of Ballet brings dance to primary schools in Southwark and Hackney this June

Calendar Posted 26 June 2018

Central School of Ballet, one of Europe’s leading centres for professional dance training, has announced an expansion of its successful primary school dance initiative to include 800 pupils at six new schools in inner London Boroughs. Participating schools have all received free dance workshops this month, delivered by a Dance Education Specialist that will consist of a dance-focused PE class, using bespoke resource packs. Dancers from Central’s touring company Ballet Central have also assisted in several of the workshops, all accompanied by a live pianist.

The selected primary schools include two in the London Borough of Hackney; Sebright Primary School and Woodberry Down Community Primary and four schools in Southwark; Michael Faraday School, Riverside Primary School, Snowsfield Primary School and Pilgrims Way Primary School. In addition, as part of their weekly assembly, three schools in Southwark; Snowsfield Primary School, Tower Bridge Primary and Harris Free School Peckham, have seen a short dance piece by Ballet Central dancers. The dancers also hosted question and answer sessions with pupils after each performance.

In preparation for this June’s workshops, Central’s Dance Education Specialist Maria Forbes provided each of the primary school’s PE teachers with an INSET (IN-SErvice Training) day.

Mr Shahajahan Ali, Year 4 teacher at Michael Faraday said: “This was a great opportunity for our children to learn about and, more importantly, to try some ballet. Central pitched the session just right so that it was accessible and engaging, which encouraged the children to practice and perform. The children learned about technical terms in a way that made sense to them. It was great to see learners develop individual moves into a routine, by following instructions and guidance, but, most importantly, with the encouragement to be creative.”

Kadija, Year 4 pupil Michael Faraday aged nine years commented: “The ballet was cool. I really enjoyed doing the turns. The people were fun.”

Michael Faraday Head Teacher Karen Fowler added “We are always keen to provide our children with experiences they would otherwise not have. To work with Central School of Ballet was an amazing and very exciting opportunity that both children and adults really enjoyed. Probably the best outcome was to discover real talent in certain children who struggle academically – their confidence has soared! We want Central back!!”

Central has been delivering outreach dance projects in Southwark since 2011 centred on the borough’s Alfred Salter Primary School where they offer free dance classes to children from across the borough aged 8-11years. Central, which provides degree level training as well as dance classes from juniors through to adults, has advanced plans to move to new premises in Southwark. It is hoped that their new Paris Gardens building, currently a concrete shell waiting the final specialist fit-out, will become a hub for a dynamic dance community for all ages and abilities to take part and watch performances.

“Central has a long history of delivering outreach projects to children who may not otherwise get access to dance,” said Director Heidi Hall, “In Southwark these have ranged from workshops with children, to mentoring schemes and training primary school teachers to enable them to deliver dance classes as part of the PE Curriculum. Our aim is to widen the scope of dance, to ensure that it is accessible to all abilities and ages, from all backgrounds.”

Heidi continues: “Our activities in Southwark and Hackney this June are a targeted extension of this work and we hope that the exciting addition of the attendance of our Ballet Central dancers, many of whom are about to embark on professional dance careers, will inspire pupils to continue to dance in school”.

Central School of Ballet announces new appointments: Christopher Hampson joins the board and Christopher Hinton-Lewis joins as ballet tutor

Calendar Posted 11 June 2018

Central School of Ballet has announced that Christopher Hampson, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Scottish Ballet, will join Central’s Board of Governors from the start of the new academic year in September 2018. At the same time Christopher Hinton-Lewis, currently Guest Ballet Master for Northern Ballet will join Central’s artistic staff as First Year Male Tutor.

Christopher Hampson has recruited many of Central’s graduates, this year including final year student Rishan Benjamin who will join Scottish Ballet in August, so is familiar with the calibre of training delivered by the school. Christopher’s enormous wealth of experience dating back to his training at the Royal Ballet School, his choreographic work and performances at English National Ballet, and the accolades received for his work across the world will be a welcome addition to Central’s board of governors. Since Christopher joined Scottish Ballet, the Company has performed in theatres across the world including The Kennedy Center, The Royal Opera House, The Maryinsky Theatre and the Joyce Theatre, New York. He has brought some of the most sought after creators in dance to work with Scottish Ballet, including Crystal Pite, David Dawson, Javier de Frutos and Helen Pickett. This artistic ambition fits well with the vision and motivation of Central’s Director Heidi Hall and Christopher Marney, Central’s Artistic Director, who are leading the organisation’s move to new premises in the South Bank community in London.

Christopher Hampson said: “I am delighted to be joining Central School of Ballet’s Board of Governors at such an exciting time in their development. Central has been a part of my professional life for many years; from creating new works for their Ballet Central tours to more latterly, looking to them as key providers of dancers to major companies throughout the world. Central School of Ballet’s unique commitment to a holistic approach to dance training is as relevant today as it was during its founding years under Christopher Gable, and continues to provide the profession with accomplished and mature dancers. I greatly look forward to working with the dedicated Directors Heidi Hall, Christopher Marney, and the rest of the Board of Governors.”

Christopher Hinton-Lewis joins Central at an exciting time. He will become First Year Male Ballet Tutor, replacing Stephen Williams who has held the position for 26 years. Christopher has had a very successful career as a Principal Dancer with Northern Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet, working closely with choreographers such as David Nixon, Cathy Marston as well as his new colleague at Central Christopher Hampson. Chris Hinton-Lewis is currently Guest Ballet Master for Northern Ballet and teaches on the Northern Ballet Academy programme and is frequently in demand delivering company class for New Adventures and Wayne McGregor. Alongside his performance and teaching career he is a recent graduate from the University of Leeds and holds a BSc in Sports and Exercise Science. This varied expertise in performance, teaching and academic insight will contribute to Central’s increasing influence in professional dance training.

Chris Hinton-Lewis said: “I’m really excited to be joining the team at Central School of Ballet. I look forward to working alongside colleagues who share my passion for developing the next generation of dancers. I hope to bring my knowledge and experience to the studio, and help the dancers to achieve their potential and to fulfil their dreams.”

Heidi Hall commented: “These high calibre professional appointments to Central’s team illustrate our determination to deliver world-class training and to produce graduate dancers with successful careers that influence the dance industry. I am particularly grateful to Christopher Hampson who has provided me with encouragement and support since I took up the position of Director two years ago – he shares my ambition and artistic endeavour for young dancers. I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to Central next academic year and to seeing their impact on the students and organisation as a whole as we move to Paris Gardens in the South Bank.”

New Adventures and Central School of Ballet are pleased to announce our Student Associates for 2017/18 – Alexander Fadayiro and Lewis Bondu.

Calendar Posted 8 June 2018

New Adventures and Central School of Ballet are pleased to announce our Student Associates for 2017/18 – Alexander Fadayiro and Lewis Bondu.

Alexander and Lewis, were selected after a weekend of auditions earlier this year. Both will be involved in the rehearsal period for Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at 3 Mills Studios this summer. They will then support the Company by performing in various performances during the show’s Christmas season at Sadler’s Wells from 4 December 2018 – 27 January 2019.

The company is committed to supporting dance schools and conservatoires in nurturing, and developing the next generation of talent for the Company and the Student Associates programme will continue to build on existing work in this area. New Adventures has a long history of employing dancers who have graduated from Central School of Ballet. In 2016 longstanding Company member, Christopher Marney, became the new Artistic Director of Ballet Central and Matthew Bourne is also an Artistic Advisor of Central School of Ballet.

“For a third year running we are delighted to be providing this opportunity for two more students from Central School of Ballet to join us as our Student Associates for our 2018/19 UK tour. This year as we are bringing back Swan Lake we have decided to give the opportunity to two young Male dancers. We are looking forward to Lewis and Alexander joining us in rehearsals this summer. The success of our previous four associates has been tremendous with each of them continuing to work with us throughout our UK and International tour of Cinderella.” - Matthew Bourne, Artistic Director of New Adventures

"The student associate scheme has kickstarted the careers of all the alumni that have taken part. It has given them the opportunity to learn directly from Matthew Bourne and his team utilising the skills they have learnt at Central School of Ballet. This experience has guided them in positive, new directions and enriched them as young artists. Matthew's Swan Lake changed me as a dancer when I performed it and I am thrilled that Alex and Lewis will have the same opportunity to discover themselves in this masterpiece."- Christopher Marney, Artistic Director of Ballet Central

Japanese dancers major in Ballet Central’s 2018 nationwide tour commencing 2nd March in London

Calendar Posted 26 February 2018

The critically acclaimed annual nationwide Ballet Central tour launches on 2nd March in London at RADA’s Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre. This year nine Japanese dancers will be performing on the tour representing just over a third of the female dancers in the company. The Japanese students are the largest group of performers in Ballet Central from any country outside the UK.

Ballet Central will tour this year with a total of 38 dancers; 26 women and 12 men. The majority of dancers are from the UK with small numbers originating from countries across Europe. That so many Japanese dancers are performing with the company this year is a new record. Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, Ballet Central’s diverse range of dance and theatre will perform in 20 towns and cities in England and Wales across a five month period.

The nine dancers, all young women between the ages of 18 and 21 years are: Noe Iwamatsu (21), Haruno Kikuchi (19), Nanane Miyamoto (19), Hitomi Nishizawa (20), Natsuki Ota (19), Reina Takeo (19), Nodoka Takeyama (20), Hitomi Torigoe (21) and Hikari Uemura (18).

Ballet Central is the graduate performing company of Central School of Ballet, one of Europe’s leading professional dance training organisations. Japanese dance students are choosing to train in Europe in increasing numbers and Central is a preferred destination for its three year degree programme and excellent employment opportunities. Students work towards a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance, validated by the University of Kent. In the third year students join Ballet Central, a valuable performing experience that leads to employment in leading international dance companies and musical theatre productions.

Students learn English and participate in academic aspects of the course as well as the practical side of training. Most arrive at Central in the UK aged only 16 or 17, many having never previously travelled outside Japan.

Central’s Director Heidi Hall explains the increasing participation by Japanese students and the school’s long and established relationship with the dance community in Japan: “Japanese student dancers show enormous commitment to training, work hard and are focused on achievement. These are qualities, along with the required talent, are the pre-requisites for a career as a professional dancer.”

She continues: “We have been recruiting directly from Japan for 30 years and interest continues to grow. We visit selected towns and cities in Japan every autumn to run master classes in ballet and contemporary dance with local dance schools so that potential students can learn about what we have to offer at Central and where our training may lead in jobs terms.”

Recent Japanese graduates from Central are now employed by companies all over the world including: Orlando Ballet in the US, Alberta Ballet in Canada, Tokyo City Ballet, Shiki Theatre Company and K Ballet in Japan, Cinevox Dance Company in Switzerland and Compagnie Chorégraphique François Mauduit in France

This year’s Ballet Central tour is testament to the distinguished choreographers that support the young dance company. The tour provides an unrivalled opportunity for the dance students to work with some of the most influential figures in the dance industry. Matthew Bourne of New Adventures honours Ballet Central with the Fairies Prologue from his gothic-reworking of Sleeping Beauty and, for the first time,

Ballet Central will present an excerpt from FAR by multi award-winning choreographer and director Wayne McGregor. Leading choreographer Jenna Lee returns to Ballet Central with her brand new creation Black Swan, a dark twist on the iconic classic. To celebrate the life and work of Kenneth MacMillan, Ballet Central introduces an excerpt from his rarely-seen 1983 ballet Valley of Shadows inspired by Georgio Bassani’s haunting novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.

And finally, to close this year's performance, Christopher Marney will revive scenes from Christopher Gable’s Cinderella on the 25th anniversary of its creation. Set to an acclaimed score by Ballet Central's resident composer Philip Feeney, this is a timeless version of a much-loved fairy tale.

Central School of Ballet announces new MA Choreography participants: Jenna Lee and Sophie Laplane

Calendar Posted 6 February 2018

Central School of Ballet is announcing that esteemed professional choreographers Jenna Lee and Sophie Laplane have joined the organisation’s 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.

Sophie Laplane was appointed as Artist in Residence at Scottish Ballet last June and will continue in this role as she embarks on the MA programme at Central. Sophie joined Scottish Ballet in 2004 and was promoted to First Artist in July 2011. She has choreographed a number of works for the company that have been presented at the Edinburgh International Festival and at large scale theatres across Scotland.

Jenna Lee trained in classical ballet before dancing professionally as a soloist with English National Ballet for a period of 12 years. Jenna founded JLee Productions, a company providing invigorating bespoke entertainment specialising in neo-classical collaborations and innovative choreographic pieces. Jenna has an existing relationship with Central having produced successful works for Ballet Central, this year providing a unique piece for the company based on Black Swan, a dark twist on the iconic classic. She said: “As I continue to develop my relationship with Central School of Ballet, in my view it is the perfect place to study for an MA. It’s a stimulating and supportive environment where I can explore and develop my choreographic practice. Having the opportunity to reflect on my professional development as a choreographer will be extremely valuable.”

Louise Ainley, who has led the postgraduate programme for the past seven years, commented: “Being able to attract professional choreographers of this calibre, who are valued and influential within the profession, demonstrates the founding vision of the MA in Choreography. Our aim continues to provide a context where the art form of dance can be explored, extended and reimagined with vibrancy and future-focussed endeavour.”

Central launched an MA in choreography in 2011, rapidly becoming a recognised way for professional choreographers to develop their skills and advance their careers. One of its first graduates was Chrisopher Marney, the current Artistic Director of Ballet Central.

Central’s MA programme has ballet as its principal focus and provides a bespoke approach to developing expertise. At its core the MA celebrates the importance of communication in dance and each choreographer is encouraged to explore and refine their individual choreographic voice. The postgraduate degree complements Central’s core BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Performance degree, both courses validated by the University of Kent.

Both Sophie and Jenna are kindly supported by The Leverhulme Trust through their Arts Scholarships initiative. Central is particularly grateful to The Levehulme Trust which allows emerging choreographers to continue to train, to develop as artists, and influence the dance industry with new ideas and skills. For many aspiring choreographers the opportunities offered through Central’s MA programme would be impossible without such support.

As Central anticipates its move to new purpose-built premises in Paris Gardens in the South Bank where improved facilities will enhance the MA programme, Heidi Hall, Director of Central School of Ballet said: “Central’s new home in the South Bank community will become a hub for a dynamic dance community, a place where professional choreographers will be stimulated to generate work and refresh their ideas. We welcome Jenna and Sophie and I look forward to many more MA students joining Central on this unique programme in the future”.

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