Graduate Success

Central graduates find employment in contracts, apprenticeships, and full-time jobs in a variety of leading international dance companies and musical theatre productions.

These include Xavier Andriambolanoro Sotiya, dancing with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures; Rachel Neale, touring with The Phantom of the Opera; Sophie Laplane, Resident Choreographer with Scottish Ballet; Harris Beattie, dancer with Northern Ballet; Joseph Poulton, freelance dancer and actor; Kanika Carr, former dancer with Ballet Black and The Lion King and current teacher at the Hammond; Otis Carr, teacher at Trinity Laban and Bird College; Max Maslen, Principal with Birmingham Royal Ballet and Sarah Kundi, former dancer with English National Ballet and current teacher with The Royal Ballet School.

Kanika Carr image by Sebastian Hughes, Dane Hurst image by Nick Guttridge

Xavier Andriambolanoro Sotiya, 2023 Graduate

Xavier Andriambolanoro Sotiya, 2023 Graduate

Xavier Andriambolanoro Sotiya graduated from Central School of Ballet in 2023 and then joined New Adventures as an Emerging Artist for 2023-4. Xavier previously took part in Swan School and a number of other bespoke classes and workshops within their Talent Development programme that focuses on the New Adventures methodology. Xavier made his professional debut in Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands, currently touring nationally throughout 2024, following a seven-week Christmas season at Sadler’s Wells, London. Lyndsey Winship’s review of the production in
the Guardians noted his “bright energy” in the production. Central really helped Xavier develop strong technique whilst also learning new styles of dance which helped him expand his movement and prepared him for professional work. Ballet Central also really helped Xavier to get a feel for professional touring and the preparation process for performances. During his time with Central, in recognition of his talent and dedication, Xavier was awarded scholarships by The Wall Trust, The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors and The Leverhulme Trust.

Image by ASH Photography

“Some advice for the new first years would be being open to new experiences and really throw yourself into things that may be different which is still something I’m working on myself. It really does help having those experiences because it makes you feel a lot more prepared for the dance world.”

Rachel Neale, 2023 Graduate

Rachel Neale, 2023 Graduate

After graduating Central, Rachel joined the International Touring Company of The Phantom of the Opera as a dancer in the Paris Opera Corps de Ballet. Rachel also performs the role of The Firebird in the iconic Act 2 opener ‘Masquerade’. The company is halfway through their Middle Eastern tour which started in September 2023, where they made history as the first musical to be brought to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Rachel performed in the capital Riyadh for 3 months, which she found an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling experience. Through the tour, Rachel has realised the impact that professional performers have on the growing arts industry in the Middle East. Rachel has found that seeing the positive, emotional reactions from audiences really solidifies her love and passion for the art form. The next stop on their tour is Dubai, United Arab Emirates in February 2024 at the famous Dubai Opera for 3 weeks, before then flying to Bulgaria to kick off the European leg of the tour! Rachel is extremely grateful for the wonderful cast and crew that she gets to travel the world with, and the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for her in her dancing career.

Image by ASH Photography

“I would like to thank all the wonderful tutors and staff at Central for their continued support.”

Sophie Laplane, 2019 MA Graduate

Sophie Laplane, 2019 MA Graduate

Franco-British choreographer Sophie Laplane debuted her choreographic skills under the leadership of Scottish Ballet CEO/Director Christopher Hampson. Her first short work, Oxymore, showcased at the Edinburgh Festival 2013, and was hailed as an immediate success by the critics. She has since presented several works for Scottish Ballet in large scale theatres in Scotland and internationally. In addition to works created for Scottish Ballet, Sophie has created various independent pieces, including Click! for Ballet Black at the Barbican, Vis-à-Vis at the New York Choreographic Institute, and Watusi for the National Youth Ballet UK at Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London. Prior to her career as a choreographer, Sophie danced with Scottish Ballet in Classical and Contemporary roles with internationally renowned choreographers.

“The MA Choreography course has enabled me to further define who I am as a choreographer and develop my individual style. I have gained confidence, learning new leadership and collaborative skills, and have also gained an insight into the skills required for career management as a freelance choreographer.”

Harris Beattie, 2018 Graduate

Harris Beattie, 2018 Graduate

Harris Beattie from Aberdeen graduated from Central School of Ballet in London in 2018 with a BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Performance. While he was a final year student at Central he was the first ever competitor to win all three top awards at the prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition 2017. The competition, run by the Royal Academy of Dance, took place in Lisbon and concluded on 16th September at the city’s Teatro Camões. Harris was 18 when he won these respected global awards: the Gold Medal, the Margot Fonteyn Audience Choice Award and the Choreographic Award for his Dancer’s Own variation Torn. He was the first dancer in the 86 year history of the competition to achieve all three. The competition regular attracts the world’s finest young dancers from countries all over the world and is judged each year by the dance industry’s most influential choreographers, directors and dance leaders. Success at the Genée International Ballet Competition is considered a springboard to employment in top dance companies. Harris is now employed as an Artist with Northern Ballet.

“I am thrilled to have taken part in the competition. I have to thank all at Central and Resmi Malko my ballet tutor in particular for his enthusiasm, passion and support; and to Karen Berry at Danscentre for her continued assistance in my development as a dancer.”

Joseph Poulton, 2011 Graduate

Joseph Poulton, 2011 Graduate

Joseph Poulton is a London-based dancer and actor. Joseph trained at Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance, and then graduated from Central School of Ballet in 2011 Joseph’s expansive career thus far includes work in West End productions, across the UK nationally and in film and television. His theatre credits include Evita (Theatre Royal Drury Lane, West End); My Fair Lady (UK and Ireland Tour, London Coliseum, West End); Hairspray (UK Tour); Blues in the Night (Kiln Theatre); Man of La Mancha (London Coliseum, West End); The Grand Old Dame of York (York Theatre Royal); Porgy & Bess(London Coliseum, West End); Carousel (London Coliseum, West End); Kiss Me Kate (UK Tour); The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre, West End); Cats (London Palladium Original West End revival cast and UK Tour); The Wind in the Willows (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Ballet Black (Royal Opera House); Ballet Central (UK Tour). He has also worked in television with All Star Musicals (ITV) and in 2018 was an ensemble performer in the film Mamma Mia – Here We Go Again (Universal Pictures).

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Kanika Carr, 2010 Graduate

Kanika Carr, 2010 Graduate

Kanika Carr graduated from Central School of Ballet in 2010 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. She danced with Ballet Black for six years, working with choreographers including Christopher Marney, Mark Bruce, Kit Holder, Christopher Hampson and Will Tuckett. She went on to join Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York, performing in venues across the USA. After returning to the UK, she then performed with The Lion King West End for two and a half years.

Highlights of her career include working with choreographer Mark Bruce in 2015 for Ballet Blacks ‘The Second Coming’ and performing at The Lion King’s 20th Anniversary show in 2019.

In 2021, Kanika completed her Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma, Royal Academy of Dance and went on to teach Classical Ballet and Contemporary Dance at The Hammond.

Image by Nicholas Rose

“I had some truly inspiring teachers during my time at Central School of Ballet. My fondest memories are of touring and performing with my classmates as part of Ballet Central in my third year. Thanks to the choreographers I was able to work with for the Ballet Central tour, Central was the perfect stepping-stone to a professional career.”

Otis Carr, 2008 Graduate

Otis Carr, 2008 Graduate

Otis graduated from the Central School of Ballet in 2008. He initially trained in Music at the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, later moving to the dance strand to study for A Levels and a BTEC National Diploma. During this time, he also trained as a Ballet Black associate, progressing to Northern School of Contemporary Dance for his first year of pre-professional training. Otis is also a 2013 Finzi Scholar commencing intense study in Countertenor voice.

Upon graduation Otis performed with the Red Tape Dance Company as part of the Malta Arts Festival 2008 going onto further engagements with ACE Dance and Music for their Autumn Tour of SKIN and Turandot at the Royal Opera House 2008, 2017 & 2023. From 2009-2013 Otis danced with Rambert Dance Company working with choreographers including Henri Oguike, Henrietta Horne, Tim Rushton, Marguerite Donlon, Itzik Galli and Mark Baldwin as well as performing in works by Merce Cunningham and Paul Taylor. 2013-2014 included performing as a Signet and Medium Swan in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake National and International tour. 2015 marked the start of a recurring working relationship with Barry Kosky and Otto Pichler creating both the Glyndebourne Opera’s Production of Saul and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden production of The Nose with Saul going on to be presented as part of the Glyndebourne 2015 Tour and the Adelaide Festival 2017. During this time Otis was also engaged with CIE 7273 (Geneva), performing Tarab in Europe, Serbia and the Middle East. Other notable work includes End of Line by Goshka Macuga performing at the Lowry Gallery 2017.

Otis has presented work as part of the Rambert season of new choreography at the Place Theatre 2011, has choreographed for Moveo Dance Company (Malta) 2022, The Royal Ballet Draft Works 2023 and for Trinity Laban student Performance Project (2023) as well as assisting rehearsals with Choreographers Mbulelo Ndabeni, Kirill Burlov and CAT professional Projects (2022)

For the 2019-2020 Academic year Otis was a Graduate Intern in Dance Technique and Programme Support at Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance after which he obtained an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy accreditation (AFHEA) before becoming a Lecturer in Dance from February 2021. He Teaches Classical Ballet, Cunningham based and fusion contemporary dance styles combining training methods explored spanning his fourteen-year career and taught on the Centre for Advance Training programme at Trinity Laban 21-23. He also currently teaches at Bird College and East London Gymnastics Club. Otis is currently engaged with CIE 7273 (Geneva) after re-joining the Company for the creation of Ever 2021 and the revival of Tarab. He is involved in various creative processes, restaging’s and choreographic projects.

Image by Ambra Vernuccio

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Max Maslen, 2008 Graduate

Max Maslen, 2008 Graduate

Max Maslen was born in Bradford, Yorkshire 1993 and started training at the Nydza School of Dance at the age of 3. Alongside ballet, tap, jazz and Mime with Ms. Nydza, Max was awarded BBO Scholarships to train with esteemed former ballerina Brenda Last in London and Manchester monthly.

In 2009, Max joined Central School of Ballet and in his graduate year won a place at the Prix de Lausanne, dancing the Prince from Swan lake and Cathy Marstons ‘Tempest’. After reaching the finals Max was offered employment opportunities in Europe and the USA. However, when returning from the competition, Max took class a with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and under the direction of David Bintley, was offered a contract which he accepted.

Joining as an Artist in 2012, Max danced in all the major classical and contemporary works. In 2017 he debuted as ‘Franz’ in Sir Perter Wrights ‘Coppelia’ as his first Principal role. Max was promoted to Principal dancer under the directorship of Carlos Acosta on stage after a show of Swan Lake in 2023.

His repertoire includes a diverse variety of roles choreographed by Sir Peter Wright, Frederick Ashton, Sir David Bintley, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Carlos Acosta, Edward Clug, Twyla Tharp, Hans Van Manen and George Balanchine.

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Sarah Kundi, 2004 Graduate

Sarah Kundi, 2004 Graduate

Sarah was born in London, UK into Indian heritage, where she undertook her professional training at Central School of Ballet. Upon graduation Sarah pursued her first job at Northern Ballet, then went on to dance with Ballet Black, where she was nominated for a Critic’s Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Female Performance in the Classical sector in 2010, for Will Tuckett’s ‘Depouillement’. Sarah finished her performing career as a First Artist with English National Ballet Summer 2023, where she was awarded the ‘Corps de Ballet Award’ on behalf of English National Ballet in 2017.

Her repertory with English National Ballet included ‘Myrtha’ in Akram Khan’s Giselle, ‘Doctor’ in Akram Khan’s Creature, ‘Stepmother Hortensia’ in Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella, ‘The Queen’ in Jerome Robbins The Cage, Pina Bausch’s ‘Sacre du Printemps’, Mats Ek’s ‘Rite of Spring’, Kenneth Macmillan’s ‘Song of the Earth’, William Forsythe’s ‘In the Middle Somewhat Elevated’, ‘Approximate Sonata’ & ‘Playlist EP’, ‘Carabosse’ in Sleeping Beauty, ‘Madge’ in La Sylphide. Plus multiple roles in Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Giselle, Le Corsaire, Coppelia, Raymonda, Romeo & Juliet, La Sylphide, Manon and Etudes.

Whilst with ENB, Sarah was an Advisor and Facilitator of English National Ballets Pipeline Project, ‘Ballet Futures’, an artistic training programme for children from underrepresented backgrounds. Sarah also coached young upcoming dancers in the company for the annual ‘Emerging Dancer Competition’ over the last three years.

She has been invited to teach at various summer schools including the Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet School, Central School of Ballet and Yorkshire Ballet Seminars. In 2022, Sarah completed her Teachers Training Diploma with the Royal Ballet School, and joined the Royal Ballet School in September 2023 as a ballet teacher.

Image by Laurent Liotardo

“My time at Central was a vital phase in my pre-professional career during which I gained the knowledge and tools necessary to pursue a career in ballet. The school excels in producing dancers who are passionate about their art, creatively versatile and surpass an understanding of artistry.”

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