Posted 18 April 2013
Central School of Ballet (CSB), one of Europe’s leading centres for dance training and education is celebrating 30 years since the school first offered professional dance training to students from the UK and around the world.
Founded by Ann Stannard and the late Christopher Gable CBE, CSB is now an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama and is based at studios in London’s Clerkenwell. The core of the curriculum is a three year degree course, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance (validated by the University of Kent). CSB is the only dance school in the UK to offer this unique qualification.
CSB is further distinguished by its touring company Ballet Central which was formed in 1984 to provide final year students first-hand experience of professional dance. Touring the UK, visiting regional theatres and performing a wide repertoire provide additional training for CSB students who are recognised in their subsequent careers for their maturity and professionalism.
The founders of CSB aimed to create a school that valued the artistic expression in dance as well as the importance of technique. Christopher also wanted less emphasis on an exact physical body shape and more on nurturing talent and a hard-working attitude.
Carole Gable, Christopher’s dance partner in the Royal Ballet and wife was a founder member of CSB is still actively involved today, as a board member but also contributing to the Ballet Central tour each year as Third Year Ballet Tutor and Ballet Central Rehearsal Coach.
Christopher\'s aims, 30 years on, are evident from the successful recruitment of CSB graduates into the top dance and ballet companies worldwide. And equally evident in the feedback from key directors and choreographers who say that Ballet Central dancers are adaptable, focused, mature and highly-trained
One of the best examples of the school’s success is the invitation received by CSB’s Director Sara Matthews (an accomplished choreographer as well as former professional dancer with the Rambert Dance Company) was approached by the Olympic Creative Team last summer. Following the school’s performance of a new ballet based on the themes of the Olympics at the Linbury Studio theatre at the Royal Opera House called Circle of 5, details of the school\'s participation at the London Games were confirmed. CSB dancers performed specific pieces for various venues, part of the entertainment before, during and after events planned by the London Games to keep audiences engaged.
Performances were well received at all the venues including the Olympic Park, the Fencing Competition staged at ExCel and Rhythmic Gymnastics at Wembley Arena. There was such enthusiasm that the International Gymnastic Federation asked for one of the pieces to be performed again, this time at the North Greenwich Arena for the opening of the Trampolining, staged on the run up to the vault apparatus. All pieces were beautifully costumed by the LOCOG creative team with references to British fashion and culture from the past 50 years.
Ballet Central is currently touring Britain visiting 16 towns and cities featuring 21 performances across a four month period. Venues include the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House and the Lowry in Salford Quays. Touring with this unique student ballet company offers a professional performance experience that is not available through any other dance school on such a scale.
Graduates from CSB go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent CSB students are currently employed The Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, Birmingham Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Slovakia Ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and many more.
Posted 15 August 2012
Central School of Ballet dancers have received outstanding reviews for their breathtaking performances at the Olympics. Audiences were enthralled by the 16 new graduates and one second year student from London’s Central School of Ballet (CSB), one of Europe’s premier schools for dance training and education, who performed in front of tens of thousands of people at various venues during the two weeks of Olympic events in London.
The dancers, 7 boys and 10 girls all aged between 18 and 20 years, performed new pieces created especially for the Olympics alongside selected items of the repertoire from the recent nationwide Ballet Central tour.
CSB were approached by the Olympic Creative Team earlier this year and, following their performance of a new ballet at the Linbury Studio theatre at the Royal Opera House called Circle of 5, details of the school\'s participation at the London Games were confirmed. Circle of 5 is a fusion of classical ballet and contemporary dance that echoes the ideals and themes of the Olympics and expertly demonstrates the pure physicality of dancers at this level. The ballet was created for Ballet Central by Mikaela Polley (Rehearsal Director for the Rambert Dance Company) and was granted the Inspire Mark by the London 2012 Inspire Programme. The London 2012 Inspire Programme recognises innovative and exceptional projects that are directly inspired by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games
CSB dancers performed specific pieces for various venues, part of the entertainment before, during and after events planned by the London Games to keep audiences engaged. The Coldplay track Clocks was the basis of a piece choreographed by CSB’s Sara Matthews and Leanne King for the Fencing Competition staged at ExCel. Another site specific dance used the Pulp’s Common People as its soundtrack and was choreographed for CSB dancers by Andrew McNicol. The dancers moved dynamically between the fencing pistes encouraging audiences at ExCel to focus around the arena. All pieces were beautifully costumed by the LOCOG creative team with references to British fashion and culture from the past 50 years.
For the Rhythmic Gymnastics (which is a combination of gymnastics and dance) at Wembley Arena CSB created a solo piece to the Bowie track Boys Keep Dancing. Performed by 2nd year student Thomas Edwards, and recent graduate Jacob Wye the balletic and athletic style of the dance was created as a counterpoint to the group and female emphasis of the Rhythmic Gymnastics.
CSB’s performances were received with such enthusiasm that the International Gymnastic Federation asked for the \'Clocks\' piece to be performed again, this time at the North Greenwich Arena for the opening of the Trampolining, staged on the run up to the vault apparatus.
Two contemporary dances were also performed; a new piece called Code created by Sharon Watson also for Ballet Central (Sharon is Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance Theatre) and finally a piece called And then their hopes soared… created by CSB’s Director Sara Matthews. Both were staged, along with Circle of 5, in front of an enthusiastic audience in the Olympic Park during the Games.
Sara Matthews, Director of CSB and leading choreographer said: “We were delighted to be invited by LOCOG to be part of the London Games. It has been a truly unique opportunity for our new graduates to perform at the Olympics with such enthusiastic worldwide audiences. And a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the sheer hard work and athleticism that unites dance at this level with the world’s leading sportsmen and women.”
Posted 15 March 2012
Following three years of training at Central, Max will graduate this summer with a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance. Now aged 18, Max gained his early enthusiasm for dance by attending the Nydza School of Dance & Performing Arts in Bradford.
Max is currently on a nationwide tour with Ballet Central, the third year touring company of CSB,which offers an unrivalled opportunity to see new works by renowned choreographers as well as much-loved dance pieces performed live in local theatres.
The one year contract with Birmingham Royal Ballet will commence at the end of March. Max will also be appearing with Ballet Central at a number of venues on their national tour including in his home county of Leeds at the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre on Saturday 28th April and The Lowry, Salford Quays on 25th April.
Max said: “I am thrilled to be selected by such a prestigious ballet company as BRB. Professional dance training at the top level as offered by CSB is tough, very competitive and hugely demanding physically, but wonderful too. CSB have been enormously supportive and have worked so hard to help me achieve first professional contract. I can’t wait to start at BRB but I am also excited about performing in Yorkshire and at other locations with Ballet Central before I graduate in July.”
Sought-after contracts in top ballet companies are the goal of every student dancer but they are not easily achieved. Sara Matthews, Director of CSB explains: “Joining a company of such international renown is a wonderful opportunity for Max. To have reached a professional standard before the completion of his course is a huge achievement. In joining Birmingham Royal Ballet Max continues a long history of CSB graduates that have gained jobs with top national and international ballet companies, reflecting the excellence of the teaching faculty here at CSB. We wish him many congratulations.”
Posted 10 February 2012
Central graduate, and Premier Dancer at Northern Ballet, Kenneth Tindall made his choreographic debut on 9 February 2012. His piece, Project 1, was premiered as part of Northern Ballet's Perpetual Motion programme, which also features Christopher Hampson's 'Perpetuum Mobile', David NIxon's 'Rhapsody in Blue' and Daniel de Andrade' 'Glass Canon'.
Click here for a behind the scenes video about Kenneth Tindall's Project 1
For more information about Northern Ballet's Perpetual Motion programme click here
Posted 9 February 2012
Central School of Ballet is delighted to announce the launch of its own in-house Junior School syllabus, which will reflect Central's unique and internationally recognised method of vocational training.
Sara Matthews, Director, says:
"Central School of Ballet is committed to giving all students the opportunity to be the best dancer they can be, and to developing creative and versatile dancers at all levels. We are proud of our youngest dancers and the vitality that they add to our school. I am thrilled that this launch of a new dedicated Junior School Syllabus is an opportunity for our young dancers to enjoy the diversity and benefits of the same principle methods of training as our Senior School. This is an exciting next stage in our Junior School development, and I look forward to following the progress of these young dancers as they move through the new levels and who knows, possibly even to our Senior School one day."
The new syllabus will enable Central to offer a fuller and more diverse dance experience, with more performance opportunities than are currently offered. A wider selection of dance styles including jazz, contemporary and musical theatre will be offered, in addition to ballet, which remains as the core discipline.
Posted 3 February 2012
Final year student, Max Maslen, has made it through to the finals of the 2012 Prix de Lausanne. Max will be participating in the final on Saturday in Switzerland, performing a solo from Swan Lake, and Cathy Marston's 'Caliban'.
Full details of the finalists can be found here.
The live finals will be streamed here from 4pm UK time.
Posted 25 January 2012
Following the surprise resignation of Sergei Polunin from the Royal Ballet on 24 January, Central School of Ballet Director Sara Matthews was interviewed by Channel 4 News about the challenges facing professional dancers.
While, the reasons for Polunin's departure are currently unclear, Channel 4 News were interested to ask whether or not dancers do face the pressures as shown in films like Black Swan.
Sara commented that dancers can only deal with the pressures if they love dancing. She also observes that dancers are often seen as athletes, but while athletes' training has peaks of activity with down time, dancers tend to be working all the time.
For the full article on Channel 4 News click here.
Posted 17 January 2012
Central School of Ballet (CSB), one of Europe’s premier centres for dance training and education, is launching a satellite school in Southwark to give pupils in the borough access to free weekly dance lessons.
Started at the end of October, the free classes have been running for a trial period of five weeks before the official launch on Wednesday 7th December. The dance classes are running in partnership with three of Southwark’s primary schools, and are hosted each week at Alfred Salter Primary School in Quebec Way in Rotherhithe. To date 100 pupils are regularly attending the weekly classes which are planned to run during term time up to July next year.
Funding for the Southwark-based project has come from monies raised by CSB from The Ironmongers' Company, one of the 12 great Livery Companies of the City of London. The funding includes the provision of dance teaching staff; a pianist and a dance uniform for the participating pupils and includes dance shoes.
Children, both boys and girls from Year 3 to Year 6, from Redriff Primary School, St James Primary School as well as Alfred Salter Primary School have been invited to take part. Classes take place after school ends each Wednesday and last for an hour each. There are three levels of class offered based on CSB’s unique model of dance training covering Grades 1-3. The participating schools have held assemblies with a dance theme with information supplied by CSB to engage pupil’s interest.
CSB’s Satellite School, now running in Southwark and planned to expand to other areas in the future, is particularly directed at pupils who may not have access to regular dance classes outside the school curriculum. CSB’s director Sara Matthews explains how the project originated: “Central School of Ballet has long been committed to engaging children in dance across London’s boroughs. Through our relationships with primary and secondary schools, and our annual performances, our Dancing Partners project has allowed over 3000 children to experience dance over the past 10 years. This new initiative is the next step in this programme and an exciting development in our participation work that addresses the gap in year-round dance provision for primary school children in one of the borough’s most deprived areas.”
Sara adds: “This project is the next stage in our long-term partnership with Southwark Primary Schools and it represents a completely new, sustainable approach to dance participation work.”
The benefits of regular dance classes are multifarious, as Jess Mahoney, CSB’s Learning & Participation Manager explains: “Feedback from schools across the country where we run workshops is unanimously positive. Not only do pupils enjoy the workshops their teachers tell us, but they also break down any preconceptions about dance and improve creativity. Dance classes provide pupils the opportunity to be physically active but offer so much more. Dance helps the development of coordination, the ability to respond to music and it requires discipline and focus. We find that there are emotional benefits too such as building confidence. And all this can feed back into behaviour in the normal classroom and at home, and help motivate participation in other physical exercise.”
“We could not offer any of this activity without the support of generous organisations and individuals”, Jess adds. “We are particularly grateful to The Ironmongers’ Company for funding the first six months of the project in Southwark to help build a strong foundation for the future.”
Shaun Dellenty, Deputy Headmaster of Alfred Salter Primary School comments: “We are delighted to host Central School of Ballet’s Satellite School. The children have been incredibly excited about taking part in the dance classes and we have seen an excellent response already. Alfred Salter School is committed to developing excellence in The Arts and this collaboration with CSB enables our students to access first-class dance training – something that hasn’t been available in the area previously – on their doorsteps.” He adds: “We are looking forward to the future development of the Satellite School and the benefits this will bring for children in the area.”
The Ironmongers’ Company said: “We are pleased to support Central School of Ballet's Satellite School for primary aged children in Southwark. The Company is committed to giving children from disadvantaged backgrounds the skills and motivation they need to make the most of life. The satellite school offers an enjoyable way to build confidence, discipline and fitness for children who would not otherwise be able to access high quality dance training.”
For more information visit www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk
For press information and images please contact Hamilton Consulting Tel: 020 8742 0566
Anita Hamilton m: 07768 778 772 email: Anita@hamiltonconsulting.org.uk
Posted 17 January 2012
Amelia Jackson from Tickton, near Beverly in East Yorkshire has been accepted for professional dance training at one of Europe’s premier schools for dance training and education, Central School of Ballet (CSB) in London.
Amelia, aged 17, has been dancing since she was just four years old. She has now completed her first term at CSB, one of only 38 pupils accepted for a place on this three year degree course, a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance (validated by the University of Kent). CSB is the only dance school in the UK to offer this unique qualification. Amelia was selected for her place from 400 applicants.
Entrance to CSB is through auditions which are held every spring, a process that involves performing for the school’s teaching staff, all of whom are ex professional dancers themselves. The course’s main focus is on Classical Ballet supported by Contemporary Dance as an additional subject, and also includes tuition in Choreography, Spanish Dance, Pilates, Jazz Dance, Drama, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Singing and Contextual Studies.
Amelia gained her early enthusiasm for dance by attending the Royal Ballet School in Richmond and London where she gained five GCSEs alongside her dance training. Amelia’s mother was previously a dance teacher herself.
Sara Matthews, director of CSB explains the competition for places at a dance school at this level: “Students typically join us aged 16 after GCSE. By this stage many of them will have been dancing since primary school. Only the most talented and dedicated students are accepted but ballet is no longer an elitist profession. Around 25% of CSB students are given some kind of financial assistance through the school to allow them to complete their tuition here. We have a long history of accepting students from a diverse range of social and economic backgrounds.”
During her final year Amelia will join the school's touring company Ballet Central. Ballet Central’s annual nationwide tour will visit 22 venues this spring including the Lowry in Salford Quays and the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House. For more information about the 2012 tour that commences on 8 March in Hertford visit balletcentral.co.uk.
Touring with this unique student ballet company offers a professional performance experience that is not available through any other dance school on such a scale. Sara Matthews comments: “We are the only vocational ballet school able to offer our students an Honours Degree and this level of touring experience. Ballet Central continues to be a springboard for hundreds of dancers into the top international dance companies. Dancers live to perform so touring is a much anticipated part of our three year curriculum.”
Graduates from CSB go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent CSB students are currently employed at The Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, Birmingham Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Slovakia Ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and many more.
For more information visit www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk
For press information and images please contact Hamilton Consulting, Anita Hamilton:
t: 020 8742 0566
m: 07768 778 772
Posted 9 January 2012
What shall I wear?
There is no specific dress code for our classes. For your first class just wear something comfortable that you can move in. As you progress you may prefer to wear a leotard and tights. You don't need to wear ballet shoes for you first class but we recommend you wear them for subsequent classes. Contemporary classes are taken barefoot.
Which class is right for me?
Absolute Beginners (David Kierce)
Perfect for people who have never done a ballet class before. Or people who did ballet as a child and would love to get back into it! You learn from the start, with an easy guide to how to use your body correctly. With a focus on posture which helps with every day life and self confidence. The class is fun and uplifting perfect for all ages!
Beginner (Improver) Ballet (David Kierce)
Perfect for people who have taken ballet for a year! This class is designed to take you further in ballet technique! Less time is spent on the barre, more time in the centre. Focusing on moving across the floor turning and jumping. This class is fun uplifting and perfect for all ages!
General (Paul Lewis)
This class is aimed at people who have a good grounding in Ballet and are either keeping them selves in shape for auditions or are just doing it for fun as they love to dance and move and want to keep themselves in shape. It is less technically challenging than my Advanced/ Professional class but does require the student to have considerable prior learning in place. (Even if they are a bit rusty!) Paul teaches the class at a slightly slower pace and he is very happy to explain movements that students don't understand. The class recently has attracted people returning to ballet after quite a few years absence and they had a great time!
Can I pay in advance, or for a block of classes?
Our classes are drop in only and are payable with cash on the door. We are unable to take advance payment or block bookings.
What facilities do you have?
We have men and women's changing rooms, with showers which are available for your use, however we recommend that you take any valuables with you into the studio.