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Central School Of Ballet

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Conservatoire for Dance and Drama judged world-leading in independent HEFCE review

Calendar Posted 19 May 2016

The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama has been named world-leading in the fields of dance, drama, circus arts and technical theatre, as part of a recent Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) review of institution-specific targeted allocation (ISTA) funding.

HEFCE commissioned an independent panel, chaired by Professor Sir Christopher Frayling and including international experts, to review all submissions. Eligible institutions were invited to submit a written application against published criteria, with evidence required to demonstrate ‘a genuine and consistent reputation within [its] peer group for providing world-leading teaching’ and that the institution’s ‘students, graduates and teaching practitioners are maintaining world-leading developments in their specialisms, or creating the new industries or art forms of the future’.

The Conservatoire for Dance and Drama was created in 2001 as a new higher education institution, with the aim of securing the future of professional training in dance, drama and circus arts in England. It comprises Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Central School of Ballet, LAMDA, London Contemporary Dance School, National Centre for Circus Arts, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, RADA and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Each of the eight affiliates is a small, specialist school offering world-leading training.

Edward Kemp, Principal of the Conservatoire and Director of RADA, said: “The Conservatoire schools are dedicated to the training of exceptional artists, and we are delighted to receive formal recognition from such a distinguished and expert panel for the impact of our students, staff and graduates on the industries they serve, both in the UK and internationally. HEFCE’s support is vital in helping us to nurture a diverse pool of young artists and continuing our work to make this world-leading provision accessible to the most talented students, irrespective of background.”

Christopher Marney appointed Artistic Director of Ballet Central

Calendar Posted 25 April 2016

Choreographer and dancer Christopher Marney, best known as a principal dancer with Matthew Bourne's New Adventures, has today been announced as the new Artistic Director of Ballet Central.

An alumnus of Central School of Ballet, Marney will be responsible for leading Ballet Central, the school's touring company of graduates towards employment in the theatre industry.

Heidi Hall, Acting Director of Central School of Ballet, comments "I am delighted that Christopher is joining the school as Artistic Director of Ballet Central. Christopher and I were both fortunate enough to be taught by the late founder of the school, the legendary Christopher Gable, and I have no doubt that Christopher will ensure that his ethos and legacy will live on in future generations of Central students as we continue to produce not just fantastic dancers, but versatile and intelligent performers".

Marney is currently performing in a world tour of Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty (of which he was also the Associate Choreographer), and is also known as the choreographer of recent works such as McQueen The Play in London's West End and Ballet Black at the Barbican. Other notable mentions are Marney's comprehensive performance career with such companies as Balletboyz, Michael Clark and the Gothenburg Ballet as well as his Critics Circle nominations at the National Dance Awards.

Whilst he will take up the post from September, Marney will continue to undertake freelance work as a performer/choreographer & is looking forward to forging collaborations between the Central School of Ballet and current industry professionals.

On his appointment Marney comments "I am thrilled to return after twenty years to the School that prepared me for my career and to continue the ethos of my role model and teacher, the late Christopher Gable".

“With the inspired appointment of Christopher Marney as Artistic Director of Ballet Central, the already strong links between my company, New Adventures and Central become even more significant and meaningful. Christopher is one of a string of exceptional dancers and performers from Ballet Central who have enriched my company over the last two decades and it is heartening to know that his matchless professionalism, work ethic and deep love and understanding of theatre and performance will be at the heart of his nurturing of these students as they transition into this competitive industry. I wish him well in this new and exciting venture but selfishly hope that he will return from time to time to continue his very fine career as a performer with New Adventures” Sir Matthew Bourne (New Adventures).

"Ballet Central are in for a bright and creative future under the Artistic Directorship of Chris Marney. He will build on the undoubted success of this vital part of Central School of Ballet's structure and it's refreshing to know that such a creative individual will be shaping the futures of these young artists." Christopher Hampson (Scottish Ballet)

Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO, Patron of Central School of Ballet, attends their Ballet Central 2015 performance at The Newbury Spring Festival

Calendar Posted 15 May 2015

Central School of Ballet were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex GCVO, patron of Central since 2003 to their annual Ballet Central performance at The Newbury Spring Festival at The Corn Exchange on Thursday 14th May.

The Countess was greeted by Mr James Puxley, Lord Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire, Lady Sieff, President of Central School of Ballet; Mr Ralph Bernard CBE, Central's Chairman and Sara Matthews, Director of Central School of Ballet before the performance.

"We were thrilled that Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex was able to join us again to experience Central School of Ballet's renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central's performance at The Newbury Spring Festival," commented Central Director Sara Matthews, "The annual tour offers a chance to see some of the most highly skilled, new dance talent perform newly commissioned works and much-loved revivals by the dance industry’s top choreographers".

Ballet Central celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year, the nationwide tour is well underway and will appear in 14 towns and cities nationwide across a five month period.

William Glassman, Artistic Director of Ballet Central, explains why the Ballet Central tour is so well received across the UK: “Each year we bring a programme featuring works by some of the UK’s most highly acclaimed established choreographers and talented young choreographers to local theatres. It’s a chance to see electrifying new works and time-honoured favourites performed regionally."

Audiences for the much-anticipated Ballet Central tour are increasing each year, attracting dance lovers and those new to live dance performance. The varied repertoire features a programme of ballet, contemporary and narrative dance suitable for families and all age groups. Tickets prices are deliberately low to make the tour widely accessible.

Ballet Central is the touring company of the leading centre for professional dance training and education, Central School of Ballet (Central) based in London. Students on the final year of their three year BA (Hons) degree course join Ballet Central to gain invaluable touring experience before graduation.

Sara Matthews, Central’s Director, comments: “We are the only vocational ballet school to offer an Honours Degree in Professional Dance and Performance and pre-professional touring experience on such a scale. 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. And we hope that the Ballet Central tour will provide inspiration to young dancers who may be thinking about professional dance as a career.”

Ballet Central's 30th Anniversary Nationwide Tour

Calendar Posted 20 March 2015

Central School of Ballet's renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central celebrates its thirtieth anniversary in 2015 and this year's nationwide tour opens at The E M Forster Theatre, Tonbridge on Saturday 21st March at 7:30 pm. This renowned performing dance company appears in 14 towns and cities nationwide across a five month period. Venues include the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House and The Lowry, Salford Quays. (Full tour schedule at the end)

The annual Ballet Central tour offers a chance to see some of the most highly skilled, new dance talent perform newly commissioned works and much-loved revivals by the dance industry’s top choreographers.

William Glassman, Artistic Director of Ballet Central, explains why the Ballet Central tour is so well received across the UK: “Each year we bring a programme featuring works by some of the UK’s most highly acclaimed established choreographers and talented young choreographers to local theatres. It’s a chance to see electrifying new works and time-honoured favourites performed regionally. The 2015 repertoire includes a dynamic range of new pieces; an energetic neoclassical work by Scottish Ballet's Artistic Director, Christopher Hampson entitled Four, to music from Flak by Graham Fitkin; a world premiere of Morning & Moonlight, a contemporary piece suggesting elements of a seascape by international choreographer Christopher Bruce CBE, performed to excerpts from Benjamin Britten's Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; an enthralling narrative work by current MA Choreography student and Dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet Kit Holder entitled Hopper, inspired by the paintings of American artist Edward Hopper which features a new score by Ballet Central's Musical Director Philip Feeney. Classical ballet fans will relish the Blue Ball Pas de Deux from Cinderella, choreographed by the late Company Founder Christopher Gable CBE and staged by Carole Gable, as well as La Fille Mal Gardée Pas de Deux and Pas de Quatre staged by Central tutors Resmi Malko and Patricia Linton. This year's tour will also see revivals of Code by Phoenix Dance Theatre's Artistic Director and Central Artistic Advisor Sharon Watson, and Scenes from a Wedding by Christopher Marney, Matthew Bourne's New Adventures Company Principal Artist and Central MA Choreography graduate."

Audiences for the much-anticipated Ballet Central tour are increasing each year, attracting dance lovers and those new to live dance performance. The varied repertoire features a programme of ballet, contemporary and narrative dance suitable for families and all age groups. Tickets prices are deliberately low to make the tour widely accessible.

Ballet Central is the touring company of the leading centre for professional dance training and education, Central School of Ballet (Central) based in London. Students on the final year of their three year BA (Hons) degree course join Ballet Central to gain invaluable touring experience before graduation. Ballet Central’s dancers not only perform but also help with all aspects of staging, from technical lighting to wardrobe. Another highlight of Ballet Central is the music, much of which has been created by Central’s Composer-in-Residence Philip Feeney who also performs live on the tour.

Sara Matthews, Central’s Director, comments: “We are the only vocational ballet school to offer an Honours Degree in Professional Dance and Performance and pre-professional touring experience on such a scale. 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. And we hope that the Ballet Central tour will provide inspiration to young dancers who may be thinking about professional dance as a career.”

Graduates from Central go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent Central students are currently employed with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Slovakia Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, Billy Elliott and many more.

“A graduate from Central School of Ballet is a valuable asset in any company for they have already experienced life as a professional dancer by touring with Ballet Central. I have had the pleasure of working with many highly talented graduates of Central School of Ballet, indeed, several have played demanding leading roles in my productions with great success.” says Matthew Bourne OBE, renowned Artistic Director and founder of Matthew Bourne's New Adventures company.

Ballet Central 2015: Tour Dates

Saturday 21 March, 7.30pm - Tonbridge - E M Forster Theatre

Friday 10 April, 7.45pm & Saturday 11 April, 2.30pm - Cambridge - ADC Theatre

Wednesday 15 April, 7.45pm - Chelmsford - Civic Theatre

Saturday 24 April, 7.30pm - Bridport - Bridport Arts Centre

Saturday 2 May, 7.30pm - Leeds - Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre

Friday 8 May, 7.30 pm - Margate - Theatre Royal

Thursday 14 May, 7.30pm - Newbury - The Corn Exchange

Saturday 23 May, 7.30pm - Frome - Merlin Theatre

Monday 1 June, 7.45pm - London - Linbury Studio Theatre

Saturday 13 June, 7pm - Chipping Norton - The Theatre

Monday 15 June, 7.30pm - Crawley - The Hawth Theatre

Thursday 25 June, 7.30pm - Grantham - Guildhall Arts Centre

Monday 29 June, 7pm - Salford Quays - The Lowry

Friday 17 July, 1.30pm (Schools performance) & Saturday 18 July, 7.30pm - London - St. James Theatre

Central School of Ballet announce new patrons: Cassa Pancho MBE and Robert Mackintosh

Calendar Posted 30 January 2015

Cassa Pancho MBE, Founder and Artistic Director of Ballet Black and Robert Mackintosh, Co Founder of The Entertainment & Media Group and Creative Director of The St James Theatre have been announced as new patrons of Central School of Ballet, which this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of their renowned student touring company, Ballet Central.

"I am delighted to announce Central School of Ballet's two new patrons; both Cassa and Robert share a passion for dance and performance art and their support and expertise will be invaluable to the school and our students" said Sara Matthews, Director of Central School of Ballet.

"I have always been an admirer of Central School of Ballet and the talent that the school produces," says Cassa Pancho MBE, "Growing up, a trip to see Ballet Central on tour was always the highlight of my year, and was also the first time I ever saw black dancers performing on stage. Since founding Ballet Black, I have had the wonderful privilege of working with many brilliant graduates from Central and I am thrilled to be able to give something back to the school as one of their new Patrons".

Robert Mackintosh comments "The first time I encountered Central's students when they performed in Ballet Central at The St James Theatre, I was struck by their enthusiasm and sheer talent. I was also struck by the dedication of those around them - teachers and Board directors alike, whose obvious sole motives were to bring out the talent that lay beneath each pupil. There is no greater challenge and satisfaction in finding young talent and giving them the encouragement and support to shine and, in this case, be the future ambassadors of the legacy of their founder, Christopher Gable. I am looking forward to encouraging others to support the work of Central and their student touring company Ballet Central. Its passion is obvious and cannot fail to bring a smile, or tear, to the most ardent entrepreneur. It will be an honour to serve as a Patron".

A special event showcasing British dance training

Calendar Posted 11 July 2014

We are pleased to announce that Central School of Ballet is taking part in an event bringing together the country’s leading dance schools in a collaboration at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre in March 2015, hosted by The Royal Ballet School.

Spring Celebration: A showcase of British dance training, will be a special evening celebrating the very best of British ballet training. It will feature students of The Royal Ballet School, English National Ballet School, Central School of Ballet and Elmhurst School for Dance and is generously sponsored by Ricki Gail Conway.

The audience will get a unique insight into world-class ballet training with Patrick Armand leading students in a ballet masterclass on stage. Patrick is Associate Director of San Francisco Ballet School and ex-Principal dancer at English National Ballet and Boston Ballet.

Students from each of the schools will then perform a range of contemporary and classical works that will showcase the full range of their abilities.

For The Royal Ballet School this event marks the end of 15 years’ hosting the Young British Dancer of the Year Award (YBDY) in the Linbury Studio Theatre. At each of the YBDY events, the four schools have typically staged interlude performances of work that characterises their own distinctive profile and heritage, a tradition that will be upheld at this unique event.

Christopher Powney, Artistic Director Designate, The Royal Ballet School, said:

‘All four schools have a shared goal in helping talented young dancers reach their full potential. It’s truly fantastic to be able to offer these students a very special performance opportunity and at the same time championing British dance training.’

Sara Matthews, Director, Central School of Ballet, said:

'We are delighted that our students will have the opportunity to take part in this shared celebration of world-class training, and that all four schools will be collaborating on this showcase.’

The event will take place on Saturday 7 March 2015

Central School of Ballet celebrates its first Centralise Choreographic Weekend

Calendar Posted 20 June 2014

Pupils from the Junior School and Prep and Pre-Senior programme jumped at the chance to take part in the first Centralise Weekend which took place at Central School of Ballet in April. This was a unique opportunity for 75 pupils aged 6-16yrs to explore new dance styles, collaborate with internationally renowned choreographers and ignite their own creativity. Ballet Central dancers assisted sessions throughout the weekend gladly sharing their knowledge and experience with the participants.

Pupils worked with choreographer Christopher Marney on his 2014 Ballet Central piece Carousel Dances and also took part in a master class with Richard Marcel, who has guest choreographed for Strictly Come Dancing and Billy Elliot. Co-Artistic Directors of Chantry Dance Company, Paul Chantry and Rae Piper lead a series of neo-classical ballet workshops exploring how classical movement can be used to interpret a simple theme or narrative. Younger level pupils worked with Head of Junior School Training, Ellen Jakubiel, to develop their ballet technique, musicality and creativity by focusing on Ballet Central repertoire.

“I loved working with the dancers from Ballet Central because they were so kind and helpful. I learnt a lot from them.” - Participant

Centralise culminated with a fantastic sharing of the work that had been created over the weekend by all the participants for friends and family with a captivating performance from Ballet Central who presented excerpts from the 2014 tour.

Learning and Participation Manager Debra Cougill oversaw the project and said “Centralise demonstrated the positive value of our third year students sharing their experience and passion for dance with our younger pupils. The Ballet Central students are incredibly inspirational role models and the experience of assisting in delivering workshops with leading choreographers has been hugely beneficial in further developing the teaching and communication skills and will no doubt enhance their employability post-graduation.”

To see some photos from the weekend please please click here to visit our Facebook album.

Central School of Ballet celebrate Dane Hurst's graduation with Distinction of their MA Choreography Programme

Calendar Posted 13 June 2014

Following the validation of their Masters Degree in Choreography by the University of Kent, Central School of Ballet were delighted to celebrate the completion of the course by their first choreographer, Dane Hurst, who graduates with a Distinction this summer. Central's MA is the only choreography postgraduate programme in the UK with a specialisation in ballet and through this course Central is proud to be playing a significant role in helping to shape the future of the artform.

Dane is currently dancing with Rambert, as well as forging a choreographic career. Central School of Ballet have three other choreographers undertaking the MA this year, Christopher Marney and Andrew McNicol (both of whom are alumni of Central) and Kit Holder. Christopher is Rehearsal Director with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. Andrew is concentrating on his various choreography projects, whilst Kit is a dancer with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Central Director Sara Matthews comments "I am thrilled that Dane will be graduating from our MA Choreography with Distinction and shall look forward to enjoying his future works as choreographer in addition to his already distinguished dancing achievements"

"Completing the MA in Choreography at Central School of Ballet has been a challenging but richly awarding experience" says Dane, "It gave me the focus, freedom and flexibility to explore my choreographic ambitions and to solidify my creative intentions whilst being a full-time professional dancer, something that I don't think is possible to do anywhere else at present."

The MA Choreography has been generously funded by The Leverhulme Trust and Central School of Ballet hosted a celebratory reception for Dane, with a chance to meet the choreographers currently on the course on Monday 9th June at The Hospital Club, Covent Garden.

Central School of Ballet announces new Patron

Calendar Posted 6 December 2013

Central School of Ballet is delighted to announce that Lady Ricketts has become a Patron.

Lady Ricketts said "Our first introduction to the School was through David Gray, one of the Governors, who invited us to a performance at St James's Palace, in the presence of HRH The Countess of Wessex. There and then we signed up The Countess - who is a passionate Royal Patron for the School - to come and pay a visit to the British Embassy in Paris and to bring some dancers with her!

In May 2013, this became a reality, after much detailed planning and thanks to generous sponsorship from HSBC. For the first time ever (we think!) there was ballet performance in our magnificent ballroom. The students gave us a incredibly special evening to remember. We still talk about it..."

Central School of Ballet is honoured to have Lady Ricketts as a Patron.

Central School of Ballet announces graduate success

Calendar Posted 30 July 2013

In the week of the Central School of Ballet’s (CSB) final year graduation and the concluding dates of Ballet Central’s annual nationwide tour, the school announces encouraging levels of early graduate employment. 14 of the final year students have already confirmed contracts and permanent employment with the world’s leading dance companies and major theatrical productions.

Thomas Edwards aged 19 from Worcester has been recruited by Scottish Ballet on a permanent contract. He joins a host of other CSB graduates in recent years to join the prestigious dance company based in Glasgow. Following three years of training at CSB, one of Europe’s leading centres for dance training, Tom and his fellow final year students will graduate this month with a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance (validated by the University of Kent).

Alice Laidler aged 19 from Bury St Edmunds and Bookee Suksathaporn aged 21 from Thailand are both embarking on an apprenticeship with Phoenix Dance Theatre. Carys Applebee from Chichester who is 19 has an apprenticeship with the Springs Dance Company; the London based contemporary dance company. Tom Broderick aged 19 from Leigh–On-Sea and Reece Causton aged 21 from King’s Lynn will both be working with Matthew Bourne's New Adventures Company to perform in their production of Swan Lake.

Victoria Paine aged 19 from Cleethorpes and Michaela Guibarra aged 20 from Whitney in Oxfordshire have already been engaged on the Worldwide Tour of Phantom of the Opera. Lee Hoy aged 22 from Blackheath in London is already working as understudy to the lead in Billy Elliott in London.

Oliver Jones aged 20 from Marlesford in Suffolk will join the Grand Ballet of Poznan in Poland as a Demi Soloist starting in September. Jack Cussans aged 20 from Huntingdon in Yorkshire joins the New English Ballet Theatre and Joshua Earl aged 20 from Epping in Essex has been awarded a contract with National Ballet of Portugal.

Haruka So aged 18 returns to her native Japan to work with the Nippon Ballet Academy and finally Christopher Furlong has a contract with the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts based at the Badische Staats-theatre in Germany.

Sara Matthews, Director of CSB comments: “I am proud that our graduating students have been able to achieve such fantastic contracts despite the challenging economic climate. Our students consistently find good jobs soon after graduation, bucking the trend of fluctuating graduate employment figures.”

CSB achieves an average of 90% employment within 12 months of graduation. This success is supported by the experience gained by joining CSB’s touring company Ballet Central in the final year of the three year course. This annual tour that visits towns and cities across Great Britain includes venues such the Lowry in Salford Quays and the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House. The varied and highly skilled repertoire that the company offers, embracing Classical and Neo-Classical Ballet, dynamic Contemporary Dance, Jazz works and narrative pieces is very popular, offering audiences a chance to see tomorrow’s dance professionals.

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