The renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central makes a welcome return to touring this summer with a five week, 11 venue tour across England, commencing 17th of June at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch, Essex. Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, the company of young graduate dancers will be performing a crowd-pleasing mix of dance pieces by leading choreographers to showcase the dancers’ considerable technique and skills as they embark on their professional careers. Queens Theatre tickets: £18/£13 (concessions), www.queens-theatre.co.uk; Box Office 01708 443333
For the return to touring following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Ballet Central repertoire delivers an exciting show of theatricality, technical excellence and drama choreographed by international dance industry influencers, enhanced by stunning costumes and powerful music. Act 1 from Le Corsaire, a thrilling classical ballet with romance and daring, dashing pirates and a magical pas de deux set against a backdrop of the high seas will open the show. We join the commanding pirate Conrad who summons a vision of Medora, the heroine of the ballet, pursuing her in a magical pas de deux amidst a shipwreck. A new piece, jigsaw, by upcoming choreographer Charlotte Edmonds (MA Choreography student at Central), is being created to a commissioned score by Ballet Central Resident Composer Philip Feeney, especially for the tour. To conclude the performance, audiences will be treated to Act 2 of Matthew Bourne’s Highland Fling, a gothic fable of winged fairies, romanticism and kilts, filled with wit, magic and wicked humour.
After a year when student dancers had to perform at home during lockdown, the new cohort of 39 dancers in this year’s Ballet Central company will be split into two casts under the COVID-19 protocols advised by the UK Government’s elite training guidelines. Having two casts allows Christopher Marney, Artistic Director, to alternate performances by venue as the tour progresses. This will protect the dancers alongside regular testing and rehearsing in bubbles over the coming months. The process also allows Christopher to continue performances if a member of one cast becomes ill with the coronavirus. Christopher said: “The dancers have demonstrated great determination and resilience by continuing training throughout the restrictions of the pandemic. Confined to training at home for long periods, we are now back in the studio with all protocols in place rehearsing for this year’s tour. We are thrilled to be returning to so many venues where audiences have welcomed the skill and technique of our young performers. The tour is a unique opportunity to bring the works of world-class choreographers to audiences outside of London.”
The Ballet Central tour, until last year an annual event, 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 to make the tour widely accessible to different audiences in each venue.
Ballet Central is the touring company of Central School of Ballet in London, the world-leading centre for professional dance training and education. Students in their final year of their three-year BA (Hons) degree in Professional Dance and Performance join Ballet Central to gain invaluable touring experience before graduation. Ballet Central’s dancers not only perform on stage, 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 and world-renowned musical theatre productions. Performing a range of repertoire on the Ballet Central tour choreographed by some of the most distinguished 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.