Ballet West in Taynuilt, West Highlands, has launched Scotland’s first High Performance Lower School for 12 to 16 year old aspiring ballet dancers. The school, based in Oban, opens on 14 August. This will complement the work of the Upper School where students train for the Hons Degree Course in Dance, validated by the Open University, and the successful Associates programmes in Edinburgh, Glasgow and new programme in Dundee.
The programme will be led by two teachers from Art of Motion in South Africa, Sayward Harris ten Hove and Angelica Harris. They will be supported by guest teachers from the Ballet West Upper School in Taynuilt, and the intake will be limited to 10 students per year to ensure that each student receives the highest level of training and care.
The students will continue their academic studies at the newly-built Oban High School which has a specialist School of Dance in partnership with Ballet West. This will accommodate more than 30 hours of additional specialist ballet tuition each week. Students will train in Ballet, Pointe, Repertoire, Contemporary, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Body Conditioning.
For Ballet West, 2018 has been a major year for new developments and achievements. In May the Ballet West International Touring Company was launched. The new professional company is to perform Swan Lake in Malaysia in August and September, with tours to Korea and China planned for next year. Ten of this year’s graduates received contracts and will be performing with the 32-two strong company.
Seven students achieved First Class BA Hons degrees in Classical Ballet; four students are taking part in the Genée International Ballet Competition in Hong Kong this month; and two students are competing for the Royal Academy of Dance’s top award, the Solo Seal. Ballet West students Storm Norris, Uyu Hiromoto and Abigail Drew achieved first, second and third places respectively in this year’s Scottish Youth Ballet Grand Prix.