The formerly known Yorkshire Ballet Summer School has reverted to its original name, Yorkshire Ballet Seminars, as it prepares for its biggest ever event. Its 46th annual summer school will have an influx of the world’s top ballet stars, past and present, taking place from 13 July-2 August. More than 300 students are expected to attend this year’s course, as it expands to take place over three weeks instead of the usual two.
Yorkshire Ballet Seminars is the UK’s leading independent ballet summer school and has, for nearly five decades, provided an opportunity for young dancers to experience the highest levels of coaching from a wide variety of renowned teachers. This year is no exception: students will be working with an all-star line-up of guest teachers including former and current Royal Ballet Principal dancers Zenaida Yanowsky and Laura Morera, and Ballet Masters from both the Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet, Ricardo Cervera and Dominic Antonucci, in addition to some of ballet’s most renowned Yorkshiremen – David Bintley, Joseph Caley, Brandon Lawrence and Neil Westmoreland.
Yorkshire Ballet Seminars was founded in 1971 by ex-Royal Ballet dancer and teacher David Gayle. The first residential summer school was held at Ilkley College in 1973 and opened by Dame Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet. The aim was to give young Yorkshire dancers the chance to meet ballet professionals and learn about dancing opportunities without having to go to London. The first masterclass was taught by Dame Alicia Markova.
Former Birmingham Royal Ballet Principal dancer Iain Mackay took over the directorship from Dame Marguerite Porter in January 2018, having enjoyed an impressive nineteen-year international performing career. In recent years, Iain has dedicated much of his time to teaching, mentoring and governance across the dance sector. He is the inaugural Male Dance Ambassador for the Royal Academy of Dance and has this year been a mentor for the BBC Young Dancer competition.