10 Years of Breakin’ Convention

Breakin Convention 2012

It’s time for the next generation of dancers to shine at Breakin’ Convention, with 2013 marking its 10 year anniversary! To celebrate this special occasion, Breakin’ Convention will be offering two different opportunities for youth dancers in the new year, meaning it is time to don those new urban dance trainers and hit the studio! The festival will run from Saturday 4 – Sunday 6 May 2013.

“Breakin’ Convention 10 x 10” signals the start of a fantastic new platform in the creation of a special Breakin’ Convention crew of ten 10 year olds. An exclusive one-off performance will follow, on the main stage of the Breakin’ Convention festival at Sadler’s Wells. Young dancers will have the opportunity to show off their skills and perform at one of the biggest hip hop dance events in the world in front of an audience of nearly 2,000 people. Members of the crew will have the opportunity to learn from some of London’s most talented and successful artists including Boy Blue’s Vicky ‘Skytilz’ Mantey, and Bruno ‘Boom’ Perrier.

In addition, “Future Elements” will be a scheme aiming to showcase some of the UK’s best up-and-coming youth dance companies that have taken the future of funk in their hands and channelled it through their dancing. Saturday 9 March 2013 will see the best youth dance companies from in and around London present their work, with submissions for Breakin’ Convention’s Future Elements Night now open.

Past companies and dancers who have performed at Future Elements have included:

  • Da Bratz – Boy Blue Entertainment’s next generation of dancers
  • Enigma Dance Company – founded by Botis Seva of Far From the Norm
  • ME:I – Myself Dance Company’s up and coming youth group
  • Kieran Lei – member of K-Lic and star of forthcoming street dance film, AllStars

So far 2013 is looking like a wealth of opportunity for dancers everywhere!

U.Dance 2013

U.Dance 2013

Calling all talented young dancers!

U.Dance 2013 is searching for high quality individual or group dance pieces that deserves to be showcased at a top level youth dance festival next year. Get your leotards out and get practising!

New for 2013, there is now a chance for individuals or groups (of up to 30 dancers) with pieces of up to 20 minutes in length to apply to take part in U.Dance 2013 under a new strand launching this year called U. Dance New Dimensions.

This exciting event will be different from previous national festivals where dancers performed at one venue; this time dance work will be showcased across a variety of venues to show the breadth of youth dance choreography and performance the UK has to offer. U.Dance New Dimensions will mean that pieces can embrace a more experimental approach and push boundaries of what is expected of ‘youth dance’.

U.Dance 2013, Youth Dance England’s national youth dance festival will be taking place in Leeds in July 2013. The festival will give some of the best youth dance groups in the UK the opportunity to perform in high-profile venues across the city at the only event of its kind. Performers will be able to take part in workshops across a range of styles with leading artists and inspirational teachers in prestigious dance studios. Groups, duets and individuals will be able to perform on an evening in one of Leeds’ main dance venues such at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Northern Ballet/Phoenix Dance and Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

This is a great opportunity to showcase your own or your group’s work with fewer restrictions on group size and length of piece and more room for high quality, unique and experimental performances, allowing performers and choreographers more freedom when creating their pieces.

Applications close on the 30th November 2012.

Image courtesy of U.Dance.

Boys Only! at Laban

Boys Only! Workshop at Trinity Laban

The Royal Academy of Dance, in partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, present the “Boys Only!” workshop on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December, for boys and young men between the ages of 8 and 18. Boys Only! provides the opportunity to demonstrate potential and to dance with and learn from male peers through quality teaching and insights into the dance profession.

This high energy two-day workshop will give male students across London the opportunity to combine classic ballet training, with energetic creative and contemporary workshops and stylish Street Dance, donning their dancewear and engaging in inspiring dance training, a unique way to discover and develop new talents dancing alongside and learning from leading dance artists. Philip Page, who currently teaches at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, will be leading the ballet class, Anton Streeks, who teaches on the Step into Dance programme, will lead the Street Dance class and Ross Carpenter, a Dance Practitioner at Trinity Laban, will lead the creative and contemporary class.

Boys Only! began in 2005 when the RAD raised £50,000 at a Billy Elliot -The Musical gala and launched the programme with the aim of widening participation in dance through open access events, specifically targeting young men with little or no dance experience, let alone a range of ballet shoes or practice uniforms. It is now a national programme working in collaboration with many regional partners, delivering ballet from fresh perspectives in conjunction with other dance styles.

Boys Only! courses are subsidised by the Boys Only! Fund which was established to provide opportunities for male students to access dance.

My First Cinderella

My First Cinderella

English National Ballet’s My First Cinderella tells everyone’s favourite rags-to-riches story in a beautifully adapted version for young audiences, introducing the magic of ballet and all its ballet slippers to children from the age of three. Transformed into a glittering Princess who shall go to the ball, Cinderella leaves her tatters behind and embarks on a life of tiaras and sparkle.

My First Cinderella is choreographed by George Williamson, recently appointed as English National Ballet’s Associate Artist. Earlier this year, at the age of 21, he created Firebird which had a fantastic reception, and was a new work set to Stravinsky’s classic score for the company.

The “My First…” series brings young audiences their first taste of ballet through the magic of fairytales, captivating music and beautiful dance in collaboration with the English National Ballet School. After presenting My First Sleeping Beauty at the Peacock Theatre in 2011, ENB2 returns with its graduating dancers and their tutus of outstanding potential from the School.

The concept of My First Cinderella was dreamt up by Williamson and Loipa Araujo, being generously supported by the Leverhulme Trust. Lighting the production will be Richard Howell and musical direction will be by Gavin Sutherland, well known for his work with English National Ballet. Starting at the Peacock Theatre, My First Cinderella will tour to the New Victoria Theatre in Woking, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, The Churchill Theatre in Bromley, the New Theatre in Oxford, The Hawth Theatre in Crawley, the Opera House in Manchester and the Richmond Theatre, Richmond.

Image courtesy of English National Ballet.

The 13th National Dance Awards Nominations

National Dance Awards Critics' Circle

The Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle announced the nominations for the 13th National Dance Awards at a reception held at The Place on 9 November 2012, an extremely exciting time of year for the tutu wearing, pointe shoe-hopping dance artists and fans alike. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held in The Robin Howard Theatre at The Place on Monday 28 January 2013.

The nominations for the 2012 National Dance Awards are as follows –

DANCING TIMES AWARD FOR BEST MALE DANCER 

Jonathan GODDARD (Rambert Dance Company & Freelance)
Akram KHAN (Akram Khan Company)  
Vadim MUNTAGIROV (English National Ballet)
Edward WATSON (Royal Ballet)

GRISHKO AWARD FOR BEST FEMALE DANCER 

Begoña CAO (English National Ballet)
Eve MUTSO (Scottish Ballet)
Marianela NUÑEZ (Royal Ballet)
Tamara ROJO (Royal Ballet)

STEF STEFANOU AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING COMPANY

Merce Cunningham Dance Company 
New Adventures 
Royal Ballet Flanders 
Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

BEST CLASSICAL CHOREOGRAPHY

David BINTLEY (‘Faster’ for the Birmingham Royal Ballet)
Christopher HAMPSON (‘Storyville’ for Ballet Black)
Annabelle LOPEZ OCHOA (‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ for Scottish Ballet)
Alastair MARRIOTT & Christopher WHEELDON (‘Trespass’ in‘Metamorphosis – Titian 2012 Bill’ for The Royal Ballet)

BEST MODERN CHOREOGRAPHY

Alexander EKMAN (‘Cacti’ for Nederlands Dans Theater II)
Akram KHAN (‘DESH’ for AKRAM KHAN COMPANY)
Arthur PITA (‘The Metamorphosis’)
Kate PRINCE (‘Some Like It Hip Hop’ for Zoonation)

OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL)

Yuhui CHOE (Royal Ballet)
Ksenia OVSYANICK (English National Ballet)
Beatriz STIX-BRUNELL (Royal Ballet)
Jia ZHANG (English National Ballet)

OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (CLASSICAL)

Yonah ACOSTA (English National Ballet)
Paul KAY (Royal Ballet)
Zdenek KONVALINA (English National Ballet)
Dawid TRZENSIMIECH (Royal Ballet)

OUTSTANDING FEMALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN)

Azzurra ARDOVINI (Phoenix Dance Theatre)<
Teneisha BONNER (Zoonation)
Wendy HOUSTOUN  
Hannah KIDD (Richard Alston Dance Company)

OUTSTANDING MALE PERFORMANCE (MODERN)

Tommy FRANZÉN (Zoonation & Russell Maliphant Company)
Dane HURST (Rambert Dance Company)
Christopher MARNEY (New Adventures)
Liam RIDDICK (Richard Alston Dance Company)

BEST INDEPENDENT COMPANY

Ballet Black 
Ballet Cymru 
Rosie Kay Dance Company
Shobana Jeyasingh Dance 

The National Dance Awards have been organised by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle each year since 2000 and they celebrate the vigour and variety of Britain’s thriving dance culture. They are the only awards given by the body of professional dance critics in the UK, presented by the Dance Section of the Critics’ Circle which brings together more than 50 dance writers and critics.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance at the Barbican Centre

rAndom International: Rain Room

On Sunday 18 November, 2 December, 20 January 2013 and 24 February 2013, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is set to perform in Rain Room at The Curve, Barbican Centre. Random International’s acclaimed Rain Room installation in the  Curve gallery will be inhabited by dancers from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, performing continuously evolving interventions in the Rain, with a score by contemporary composer Max Richter.

Known for their distinctive approach to digital-based contemporary art, Random International’s experimental artworks come alive through audience interaction. Their largest and most ambitious installation yet, Rain Room is a 100square metre field of falling water for visitors to walk through and experience how it might feel to control the rain. On entering The Curve the visitor hears the sound of water and feels moisture in the air before discovering the thousands of falling droplets that respond to their presence and movement.

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is part of Weekend Labs which are immersive arts workshops for adults, offering two full days of action and conversation with other interesting people at the Barbican. They give an opportunity to explore creative work in-depth though practical work in a range of international art forms with Weekend Labs giving a direct access to world class arts and learning programme. These events will build on a series of past collaborations between the award-winning choreographer McGregor and the acclaimed studio Random International, including Random International’s Future Self (MADE, Berlin, April 2012) and Wayne McGregor | Random Dance’s FAR which premiered at Sadler’s Wells in November 2010. FAR is now touring nationally and internationally.

McGregor is a multi-award-winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for his physically testing choreography and groundbreaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. In addition to being Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, he is also Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London and Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet (appointed 2006).

Admission is free but audiences will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis from the queue.

Photo © rAndom International, photography by James Harris.

The 2013 Emerging Dancer Awards

ENB Emerging Dancer Competition 2013

The six finalists for English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer Awards have been announced, a very exciting award which showcases its upcoming artists complete with their performance tights and array of best ballet shoes. The six nominees for the 2013 Emerging Dancer Award are English National Ballet’s Alison McWhinney, Guilherme Menezes, Nancy Osbaldeston, Ken Saruhashi, Lauretta Summerscales and Nathan Young.

Now in its fourth year, The Emerging Dancer Award is an annual competition for English National Ballet which recognises and nurtures its upcoming talent and encourages the huge amount of excellence in the Company. The Award culminates in a live final which will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre on 4 March 2013, so there is plenty of time to get your votes in for your favourite tutu or tunic wearer. All six of the Emerging Dancer nominees will perform two solos in front of a panel of expert judges from the dance sector, as well as a full audience. Attending The Emerging Dancer Awards is a fantastic opportunity to witness talent flourishing in an extraordinary way, the Company performing as they are rarely seen in a very intimate venue.

The Emerging Dancer Award winner will be announced at the end of the Awards evening in addition to the recipient of The People’s Choice Award, which is voted for by members of the public both online and through other performances of the Company with a voting slip in each programme.

Image courtesy of ENB.

The Next Step Into Dance Courses

Step Into Dance LogoStep into Dance, the partnership between the Royal Academy of Dance and The Jack Petchey Foundation has revealed its next set of teacher training courses for budding teachers eager to build on their existing jazz pant range and step out in their urban dancewear. The Step into Dance programme is running a number of different courses, all of which are suitable for dance teachers, Special Educational Needs professionals, arts practitioners, support and youth workers and PE teachers.

The first, an Introduction to Inclusive Dance Practice, is a practical day full of ideas and advice for leading and assisting inclusive dance in school and community settings on Monday 7 January 2013 at the RAD Headquarters. A course of this type provides teachers with a wealth of dance knowledge, be they from ballet, tap or jazz shoe discipline.

Next up, an Inclusive Dance Course is four practical days full of ideas and advice for leading and assisting inclusive dance in school and community settings on numerous dates: 18 November will incorporate teaching technique and differentiation, 20 January 2013 for developing groups as young leaders, working with support staff and safe practice, 10 March 2013 for groups with specific needs and 16 June 2013 as an inclusive session with young people, developing the group as dance-makers.  The dates can be completed individually or as a block of four.

In addition to the above is a one day course entitled ‘Banish the fear! Unravelling the choreographic process’ on 18 November as a teacher training course to help teachers get to grips with choreography, top up their knowledge and gain fresh ideas for the year ahead in areas such as choosing music, choreographic tasks, developing structures and creating pieces. Another course available is ‘Street Dance – get your head around the styles’ as a one day intensive workshop that will take teachers through the world of street dance in breaking down common misconceptions, the history and context of each style, foundation techniques and future training opportunities.

Image courtesy of Step into Dance.

Celebrating Dance 2012 at the RAD

RAD Celebrating Dance 2012

Dance students will have the chance to participate in ‘Celebrating Dance 2012’, a day of dance to be held at the Royal Academy of Dance on 11 November to raise funds for the Frank Freeman Scholarship fund.

The day will consist of a masterclass led by Steven McRae who is a Principal of The Royal Ballet, providing a unique opportunity to experience Steven’s artistry and experience of dance, and the ballet shoe and tights shenanigans it entails. The masterclass is open to students studying RAD Advanced 2 or the equivalent, and teachers are also able to either observe or participate. The class will be followed by a Q&A session with Steven.

Running in addition to the masterclass is the London & Middlesex Senior Awards Day, a competition for 16-22 year olds who are currently studying or have passed RAD Advanced Foundation or above (or equivalent), performed in front of a live audience. Candidates will be judged on their performance in the class and variation by Lynn Wallis, the RAD’s Artistic Director and Gary Avis, Principal Character Artist and Ballet Master at The Royal Ballet. The winner will be awarded £150 and the runner-up £50, to be put towards RAD activities or materials.

Income from the Celebrating Dance 2012 event will support the Frank Freeman Scholarship, in memory of the RAD devotee, which will give the opportunity for one boy from the London & Middlesex region to be awarded a week’s free tuition on an RAD summer school in 2013. Frank Freeman was an international freelance teacher, choreographer and Vocational Grades Examiner for the RAD, in addition to being a member of the artistic sub-committee and board of trustees, and received a fellowship of the RAD in 2000. Entirely trained at The Royal Ballet School, Frank was also a member of The Royal Ballet and English National Ballet companies and a founder patron of The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain.

Find out more from the RAD website.

Dance Proms 2012

Dance Proms 2012

Dance Proms is back for 2012, ready for a sparkle filled event as a unique and exciting collaborative project that celebrates the wealth of talent among the nation’s young dancers and will culminate in a gala performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 4 November. As a partnership project between the International Dance Teachers Association, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, Royal Academy of Dance and the RAH working together in celebration of dance, this year’s participants of the 26 acts are set to raise the bar even higher, be it through tutus, tap shoes or coloured leg warmers.

Dance Proms was launched last year to find the UK and Ireland’s most talented dance students – in all dance genres, from ballet to ballroom, salsa to street dance and jive to jazz dance – and offer them a unique opportunity to perform  an original piece of choreography on the stage of one of the world’s most prestigious and iconic venues. The event is supported by many top names from the dance world and the Dance Proms patrons include Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova, Matt Flint, Len Goodman, Wayne Sleep OBE and the RAD’s President Darcey Bussell CBE. The gala performance will feature a diverse variety of acts to celebrate the dedication of the nation’s dance teachers and to showcase their students’ abilities, giving an amazing opportunity to young dancers.

This year’s 450 students will go on to perform alongside guest appearances from Strictly Come Dancing’s Darren Bennett & Lilia Kopylova, and Top Hat‘s Tom Chambers and Summer Strallen. Dance Proms 2012 will be hosted by TV presenter Chris Hollins.