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 –


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


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


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


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)


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


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


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


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


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

The Genée International Ballet Competition

The Genée International Ballet Competition 2012The Genée International Ballet Competition, the prestigious competition of the Royal Academy of Dance, is fast approaching at the end of 2012. December will see many international applicants don their pointe shoes and ballet tights in order to take part in one of the most highly-thought of ballet competitions all over the world. Taking place in Wellington, New Zealand, tickets for the semi-finals and finals are fast selling out, with competitors preparing themselves for a week of masterclasses, coaching and finally, performing, ready to take the next steps in their ballet careers and present themselves in the most positive light.

Whilst behind-the-scenes organising is constantly going on for the 2012 competition, the RAD has just announced that the 2013 Genée International Ballet Competition will be held for the first time in Glasgow in September. The RAD will be working in partnership with Scottish Ballet, with its newly appointed Artistic Director Christopher Hampson, and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to stage a very exciting competition, with the enthusiastic support of the City of Glasgow. With Glasgow hosting the competition, it will mean that the Genée will return to the shores of Great Britain for the first time in three years, and will be Scotland’s first Genée competition.

Scottish Ballet previously announced this exciting news and partnership at a press conference in late September, including the announcement of their new Artistic Director, a confirmation of their firm commitment to making the 2013 Genée a very special event full of leotards, practice shoes and tiaras, especially for the extravagant final. Hampson has already made an extensive and long-standing contribution to the Genée over the last nine years and is personally very enthusiastic about the collaboration.

To get some idea of what the Genée is all about, take a look at the following video:

Dance Umbrella 2012

Dance UmbrellaIn October this year, Dance Umbrella will present a very different festival than is usually presented, co-curated by Artistic Director Betsy Gregory and choreographer Jonathan Burrows. Dance Umbrella 2012 will run from 5 to 14 October, presented in the Platform Theatre at the new Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in King’s Cross, in addition to two site-specific works in the surrounding area.

Dance Umbrella has been bringing new dance to London since 1978, inspired by the dynamism of the city of London, bringing together artists and events, from ballet shoes, to jazz shoes, to leotards, to foot thongs. Each year, Dance Umbrella succeeds in surprising and thrilling its audiences, once presented in numerous venues all over London, and for 2012 settling in one main venue in the centre of the city. Dance Umbrella champions itself in commissioning, producing and presenting dance events, staging one of the world’s leading international dance festivals.

Dance Umbrella prides itself on the dance experiences it provides for its audiences by presenting a range of affordable and free-to-view events in unusual spaces. The team involved also aims to identify, nurture, support and showcase the most exciting talent in new dance, offering artists the benefits of long-term relationships and identifying the most appropriate platform for the work programmed.

As an accessible, flexible organisation with an incredibly international outlook, Dance Umbrella is committed to collaborating and creating new partnerships in presenting the highest quality new dance, trends and aspirations through performances and participatory opportunities. Just last year Dance Umbrella programmed the world-renowned Merce Cunningham Dance Company as part of their final world tour before the company disbanded on New Year’s Eve 2011.

For 2012, Dance Umbrella will be presenting much new dance, including a Mary Wigman dance evening, Wendy Houstoun’s 50 Acts and Noé Soulier… a programme not to be missed.

Image courtesy of Dance Umbrella.

The Royal Ballet School

Royal Ballet School

Over the next 7 months, The Royal Ballet School will open its doors to teachers, dance students and enthusiasts alike for a series of exciting lectures and masterclasses once a month, with pointe shoes and tiaras optional. This series of “Exploration Days” will examine the pedagogy and training programmes of the French, Italian, Danish and Russian Schools, and how they influenced the development of the English School as established by Ninette De Valois in 1926.

De Valois founded the school with the opening of the Academy of Choreographic Art, which was renamed the Vic-Wells Ballet School in 1931, renamed in 1939 as The Sadler’s Wells Ballet School: when the school was granted its Royal Charter in 1956, the school was given its current name. Each of the Exploration Days will examine the history and style of each of the Schools in turn, including a ballet masterclass to showcase the unique characteristics of the respective School. When developing the School, De Valois extrapolated and collated what she believed were all the strongest elements from the French, Italian, Danish and Russian schools, merging them to forge a new methodology. She hoped by doing so she would create a uniquely ‘English style’ in a fusion of the best of the old European and Russian Schools.

The Royal Ballet School is one of the most prestigious vocational ballet schools in the UK, and one of the foremost classical ballet schools worldwide, offering full-time training programmes to potentially professional dancers. The School acts as a feeder to both The Royal Ballet Company and The Birmingham Royal Ballet, and its graduates have and continue to dance, tutu clad, in internationally acclaimed companies all over the world. The students follow a specifically designed ‘System of Training’ of eight years split into two courses; a five year course at the Lower School (White Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey) for students aged 11 to 16, followed by a three year course at the Upper School (Covent Garden, London) for students aged 16 to 18.

The Exploration Days will run on 30 September (French School), 21 October (Italian School), 2 December (Danish School), 3 February (Russian School) and 17 March (English School), led by Directors and Artistic Directors of the specific schools.

Image courtesy of the Wikimedia Commons.