Frantic Assembly to offer MA

Frantic AssemblyPhysical theatre company Frantic Assembly is set to partner with Coventry University in order to deliver a postgraduate qualification in theatre-making, much to the delight of many of its fans and followers. The two organisations have claimed this marks the first time a professional theatre company has been involved in the creation of a master’s degree programme in the UK, and is thought to offer participants an enriched and all-round fulfilling education.

The one-year course, named Collaborative Theatre Making MA, will see Frantic Assembly lead intensive, practical performance projects, which will feature alongside supporting seminars, research events and master classes run by the university in a balance between the academic and the practical. The theatre company will lead modules on devising work and engaging with young people and communities, and will also work with students to create a public performance as part of the course.

The course will begin in January 2015 and will offer professional level training for 26 full-time students from all disciplines, including actors, directors, writers, dancers, choreographers, composers and musicians and will be taught in both London and Coventry. Coventry University will run a taster workshop on the new MA course in London in mid July in order to give potential students the opportunity to work with Frantic Assembly and to find out more about the course.

The new MA course will produce a creative environment where emerging artists are encouraged to think beyond their background genre and their own areas of expertise in their theatre-making. It will provide exciting opportunities for the participants to develop their practice and understanding of the theatre industry and it will mean they can develop a ‘total theatre’ approach to open up the potential of devising theatre with highly skilled and exciting collaborators.

Talent Throughout The Birthday Honours

Queen Elizabeth IIThe Queen’s birthday honours recently recognised a multitude of talent in the awardees: actors Daniel Day-Lewis and Maggie Smith were recognised in the honours list, which also sees Young Vic artistic director David Lan and English National Opera’s John Berry honoured. The arts faired well as Day-Lewis was made a knight, and Smith was made a Companion of Honour.

Among those awarded CBEs were the Young Vic’s Lan and Berry, artistic director of the ENO. Choreographer Michael Clark, soprano Susan Bullock and Pauline Tambling, joint chief executive of training body Creative and Cultural Skills, also received a CBE.

Others receiving recognition for their services to the arts include pianist Andras Schiff, who was made a knight, and Angelina Jolie, who was awarded an honorary damehood. Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, the stage versions of which have just extended their run in the Aldwych Theatre, was made a dame.

OBEs were presented to actors Damian Lewis and Phyllida Law, lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe and composer Talvin Singh. Other recipients included Mark Featherstone-Witty, the founding principal and chief executive of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, ex-director of the UK Foundation for Dance, Namron Yarrum, talent agent Jonathan Shalit, and Nisha Tandon, executive director of Northern Ireland’s only full-time ethnic arts and culture company.

Theatre figures recognised with MBEs included John Barrowman for services to light entertainment and charity, choreographer Rosemary Butcher, playwright and founder of the Identity Theatre School Femi Oguns, producer Judith Dimant for her work with Complicite, and theatrical wig designer Angela Cobbin.

Also receiving MBEs were the former joint chief executives of the Askonas Holt agency, Martin Campbell-White and Robert Rattray, conductor and artistic director of the Leeds Symphony Orchestra, Martin Binks, and Maria Friend, director of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire’s junior department.

BalletBoyz To Be Part Of Roundhouse Summer Sessions

BalletBoyzReturning to the venue that hosted their first public performance – as George Piper Dances in 2001 – the award-winning BalletBoyz® will perform at Roundhouse Summer Sessions on 31 July and 1 August 2014. This will mark the final UK performances of Russell Maliphant’s piece Fallen and Liam Scarlett’s Serpent. The sessions will also offer an exclusive first look at new work Young Men.

Following three successful nationwide UK tours and sell-out performances in Australia and Europe, BalletBoyz the Talent will celebrate their success of the above critically acclaimed and popular double bill by having the BBC Concert Orchestra join the cast of dancers to perform the scores.

The Roundhouse Summer Sessions audiences will also see an exclusive excerpt of BalletBoyz’ highly anticipated new show, Young Men, that has been in development for the past year. The piece explores the theme of war and the bond that forms between the men who train and fight together and is part of 14-18 NOW WW1 Centenary Art Commissions drawing inspiration from images of war through the ages, in particular the First World War. The full work will be premiered in January 2015 at Sadler’s Wells.

Choreographed by NDT dancer/choreographer, Iván Pérez, Young Men features an original score by British singer songwriter Keaton Henson who will perform an extract of it at the Roundhouse. A gifted composer and illustrator, Keaton has released two critically acclaimed albums, ‘Dear’ and ‘Birthdays’ and won the Best Music Video Award (Rushes Soho Shorts 2012) for the video of the single ‘Small Hands’.

Last year BalletBoyz won the 2013 National Dance Award for Best Independent Company, having revolutionised dance presentation formats and are at the forefront of digital dance creation. Choreographer Russell Maliphant won the 2013 National Dance Award for Best Modern Choreography for Fallen.

Dancers’ Career Development & The Royal Ballet School

Dancers’ Career Development (DCD) LogoDancers’ Career Development and The Royal Ballet School are set to work in partnership to embed a culture of Continuing Professional Development within the curriculum at the school in a partnership which is the first of its kind in the UK. It demonstrates The Royal Ballet School’s practical approach to safeguarding its students’ welfare beyond their time at the school, educating students about dancer transitions through the leadership of Dancers’ Career Development.

The partnership will support dance students at a key time in their personal development: they will be encouraged to consider a wider view of the world around them and to build upon transferable skills developed through study. Dancers’ Career Development will engage with students in all three years of study at The Royal Ballet Upper School.

Adopting a practical approach to learning, the programme will include an Introduction to Transition in Year One. In Year Two, students will participate in visits to Dancers’ Career Development beneficiaries working in multiple, diverse careers and will have the opportunity to meet and network with current and former professional dancers. In the Graduate Year, students will take a detailed look at the practicalities of transition and the Transition Support Services provided by Dancers’ Career Development.

The partnership is set to be particularly valuable in giving students a chance to think more broadly about a future beyond dance; Dancers’ Career Development will give them the support they need to understand how the life skills they learn during their training will one day serve them in other disciplines. As a world leader in dance transition, Dancers’ Career Development welcomes the opportunity to engage with and support the dancers of the future to be fully prepared for their performance careers and beyond, recognising their unique talents, skills and abilities.

The Royal Ballet School Announces New Teachers’ Course

The Royal Ballet SchoolThe Royal Ballet School will launch a new teachers’ course starting in September 2014: the Diploma of Dance Teaching will build on the highly successful Professional Dancer Teachers’ Course and the expertise of the school’s Dance Partnership & Access Programme, to provide a good foundation in both technical and creative approaches to teaching ballet. The course will be delivered by Royal Ballet School staff and visiting lecturers in The Royal Ballet School’s state of the art studios in Covent Garden, London.

The two-year part time course includes opportunities to specialise in teaching in either vocational or educational settings: the Diploma is suitable for both current and ex-professional dancers and teachers and will provide a sound foundation in teaching ballet to a broad range of students. The course will cover classical ballet technique, anatomy, education practice, reflective practice, psychology and child development and work place context.

The course is a particularly special one for the organisation in that it not only offers flexibility in learning, but also gives teachers a broad body of knowledge on which to build a successful career in dance. The Dance Partnership & Access Programme was established in 2004 to provide broader access to ballet and the work of The Royal Ballet School. Over ten years a national programme of long term, sustainable primary and secondary school projects has been established, providing introducing ballet to a new generation by the school’s graduates.

The School’s mission is to train and educate outstanding classical ballet dancers for The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and other top international dance companies, and in doing so to set the standards in dance training, nationally and internationally. The School offers an eight-year carefully structured dance course, aligned with an extensive academic programme, giving the students the best possible education to equip them for a career in the world of dance.

Rambert And Cunningham

Rambert Dance Company LogoRambert, Britain’s oldest dance company, is set to perform a site-specific version of Merce Cunningham’s signature works, Events, at its new South Bank building this summer. Cunningham is seen as many as one of the fathers of post-modern dance as we know it today within the contemporary sphere, with many artistic directors of Rambert having studied in the then-Cunningham studios in New York.

Events marks the first time the touring dance company will stage a professional show of its own at its new £19 million home, which opened in December 2013 with the original intention of operating solely as a rehearsal space. It will stage Rambert Event – which will see Cunningham’s choreography arranged in a new version by Jeannie Steele – in two of its studios, which will accommodate 120 people from 28 June to 12 July. Previously Rambert has only partnered with the nearby National Theatre, using the Rambert studios to stage performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime following the collapse of the theatre the show was playing in.

The promenade show will feature new music written and performed by Philip Selway, from rock band Radiohead, and designs by painter Gerhard Richter. It will be the first performance of Cunningham’s Events since the closure of the choreographer’s dance company in 2011, following his death in 2009. The company presented a number of Events throughout its lifetime, accumulating in a farewell tour which came to a triumphant close on New Year’s Eve in 2011.

The performance has been made possible due to a £100,000 donation by Ambassador Theatre Group chief executives Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire. Panter is chair of the dance company and their donation has launched Rambert’s New Work Commissioning Fund, which will raise private money to develop exceptional projects that are additional to the company’s normal repertoire.

Crazy for Gershwin

Crazy For GershwinLate April saw the new Crazy for Gershwin tour announced for October and November of this year. It is set to be a celebration of the works of George Gershwin, including classic orchestral compositions alongside a selection of show-stopping numbers, written in collaboration with his lyricist brother, Ira. The pair formed one of the most successful partnerships in the music industry and their music is known worldwide.

The performances from the Gershwin repertoire of music, song and dance will include ‘Rhapsody In Blue’; ‘I’ve Got A Crush On You’; ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, ‘Oh, Lady Be Good!’, ‘Fascinatin’ Rhythm’; ‘S’Wonderful’; ‘Strike Up The Band’; ‘A Foggy Day (In London Town)’ and highlights from ‘Porgy and Bess’ such as ‘Summertime’ and ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’. Performers for the tour then include the London Concert Orchestra: Jonathan Scott on piano, Meeta Raval as soprano, Rodney Earl Clarke as baritone and Richard Balcombe as conductor. The performances will also include a ballroom dancing duet and two tap dancers.

There have been other takes on the Gershwin success in other performances, such as English National Ballet’s production of Strictly Gershwin, which was staged in the round at the Royal Albert Hall and then in proscenium arch theatres around the country on the company’s tour. The performances included Gershwin hits such as those above, adding a multitude of ballerinas into the mix. There was a ballroom dancing duo here as well as some of the dancers donning their tap shoes and adding syncopated rhythm to their performances.

Dates and venues of the Crazy for Gershwin tour are yet to be formally announced but when they are the tour looks set to be perfect for any Gershwin or simply musical theatre fan.

Strictly Come Dancing ‘Meet The Stars’ Weekend

Strictly Come DancingDonahey’s Dance School is set to host a special Strictly Come Dancing ‘Meet the Stars’ weekend in June in Warwickshire, offering avid fans of Strictly the chance to meet their dance icons on a weekend dance break. The weekend includes tuition and performances by Strictly Champion Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara, Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, and Natalie Lowe and Ian Waite and is a unique opportunity for keen fans and dancers to get up close and personal with the pro dancers.

The weekend package includes four hours of Ballroom and Latin dance classes with the Strictly dancers, tailored to the participants’ dance ability. The workshops are perfect for both beginners and intermediates, as well as experienced dancers.

Guests will also be treated to dance showcases from floor-side VIP seating. This unique up-close and personal guarantee at is at no additional cost. The Strictly dance weekends have been hugely successful for the past eight years due to the personal experience offered. The school works in partnership with the stars of Strictly to offer a unique and coveted experience.

Donahey’s dance school was founded in 1968 and is run by mother and son Shirley and Paul Donahey. Teaching adults and children of all ages, Shirley and Paul offer classes in ballroom, disco, Latin American, salsa, rock and roll, and Argentine tango. Donahey’s also specialise in organising dance weekends across the UK featuring the Strictly stars, enabling people to meet their dance heroes and learn from the best.

Donahey’s Dancing With The Stars weekend includes two nights of dancing, a Black Tie Ball with live music from The Tony Greenwood 15-piece Ballroom and Latin Big Band, and a late night ‘Latin Lounge’. The weekend culminates in a breathtaking Grand Finale dance showcase from the Strictly dancers.

New Multi-Arts Festival For The Roundhouse Summer Sessions

Camden RoundhouseThe Roundhouse, Camden, has announced a new multi-arts festival, named ‘Roundhouse Summer Session, in some of the best live entertainment for London this summer. Whilst lots is going on inside, outside visitors can enjoy Camden Beach, the Roundhouse’s very own seaside resort, all of which is taking place throughout July and August. On the terrace, Camden’s biggest outdoor space, there will be 150 tonnes of the finest sand, deck chairs, beach huts, live music and some of the best food pop-ups in the city.

Summer Sessions will present live music, dance, comedy, cabaret, spoken word and live-scored cinema in an intimate, table-seated setting. The eclectic line-up includes the world premiere live scoring of There Will Be Blood, exclusive UK headline performances from Sinéad O’Connor and Chilly Gonzalez, a preview of new work from BalletBoyz, performances from rising star Andreya Triana, Penguin Café, Funk Da Cirque, Boom + Bang Cabaret and The Nest Collective host London’s biggest Ceilidh.

Following international success, BalletBoyz present their award-winning show Serpent/ Fallen for the final time in London, together with a chance to see an excerpt from their much anticipated new full length work Young Men, choreographed by Iván Pérez, based on the theme of war and the men that train and fight together. Serpent is choreographed by Liam Scarlett (Royal Ballet Artist in Residence) and Fallen is choreographed by Russell Maliphant. Fallen won the award for Best Modern Choreography at the 2013 National Dance Awards.

Funk Da Cirque returns to the Roundhouse with Soul Trip, a show that combines street dance styles including boogaloo, house, waacking and b-boying – mixed with theatre, acrobatics, human pyramids and body percussion. Following sold out debut shows at Roundhouse CircusFest 2012 and hot on the heels of appearances at the National Theatre’s Watch This Space and Camp Bestival, Funk Da Cirque includes some of the best young street dancers and acrobats from across London, aged 11-25.

Boom + Bang Cabaret is a cabaret circus extravaganza featuring the most talented circus performers from around the world including evil clowns, fire breathing panthers, a drag ringmaster, a Russian prima ballerina, death-defying aerial feats and more. The Boom + Bang Circus is the new creative collaboration between producer Bioux Lee Hayes (formerly of Boom Boom Club and La Reve) and the award winning, international burlesque and circus performer Kitty Bang Bang.

The Royal Ballet Graduate Scheme

The Royal BalletThe Royal Ballet is set to launch a year-long training scheme for graduate dancers, aimed at providing female ballerinas in particular with an “extra chance” to gain employment in the industry.

The number of female graduates entering the dance industry has been the topic of many conversations, so the steps to be taken by the Royal Ballet look to ease the problem and provide employment solutions for some.

The scheme is to be called the Aud Jebsen Young Dancer Programme; it will commence in September 2014 and will offer up to six paid work placements to dancers who have graduated from ballet school. There will be opportunities to work with the company’s corps de ballet, teachers, coaches and young choreographers, enabling young graduate dancers to begin to work their way up the dance career ladder and secure a healthy start.

Participants of the scheme will also be able to perform with the Royal Ballet, gaining invaluable performance experience as they continue on their dancing journeys.

Royal Ballet director Kevin O’Hare said that the organisation would initially look to the Royal Ballet School for recruits, but would also encourage graduates from other training providers to apply. The programme is to be open to both male and female dancers, however O’Hare hopes to see more female ballet dancers applying because it is hoped to then encourage them to continue their career either at the Royal Ballet or another dance company.

The competition between female dancers is extremely high, simply because there are so many of them. Men tend to appear more successful in their endeavours because there are less of them in the ballet world, with seemingly more jobs to go around a smaller number. The Royal Ballet graduate scheme aims to give female dancers an extra chance, setting them up to either join the Royal Ballet or any other company around the world.