Les Ballets C de la B

Les Ballets C de la BFounded for a dare in 1984, les ballets C de la B is mix of surrealism, slapstick and semiotics within the sphere of dance. It’s ethos has consequently made it one of the world’s most influential dance theatre companies. Since then it has become a company that enjoys great success at home (Belgium) and abroad. Over the years it has developed into an artistic platform for a variety of choreographers and the company still keeps to its principle of enabling artists from various disciplines and backgrounds to take part in this dynamic creative process.

Les ballets C de la B is not easy to classify however it is possible to pin-point a house style (popular, anarchic, eclectic, committed), and its motto is ‘this dance is for the world and the world is for everyone’. As a result, Danceworks in London is presenting a 2-day workshop with the company in September, a great opportunity for aspiring dancers.

This workshop will be taught by dancer Bérengère Bodin who was born in 1980 in Fonteenay-le-comte, France. She studied at the CNDC in Anglers and then joined leading performance companies such as Raimund Hoghe, Joëlle Bouvier, Carolyn Carlson and Euan Burnet Smith, Kubilai Khan Investigation, JoJi Inc Cy, Isabella Soupart and Robyn Orlin, before joining les ballets C de la B.

Bérengère will encourage the dancers participating to feel and even redefine the emotions of life. This will be an opportunity to enter a world of not-knowing and she will work with individuals to examine their meaning and relationship to emotion, and this will be developed throughout the workshop. There will be opportunities to improvise, share and perform and the workshop is for those who wish to move to another deeper level in their dance and emotional expression

Participants must be 18 years of age or over.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Ballet Bartkowski Is Launched

Ballet BartkowskiBallet Bartkowski is a new professional company for ballet students working at a high level of classical dance, aged 18 to 23. Based in Croix, near Lille in France, Ballet Bartkowski was founded by Heidi and Waldemar Bartkowski with the aim to open the company in September of this year.

The new company will train talented and committed students who aspire to a professional dance career. Along with the usual daily classes in classical technique, the new students will follow a variety of workshop programmes in order to learn and develop different styles of classical ballet. The founders, Heidi and Waldemar, feel this is crucial in helping the young students to respond to the varying demands of choreographers, company directors and the industry itself.

Building up the students’ versatility is a sure fire way to make them employable and likeable as professional dancers who are able to apply themselves. The dancers will also have the chance to perform original works, including performances in both France and further afield. The combination of daily classical classes, workshops and performance opportunities looks set to develop students who are both prepared for professional careers and eager for them too.

Both Heidi and Waldemar Bartkowski had international dance careers before they began their own dance school in 2007. The reasoning behind their founding of the company is simple: the founders wanted to develop each of their students’ technical artistic talents in order for them to reach their full potential. Young dancers attending other vocational training institutions have a tough challenge on their hands in having to mature quickly enough in order to make it successfully onto the professional performing scene. The founders feel the stage experience provided by Ballet Bartkowski is essential for the students to secure their first professional engagement.

NYT Perform at Commonwealth Games

Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014At the recent opening of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, young performers from the National Youth Theatre appeared as part of the ceremonies to welcome the countries’ teams. The cast of 60 NYT members were involved in the Village Ceremonies, which included the opening of the athletes’ village, the team welcome celebrations and the imminent farewell ceremony, meaning the performers will have much exposure throughout the Games and will be present during many parts of the ceremonies.

The outdoor performances are created entirely by the NYT, holding much prestige throughout the Games in the demonstration of the group’s creative and artistic talents. Performers aged 15 to 25 were selected from NYT’s social inclusion programme in Glasgow and other areas of the UK it works in, creating links to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games geographically, artistically and culturally.

In 2012, the NYT performed as part of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games welcome ceremonies, so the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games has added to their growing experience of performing at large-scale cultural events. For the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games NYT has staged youthful and inventive ceremonies full of spectacle and style that capture the spirit of Glasgow.

The opening ceremony of the athletes’ village is one of the first experiences for the competitors when they arrive in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, so it is a fantastic experience for NYT to be involved in such a primary and important event for the competitors, some being welcomed to Glasgow for the first time by NYT and the other performers. The ceremonies will not only represent the spirit of Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games but will be an unforgettable experience for all those who take part.

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.