To celebrate 10 years at the helm of Rambert Dance Company, Artistic Director Mark Baldwin joined the Rambert dancers on the South Bank to appeal for support in the final stages of the fundraising campaign for the Company’s new headquarters at the heart of London’s cultural quarter. The dancers, the admin team and the inspirational teaching staff will be transporting their dance tights, foot thongs and assortment of leotards and costumes to a new start next year.
The UK’s national contemporary dance company worked hard to encourage supporters to make a £5 donation on 1 November 2012, the date of Baldwin’s official anniversary of becoming Artistic Director. Those who donated on the anniversary were entered into a special prize draw to win a VIP trip to Rambert Dance Company’s new headquarters during the opening celebrations in 2013.
Rambert Dance Company has been provided with a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a new home, leaving its Chiswick headquarters next year. In return for a commitment to provide a significant community dance programme, Rambert has been given a plot of land by Coin Street Community Builders, one of the UK’s leading social enterprises. The new home will safeguard Rambert’s future and that of contemporary dance as a centre for choreography and music for dance. It will cement Rambert’s status as one of the world’s great dance companies and enable it to improve its already excellent artistic standards, be a powerhouse for new choreography and become the centre for dance and music in the UK.
Every aspect of the building’s design – by award-winning architects Allies & Morrison – operation and programme of education and outreach activities will set new standards for public engagement with the art form. Rambert will move to its new South Bank home in 2013.
Having seen a huge influx of dance and the performing arts in the media recently such as So You Think You Can Dance, Got To Dance and Dancing with the Stars, it comes as no surprise that the number of participants engaging in dance classes has increased considerably. A survey conducted by YouGov in 2011 in the prelude to the Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall found that just over 1 in 5 British adults have become interested in dancing as a result of shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance, not considering those throughout the rest of the world and of alternative age groups, donning their dance shoes and pulling on their leotards.
The appeal of dance runs far and wide and today dance seems to have taken on a more of a popular culture persona as more people are becoming aware of it and its benefits. Pirouetting against the stereotype, ballet, for example, does not have to be girly and strictly disciplined; there are a huge variety of dance class choices meaning that there is an option for everyone. No sooner had gym culture taken over our lives, dance cults began to make an appearance, such as Zumba and Bokwa, reinforcing the notion that engaging in physical activity does not have to involve a treadmill.
Naturally, open classes such as those at Pineapple Dance Studios and Danceworks to name just a couple of dance studios in the capital, regardless of those throughout the rest of the country, mean that dancers new and existing will dig out their legwarmers or invest in some shiny new ones, obtaining those essentials to embark on or continue their dancing lifestyle. Dancewear is also increasingly becoming ideal for gym and leisurewear, making it versatile, up-to-date and inspirational, be it performing high kicks, squats or champion chill-outs.
It seems the dance bug is here to stay!
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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.
Wicked the musical, complete with its witchy dresses and green body paint, is set to tour the UK and Ireland from 12 September 2013 for the first time, beginning at Manchester’s Palace Theatre with further dates and locations yet to be announced. Fans all over the country and beyond will be able to engage further with the spell-binding, all-singing, all-dancing show which has taken the world of musicals by storm. Manchester has a prestigious history of hosting the regional premieres of so many world class musicals, full of tap shoes, coloured costumes and ballet tights.
The London show, which premiered in 2006, will be continuing at the Apollo Victoria Theatre where tickets are on sale until 2 November 2013. There will also be six other productions of Wicked simultaneously playing around the world including those in Broadway, Japan and Holland plus two North American and one South East Asia tour.
Wicked’s music and lyrics were written by Grammy award-winner Stephen Schwartz, with a book written by Winnie Holzman and directed by Tony award-winner Joe Mantello. As the story of what happened before Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Wicked is based on the best-selling novel, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
The show is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures Stage Productions, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone, with its UK executive producer Michael McCabe. With so many members of the team involved in the production of Wicked it is easy to comprehend how the show has become so popular and successful.
Dance arrangements are covered by James Lynn Abbott, orchestration is by William David Brohn, musical supervision by Stephen Oremus and musical staging by Wayne Cilento.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.
On October 30 2012 Sadler’s Wells, the UK’s leading dance house, held its annual press conference which detailed its 2011/12 year of achievement and success both at home and abroad.
An increased number of performances took place at its three London venues – Sadler’s Wells, the Peacock Theatre and the Lilian Baylis Studio – and an international touring programme took eleven productions to 28 cities across the world, spreading its dance influence to leotard wearers to tappers to high-kicking New Yorker wearers. Of these eleven productions, eight were the work of Sadler’s Wells Associate Artists with a total audience of 131,597. This is a fantastic achievement for those Artists involved, proving that dance is in high demand by a range of demographics: over 13% of the population now attending dance performances. The theatre is dedicated to working with celebrated artists, performers and companies at the forefront of the arts, and the Associate Artists and resident companies include Balletboyz, Matthew Bourne and his company New Adventures, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Jonzi D, Sylvie Guillem, Michael Hulls, Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant, Kate Prince and her company ZooNation UK Dance Company, Nitin Sawhney, Hofesh Shechter, Jasmin Vardimon, Christopher Wheeldon, Wayne McGregor and his company Wayne McGregor | Random Dance.
Additional achievements of the year for Sadler’s include 677 performances being presented on the stages of the three venues which is an increase of 53 shows on last year. 128 artists were commissioned during this period with income from the artistic programme reaching £16 million. Over 650,000 tickets were sold in the UK and on tour, and 90% of Sadler’s £22.8 million turnover was generated from earned income, 71% of income through ticket sales.
Since 2005 Sadler’s Wells has commissioned, co-commissioned, produced and co-produced over 80 new productions. Here’s to 2012/13!
Liam Scarlett, a First Artist of The Royal Ballet, has been appointed the first ever Royal Ballet Artist in Residence, allowing him to focus solely on his choreographic work. Scarlett will take up the position with immediate effect and make his last appearances with the Company as a dancer in the current run of Swan Lake, donning his ballet tights and tunic for the last time.
Scarlett’s latest work Viscera has since received its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House as part of a Mixed programme also featuring Wayne McGregor’s Infra and Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise, with past works including Sweet Violets, Asphodel Meadows and Diana & Actaeon from Metamorphosis: Titian 2012 earlier this year.
Over its expansive history, The Royal Ballet has been very lucky to receive generous support for new choreography, most recently through the New Ballet Works syndicate, launched in September and a scheme which will also work to support three new works being created by Scarlett, McGregor and Wheeldon. Donations received so far have raised over £450,000, which goes an extremely long way in enabling the extensive time and resources required when creating new choreography, especially for those as exciting as Scarlett’s.
His performance and choreographic talents have developed both on and off stage since Scarlett’s time at the Royal Ballet School and Company over the past sixteen years and subsequently as a member of the Company with previous Artistic Director Monica Mason’s encouragement. Now Scarlett has even more opportunity to concentrate full time on his choreographic work under new Director Kevin O’Hare and embark on some intriguing new projects in the future.
Image courtesy of ROH at Flickr.
Step 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.
The Royal Opera House has just launched its Student Ambassador scheme, open to all students from across the UK and giving them, as Ambassadors, access to a whole host of exciting and exclusive benefits. The ROH has invited students from all over the UK to apply to be a Royal Opera House Student Ambassador for the coming academic year as an exciting new dance activity to engage with.
The ROH searched for passionate, creative and confident students who will advocate for the ROH at their universities this year as the first ever ROH Student Ambassadors. The ambassadors will promote exciting productions from the Main Stage, the Alternative programme and the ROH Cinema Season throughout the year by ensuring that the Royal Opera House is represented in the right places and at the right times on and around their universities. The ROH hopes that this will give all students access to world-class productions at the ROH, whether it be in London or at cinemas nationwide, pointe shoe clad or solely leotards.
The Ambassadors will receive access to discounted and complimentary tickets to ROH productions, a fascinating insight into the inner workings of one of the world’s greatest opera houses, the opportunity to meet and network with other Ambassadors and arts professionals and the opportunity to get an insight into the ROH creative departments, in addition to the possibility of being awarded a week long work placement at the ROH in the summer of 2013. Successful applicants who will have been informed recently of their new positions will be able to start the scheme off by The Royal Ballet’s Mixed Programme featuring Viscera, Infra and Fool’s Paradise.
The Royal Opera House Student Standby scheme is generously made possible by the Bunting Family and the Robey Family.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
With the autumn 2012 season of Strictly Come Dancing well underway and with some contestants already voted off the show, a complementary element has been launched by the BBC for fans of the show to indulge themselves in the sequins, feather boas and Latin and ballroom shoes the show encompasses. It has even been rumoured that Strictly Come Dancing recently beat The x Factor in terms of viewers.
The Strictly Come Dancing online game is a game version of the extremely popular show featuring Dancing With The Stars (the US version of the show) professional Mark Ballas and Strictly dancer Artem Chigvintsev, enabling fans to engage even further in the show. The game “Strictly Keep Dancing” allows users to pick from their favourite professional dance partner, in which fans who wish to tango and salsa can do so dressed in their choice of sparkly outfit and outlandish dance show make-up.
The game, which coincided with the launch of the Dancing With The Stars online game too, allows users to choose their own dancing partner from a list that includes current real-life stars of the show. Closely based on the BBC series, the game will allow players to compete on the dance floor as they try to excel to higher levels, collecting points as they go and living out their dance star dream.
Users logging on to the website have been advised that they ‘may experience glitches or problems when they play’ because the game is still in its trial BETA stages.
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.