The Yorkshire Ballet Summer School’s Gala

Yorkshire Ballet Summer SchoolThe Yorkshire Ballet Summer School’s 40th anniversary will be celebrated this year in a gala organised by Anthony Dowell and the actor Derek Jacobi. The gala will be held at national dance house Sadler’s Wells, London, on 29 September, marking the journey from strength to strength of the summer school and its staff.

The Yorkshire Ballet Summer School began as the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars in a church hall, taught by ex-Royal Ballet dancer and teacher David Gayle. The seminars were devised in order to provide young local dancers with an introduction to the professional ballet world, enabling them to learn about opportunities and meet other artists.

The success of the seminars meant they evolved to form a residential ballet course, with the first masterclass taught by Alicia Markova. 2005 saw Marguerite Porter take over the directorship reins of the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School, who began teaching at the course in 1990.

Kevin O’Hare has spoken of his support for the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School: ‘It was such a huge inspiration for me attending the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars and added so much to my training and knowledge of what it would be like to become a professional ballet dancer. When I look back at all the amazing teachers who taught me I feel so lucky to have had that experience while growing up in Yorkshire and I am so glad the seminars continue to thrive and inspire a new generation of dancers.’

This year the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School of more than 180 students will be held at York St John university, boasting course faculty including Anthony Dowell and David Pickering. In terms of the gala, directed by Richard Clifford, the event will include guest stars such as dancers from The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Wayne Sleep and the BalletBoyz. Actors Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter and Samantha Bond will also be in attendance.

Tickets cost £12-£85 and are available from Sadler’s Wells.

Camden’s Creative Projects

Camden Roundhouse

The Camden Roundhouse, one of the the creative centrals of North London is opening its doors to young people aged 11-25 this summer to take part in a number of creative projects. With the chance to work with music, media and performing arts professionals, young people are able to develop creative skills through the projects in the dedicated creative space of the Roundhouse Studios.

Coming up this summer is a wealth of activity for varying age groups and abilities. Below are just a few opportunities on offer, so get booked in now!

Age 12-16
Work with professional theatre practitioners to devise, write, and produce a funny, physical piece of theatre based on a classic story, and perform your play to a live audience at the end of week.
Mon 5 – Fri 9 Aug

Age 11-25
Interested in Parkour or Freerunning? Learn the basics: jumping, landing, rolling, vaulting, climbing and balancing. Learn some new moves and develop your momentum, flow and bounce, and get tips on training safely and learning to view obstacles as opportunities.
Wed 24 – Fri 26 Jul

Age 14-19
Create a cutting edge performance that fuses music, performance and technology! You’ll learn to use the blueprint behind great stories as you create vibrant characters and interactive stories, and collaborate with musicians and digital makers to devise a show that draws on the ideas of game design to put the audience at the heart of the story.
Mon 12 – Fri 23 Aug

Age 11-25
If you are a street dancer, popper, locker, breaker, acrobat, circus artist, or just fancy giving it a go, come and try Street Circus, led by professional artists who merge street dance with circus acrobatics to create high-energy performances.
Thu 25 Jul – Thu 29 Aug

DanceXchange: Dance-Packed Summer

DanceXchangeDanceXchange, Birmingham, has got a dance-packed summer ahead, running a varied programme of dance activity for young people and students which begins in August. The dance hub will be carrying out a hive of activity for young dancers and aspiring professionals, beginning with two summer courses: Youth Dance Intensives for ages 11-14 and 15-21 years (10 August and 27-30 August), and Choreolab for ages 15-21 (19-24 August and 18-20 October).

The courses focus on contemporary technique, performance and choreographic development. For Youth Dance Intensives, the participants will work with tutors on developing and strengthening their contemporary technique practice, and the sessions will also include the creation of a short performance piece. Choreolab is designed to give young dancers the chance to work with practising dance artists in a professional studio setting, covering improvisation, choreographic skills, development of ideas and individual style as well as working towards devising their own dance piece. Choreolab also includes a lighting choreography workshop with a senior Birmingham Hippodrome technician.

The courses are fantastic ways to build on existing skills and hone particular areas of study, especially if dancers are thinking about the next steps in their dance lives, such as building up to undertake GCSE, A-Level or vocational degree qualifications, or aiming to pursue dance careers further through auditions.

In addition to the courses for young people, also available is the application for the Jerwood Choreographic Research Project, in which over £120,000 is available to fund research proposals from artists and creatives from any artform, who consider their work to be choreographic. This would be a fantastic initiative to get a first work off the ground, or build on an existing creative state. As a National Dance Network initiative, the Project is an innovative new investment model for open-ended research in choreographic practice across all artforms.

Summer School Fun

Summer Schools

With the ever-increasing emergence of “theatre-training” programmes, children and young people of the twenty-first century are receiving multiple opportunities to engage in the arts of singing, dancing and acting.

One avenue which is receiving more and more popularity each year is that of summer schools, which are offered by a variety of organisations and institutions alike. For those aspiring to further their theatre training at a performing arts college or similar, summer schools are an ideal way of giving the young person in question an idea of what it might be like to train at that particular college, as they grab their favourite leotards, dance tights or tap shoes. Summer schools are particularly useful to determine whether the student would like to audition for a place for the following year.

Usually an intensive one week course, summer schools offer a taster in many theatre disciplines such as acting, jazz dance, classical ballet, singing and pas de deux, culminating in a showcase performance. In addition to the benefits that students may gain, summer schools are also a chance for colleges and institutions to get a glimpse of the potential talent they may have auditioning, and gauge an idea as to a student’s possible suitability for their course.

Aside from the specific focus on training, for children and young adults summer schools provide the chance to meet other like-minded and motivated individuals who are looking to further their theatrical training in this way. Summer school can be a welcome break from the confines of some theatre schools or academies that the students might already belong to, allowing them to connect a little more with their individuality away from their stage school regulation uniform. Usually there are mixed abilities of students taking part, which may mean you might not get to put on your pointe shoes this summer, but will still have lots of fun!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons