Well I can't believe we've reached the end of the year already! The shows in Ipswich were a nice way to end, we felt it was the most consistent group we have had for Sleeping Beauty and the shows kept improving right up to the last show. It's been a year of highs and lows for us as you will have read in other newsletters. The most distressing thing this year has been seeing how many theatres have been left to become run down, it was saddening to see how much things had deteriorated at the Regent in Ipswich in the three years since we last performed there. Our technical staff had a nightmarish two days setting the show up, stuff that was supposed to be there wasn't and what was there didn't work properly, we were still working on the lighting right up to the moment the house opened! The local crew were very helpful so we got there in the end. Not something I want to have to go through again. My main gripe with the students this year is as always the noise level when everyone is together and the lack of respect this shows to each other and the principal dancers. It is very boring to have to be constantly shouting and asking for quiet. The highs have of course been the performances, it is always a buzz to see what has been achieved by everyone in such a short time and to see and hear the reactions from the audience and the parents during the show. The other major high was getting Sleeping Beauty together and to see how the production has developed over the year, a huge undertaking!
So that is this year done and next year has already started. We've had our first audition for next year, in Preston and 300 dancers auditioned so that is an exciting start ! Miss Lewis, Bridget and myself are busy planning next year and hopefully we will have exciting developments to announce soon. The team will be pretty much the same with maybe a new face to be announced later. Eve in the office has moved house so she has had to leave us so we thank her for all her work last year and wish her all the best for the future. She is being replaced by Susie Brown who used to work with Miss Lewis and myself in the Lewis London Ballet days. Our Principals are going to be busy during the break. Julianne is going to be touring with Raymond Gubbay's "Johann Strauss Gala Concert" through Jan to March. They are creating a new pas de deux for her so go along and give her a cheer! Kasper is currently filming in the "Phantom of the Opera" movie at Pinewood studios which stars Minnie Driver and writing the second half of "The Wanderer" an Oratorio for solo Baritone, Choir and String Orchestra. (Plus in his own words "eating lots of mince pies"). Nadia will be appearing at the Colosseum in London in English National Opera's production of "Nixon in China" with choreography by Mark Morris from Feb. to March. Roddie is waiting on final details on a project in Glasgow, I'll post updates when he lets me know them. I'm going to be choreographing a new piece for the Anglian Ballet Company which may get it's premiere on Feb. 7th. So those of you in the Ipswich area look out for that.
certificate ceremony in Ipswich commendations went to Charlotte
Evans (Guest), Caitlin Wallace and Megan
Rafferty (Cinderella attendants
and Charm), Chelsie and Jodie Innes (Songbird Ladies, White cat
And Cinderella), Harry Ellis (Puss in Boots), Sally
Sorrell Leeming (Duchess), Thomas
Thorne (Duke), Alexis Gair (Nurse) and Ben
Lythgo (Photographer). Prizes went to Tiffany Armijo (Lady Energy),
and Anna Murray (Cryonite).
This letter is a little late and is in a little haste as we have all just got back from our summer(?) break and have already started work on the production in Ipswich. I had an amazing time in South Africa, which despite of all it's problems is a very beautiful country. I saw loads of whales and dolphins (sometimes from my hotel window!) and got face to face with a Great White Shark (didn't try to shake hands though). There is nothing like seeing wild creatures in their own environment to remind you how amazing our planet is.
The production in Hastings was a bit of an uphill struggle as we had the smallest cast we have ever had (there was a limit to the number of people allowed back stage) and the management of the White Rock Theatre was fairly new so it was very difficult to break even. Bridget had to work very hard to get the ticket sales up. We were all a little worn out by the end and in need of our holidays. That said the performances went very well and were well received, everybody worked hard and improved so it was a pleasure to watch the shows.
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Louise Fox, Catriona Lovie, Alicia Meadley, all the Morning Hours (one of the nicest groups I have worked with), Siobhan Zysemel and Jade Wilkinson. Prizes went to Sarah Kirkham (Friend and lead Prayer) for outstanding performance quality both on stage and in rehearsal and Annabel Simes (Scottish doll and Betrothal) for greatest improvement over the course.
Stevie Retigan who was with us in Southend and Hastings wrote to say she had just been accepted into the Chelmsford Ballet Company, Joshua Hutchings who worked with us in Southsea passed his grade 2 with Honours, and Emma Walker who was with us in Southend is doing her RAD major syllabi at the Central School of Ballet and Senior Associate classes at the Urdang Academy in London. Well done to all!
I hope to do a longer letter at the end of the year (there are some exciting plans for next year) so keep your news and comments coming in. Keep working hard!
We've just finished our back to back projects in Southend and Stoke-on-Trent and have a few days to recover before heading out to Hastings. Two different parts of the country, two different productions (Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia), and two very different casts with different strengths and weaknesses , but one thing in common (apart from the inability to be quiet when all together !). The theatres were both so pleased with the response to the performances that they are both already talking about return visits in 2005 ! So well done to everyone involved, hard work does pay off in the end. It was also very gratifying to meet so many of our former dancers and their parents and teachers out in the audience supporting us and enjoying the show. As our regulars will now know I no longer sit in the prompt corner calling the show but get to sit out front and watch with Miss Lewis, something which is very rewarding but I sometimes find more nerve wracking than being back stage ! ( especially as I have to wear a suit ).
At the certificate ceremony in Southend commendations went to Drew Hudson and Clare Hamilton (Duke and Duchess), Kirsty Byram and Hannah Pike (Cryonites and Honesty), Hayley Whitchurch (Jewel), and Ashley Burdett and Emily Young (Guests). Prizes went to Victoria Sargeant (Guest), Lauren McCarthey (Friends), Sophie Bennett ( jewel fairy and monster) and Leah Andreas (Cinderella attendant).
In Stoke commendations went to Kirsty Lovatt, Lisa Birks and Pascell Mifflin (Friends), Eve Crawford and Laura Scarlett (Villagers), Olivia Gwilt and Jodie Edwards (Spanish dolls), Lisa Sexton (Morning hour) and Briony Young (Work hour). Prizes went to Rebecca Barkworth (Friend), Lisanna Huisman and Emma Rushworth (Betrothal and Dolls) and finally the boys James Bently, Nick Edwards, Matthew Jordan and Kristopher Russell who impressed everybody with their hard work, dedication and good behaviour!
Next year is now booked up, all the details are now on the web site. Apologies to those people I confused with the few errors I posted, we have been very busy and I didn't double check. Thanks to those who pointed the errors out to me. Any of you out there who visit our site regularly if you could let me know what you think of it and how it could be improved I would be very grateful.
Elliot Hawker wrote to say he has been accepted into the Elmhurst School for Dance. Congratulations ! Julianne has a busy month ahead as not only is she working with us she is also appearing in the West End in Phantom of the Opera. She doesn't know the meaning of taking a break! Kasper is busy preparing for a concert of music that he has composed which takes place on October 15th as well as preparing for the new term at the Urdang Academy.
I hope to get the next letter out after Hastings if I have time before I go on holiday (I'm off to South Africa on a whale watching trip. I also hope to be able to go in a cage to get up close to a Great White Shark!). So keep your news coming in and keep working hard.
Well I've just about recovered from our Liverpool project , what with all the travelling , the lack of sleep ( If you need a good nights sleep DON'T stay at the Gladstone hotel at the weekend !) , and the difficulties at the Royal Court Theatre . The standard was very high in Liverpool with many familiar faces turning up again. Some for their 3rd time ! Unfortunately the rehearsals were marred by some acts of vandalism on the School in which we were working which is totally unacceptable behaviour. If the person(s) responsible had been found they would have been removed from the production. Having said that the performances were excellent and everyone coped with the difficult conditions back stage with good spirit. A special thank you goes to our technical staff who had a very trying few days but managed to get every thing running smoothly for the shows.
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Cinderella Attendants for their constant hard work , concentration , and for being a lovely group to work with . All the solo dancers got a mention for the consistent high quality of their performances and a special commendation went to Emma Corrie ( Russian and Lilac ) for her overall improvement during the whole project. Prizes went to Kathryn Cooper (Cinderella), Elizabeth Warbuton (Russian and Lilac), and Katherine Hamilton (Guest).
Next year is beginning to take shape , so far we going to Preston ( provisional dates 2nd & 3rd April), High Wycome (22nd & 23rd June), Nottingham (3rd & 4th August), and Wolverhampton (17th & 18th September). I will post the rest of the dates as they are confirmed.
Jennifer Taylor wrote to say she would like to contact any of the Reed pipes from our Nutcracker production in Ashton-u-Lyne. Send an e-mail to me and I will pass on your e-mail address to Jennifer.
This is a short letter this time as I am very busy , but do keep sending your news. Keep working hard.
This Letter's theatrical cliché has to be "The Show Must Go On". We had a couple of nail biting weeks down in Southsea , a few days before we were to start rehearsals Miss Lewis got a frantic phone call from one of the parents to say that she had just read in the local paper that the Kings Theatre in Southsea had gone into liquidation and had been closed! Would there still be an EYB course? This was of course the first we had heard of this and very worrying as we had already sold over 800 tickets and had an obligation to the young dancers and their parents to put on a show . Cancelation was out of the question. Miss Lewis quickly phoned the paper in question, who were very helpful and gave her the phone numbers of the Theatre Trust and the local council, and confirmed that this was the case - the Theatre was closed and all the money was gone! We were told that there was going to be an emergency meeting at the end of the following week to see if the council would bail out the Theatre to keep it open until the end of the season.
So we arrived on day one with no concrete news, all we could do was assure every one that there would be a show somewhere and we would carry on as normal . We had contacted another venue which had kindly agreed to hold a slot open for us should the worse happen . The only problem with this was that they could not offer us the same dates as we had at the Kings Theatre which was a major headache as Julianne had other commitments , we weren't sure how many of the young dancers would still be available , and on a selfish note from me I had a ticket to see Neil Young ( ask your parents ! ) and would have a good cry if I missed that.
So for the next week Miss Lewis and Bridget , with the help of parents , local TV, radio , and the newspapers got together a petition, lobbied the council and put forward various options to keep the show happening at the Kings Theatre on the dates planned as the other big problem was how to honour the tickets already sold if we switched venues . All we could do now was wait .........
On the Friday as we were finishing rehearsals we heard that it had been decided to put more money into the theatre to keep it open for the rest of the season but this had to be ratified by the rest of the council on Monday . So all we could do was wait, again........
The news on Monday was good ! Everything would go ahead as planned and we would be covered for the tickets we had already sold , the day was saved, the show would go on and I would get to see Neil Young. Hooray! It would have been a great shame if things hadn't worked out as the cast in Southsea turned out to be one of the nicest we have worked with and it ended up being a very special EYB production. Congratulations all round. The sad news is that the future of the Kings Theatre is still in doubt which is a great shame as it is a beautiful old theatre with a lot of history. Julianne ( who is local to the area ) and myself have fond memories of performing there with the Lewis London Ballet and Miss Lewis performed there with London Festival Ballet. Southsea will be a poorer place if it is allowed to be closed.At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Julia Ansty and Billie-leigh Roberts my two lead villagers , the three solo girls Gemma Attwood, Felicity West, and Natalie Cawte, and all the Dolls in act 2.
Prizes went to: Robyn Vernon-Harcourt ( Morning hour ) for concentration , enthusiasm , and being a joy to teach. Natalie Relf (Prayer) for outstanding performance quality from day one. Hannah Cumming ( Chinese Doll ) for characterisation and overall improvement . Laura Browne ( Work hour ) for a complete transformation from the start of the course to the shows. Rosie Ritchie who danced with us in Stevenage wrote to say she has been accepted at Tring Performing Arts in Hertfordshire . Congratulations ! Lydia Leeson is performing in "The Wizard of Oz" at thr Tameside Theatre Ashton-u-Lyne , hope the shows go well and you have lots of fun!
Well that about wraps it up. The next letter will hopefully be after Liverpool and I hope to be able to let you know where we will be next year, Miss Lewis is working on the bookings now. Keep working hard.
Well it's been a bit of a whirlwind couple of months in EYB land but we have all survived and I'm here to tell the tale . First was the mammoth auditions in Stoke and Liverpool , over 500 young dancers turned up over the two venues ! I would like to commend them all and their parents for braving the elements and putting up with the less than ideal conditions we were met with at theatres and still maintaining a good spirit . Sorry that we can't take everyone . A special thank you to the father who abandoned his family in the snow to run Julianne , Ernest and my self to the station in Stoke after our cab failed to turn up , we made the train with 5 seconds to spare ! Truly an act above and beyond the call of duty . Who would have thought a Virgin train would be on time when it was snowing !
Of course our main news was the premier of "The Sleeping Beauty" in Croydon last week , a huge undertaking, not without a few worrying moments but it was "all right on the night". The sets and costumes looked spectacular and after a very shaky dress rehearsal the young dancers pulled out four splendid performances that left Miss Lewis and myself feeling very proud (and relieved!) . The audience response was every thing we now expect at an EYB performance , even to the point where some teachers and dancers said that they had enjoyed our production more than the new one at The Royal Opera House . Fine praise indeed ! So congratulations to everyone involved.
At the certificate ceremony in Croydon commendations went to Abbigail Dorrill for continued improvement in technique and confidence , Nicola Anderson for improved point work and confidence , and the whole Songbirds group for enthusiasm , togetherness , and concentration. Prizes went to Charlotte Bell , Stephanie Mico , Catherine Lauder , and Emma Sharp . All for Professionalism (each rehearsal danced full out , concentration , being focused , and performance quality on stage).
News from past members , Sara Evans who danced with us in Southend in Coppelia has recovered from a spinal operation she had to have and has gone on to win a place at the London Studio Centre in Kings Cross and will be studying for a BA in Theatre Dance . Louise Flanagan who danced the Dawn Solo in Coppelia in Preston has gained a place at the Royal Ballet upper school . Congratulations to them both and we wish them well in their studies .
Katie Selwood from Swindon would like to hear from any sweets and snowflakes from our Nutcracker there . She also runs her own web page called Dance Crazy which is an ideal place to contact her and keep in touch with other like minded dancers . A link can be found on our cross reference page or the site address is www.matmice.com/home/dancecrazy . Get in contact , she is waiting to hear from you all !
Welcome to the first EYB Newsletter !
I hope to make to make this a regular feature on the web site so please contact me with all your news to keep it interesting.
The main company news is of course our new production of "The Sleeping Beauty" . As I sit here writing this up to 10 dress makers are frantically sewing away at the 200+ costumes designed by Keith Bish , scenic painters are bringing to life Sebastian Petit's set designs , the prop maker is making solid the weird and wonderful ideas of the designers and choreographers , the mammoth task of recording and editing the music is underway , the principal dancers are sweating away coming to grips with the challenging "Rose Adagio" the Act 3 Grand pas de deux and the fiendish new choreography I am coming up with for Act 2 , and poor Miss Lewis is overseeing the whole madness keeping all our creative ideas within the realms of reality and budget ! Loads of fun . There's no business like show business !
2003 sees a few changes within the company . Ursula and Richard left us at the end of 2002 to concentrate on their school and other projects , we wish them luck in their work and thank them for all their past work with us . Julianne , Roddie , and Kasper are all back with us and we would also like to welcome our new principal dancer , Nadia Sadiq , who will be sharing the role of Aurora with Julianne . Nadia's biography will be on the website soon . We also hope that Paul Lewis will be able to guest with us again at some time this year . Another new face is Eve Saunders who is Miss Lewis' new PA . Those of you who were at the Croydon and Southsea auditions will have met her and if you phone the office she is the one who will look after you . We would like you to join in us in congratulating our wardrobe supervisor Jessie on the birth of her daughter , Grace , who was born on the 21st of December . A new baby and a new production to look after !
Thank you to all of you who contacted me about this newsletter .
Rosie Ritchie who worked with us in Stevenage wrote to say she had got top marks in her ballet exam and that she was preparing for a choreographic competition, hope that went as well as the exam.
Amy Bowyer who was in Ashton wanted to contact Daniel & Samuel Tate Potts .
Katie who was in Nutcracker in Swindon would like to get in contact with Lizzie Hoar and Lucy Gallagher .
If you wish to get in contact with old friends contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward your message or post it up in the next news letter. Please remember to put EYB in the subject box and say what you danced in which production .
Well that's it for this letter , keep in contact , keep working hard , and I look forward to seeing old and new faces throughout the year.