Well as we all sit snowbound, enjoying (or not) extra time away from school or work it seems the perfect time to make some hot chocolate sit down and reflect over the last year in the world of EYB. First off though is our final project of the year in Aylesbury and what a wonderful end to the year it turn out to be! The Waterside Theatre is brand spanking new state of the art theatre and we were one of the first companies to go in. We had the biggest audience attendance of the year and I think that and the lovely working environment drew out one of the best performances of The Nutcracker we have had. The cast in Aylesbury had a long journey to travel but when they arrived they out did expectations. One of the highlights for me was how good the acting was from day one and how well it was maintained throughout the rehearsal period and then transferred to the stage, it was lovely to be surprised by “new business” every performance! Of course there were a few dramas as well (it wouldn’t be theatre without them) . With the theatre being brand new we were the first people to use their in house lighting system which dutifully refused to work for the technical rehearsal! We had one very fraught lighting designer and frantic electricians from the theatre working overtime to try and discover why. The wonders of modern technology! Fortunately it was all resolved in time for the dress rehearsal and we weren’t dancing in the dark.
It has been a year of transition for us, Alex and Matthew have moved onto new pastures (both doing well and enjoying themselves) and Aylesbury saw the last project that Bridget will do with us. After 12 years she has decided that it is time to concentrate on her own school that she runs and work on some new projects that don’t involve so much travel! Bridget co-founded EYB with Miss Lewis 12 years ago and it is safe to say EYB would not have been the success it is today without her. She said it was the longest she has done any job in her life and she enjoyed every moment (apart from the travelling). I’m sure you’ll all join us in thanking her for all the invaluable work over the years and wish her well in her future endeavours and a well earned rest from life on the road! Ben Garner who has been sharing her job this year will now be taking over full time (he said he would keep Bridget’s number on speed dial though).
We have had our audition for Alex’s replacement and we will be introducing you to Amy Drew next year. The audition was very interesting, a lot more brutal than you all experience at our students audition. We had about 30 applicants that were invited to come. During the barre we sit there thinking this is going to be difficult, they all look so good! Then in the centre we have to start making criteria for making the cuts (we do let all applicants do the whole class as people have different strengths and weaknesses). We have to conceder what roles they will be dancing, who they will be dancing with and if the have the temperament and personality to cope with the teaching side of the job. After the class we have to make the most savage cuts, not tall enough, too tall, can’t turn, can’t jump, too young, not strong enough on point, not resident in this country. The survivors then have to do one of the solos from the repertoire, can they learn quickly? are they musical? did they show some understanding of the role? can they get through it? More cuts. The final few then have to do some partnering (it was Loriens’ job to look after them in this section, having to adjust to different partners he had never danced with before). If they survive all that then there is an interview, are they available? interested in what we offer? what is their personality like? will they fit in with the company? can they speak enough English to be able to teach? are they interested in teaching and choreography? where do they feel they are in their careers? Most off this business is being the right person at the right place at the right time! Most of the ladies that auditioned for us were completely employable but unfortunately not just right for what we needed on the day. One nice surprise at the audition was to see Aimee Williamson (Dawn Solo Preston 2007 now a 3rd year student at Rambert) hold her own against the professionals. She said it was her first audition. She was in the running for a long time but her height and age were against her but it was lovely to see her progress and I’m sure she will have a good career!
As always our Principals are busy over the break, Julianne and Brendan will be on tour with the Strauss Gala. Oli, Lorien and Emma are guesting with other Youth Ballets if the weather permits them to fly to their destinations! As I write this Emma and Lorien are hopefully flying to Alaska where they will be performing the pas de deux from the Nutcracker and one of my “Angel and the Fallen” pas de deux from the performances we did in Salisbury earlier this year.
Next year is pretty much booked up, first 2 auditions already done. We are hoping to add an eighth project, hopefully in the West country so keep an eye out on the web site for that. Alternatively you can sign up to the Official EYB Facebook page and you should get alerts when new projects are announced!
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Katherine Collings (Clara), Madeleine Westbrook-Burr (Flower) who smiled from beginning to end, Abigail Ross-Smith (Lead Flower) for good class work and attack, Alfie Smith (Mouse king) for a strong performance, Amara Olley Dorey (Doll/Bonbon) for stage presence and tiny lovely footwork, Jessica Arnold and Stephanie Palmer (Lead Flowers) for consistent work, Elena Redmond (Teenager/Spanish) for improved pointework, Philippa King (Madam Bonbon) for good characterisation especially shaking the finger at the sweets, Eleanor Ryan (Lead Arabian) for lovely back bends and quality, Tameera Williams-Simpson (Russians) for excellent musicality and character retires, the Snow flakes who worked hard for Miss Lewis and kept lines well, the 4 Prologue little boys for superb acting and all in the party scene for excellent acting from day one of rehearsals.
Prizes went to Alfie Stewart (Fritz/Wooden Nutcracker) and Josephine Glover (Maid /Arabian) both for outstanding characterisation.
I have had messages from Cora Vanaman who has got a place as a JA at the SLP college in Leeds and is appearing in Mother Goose at the Nottingham Playhouse along with Megan Singleton, Isobel Teer and Lauren Skinner, Katherine Hamilton who got to perform in Billy Eliot on the West End and after excellent A level results is now studying English Lit at Durham University, Geena Bennet who is now a full time boarder at Elmhurst on a full scholarship and Jessica Arnold who got Distinction in her RAD Advanced 1.
Well thats it from me for another year, hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and new year! Keep your news coming in and as always, keep working hard!
Wolverhampton was quite a dramatic end to a very hectic summer for us, but I guess that is no surprise to anyone who follows our adventures around the country! As always the standard was very high so our expectations are even higher and by the last performance they were reached. I am pleased to report that out of our 4 visits to Wolverhampton this group was the best behaved. Noise has always been a bit of a problem there, it is the only place in the country where I have to tell students to be quiet during an audition! We had the highest percentage of girls on point in this project ever which made changes to the choreography. For the 1st time ever the Scullery Maids and all the Hunt Ladies were on point along with a group within the villagers. As our regulars know we always tailor the choreography to the ability of the students. We had understudies going in at the last minute, poor Ellie Mae Philpott (scullery maid) had an accident and was in a cast 2 days before the shows! Fortunately as we drum in the importance of understudying she was immediately covered for the shows. After the show, while driving back to London the principals’ car had a puncture on the M6! Fortunately among Oliver’s many talents there is wheel changing so they got home safely if a little delayed.
Once again the last performance was very emotional for us as it was Alex’s last show with us! She hasn’t quite left us yet as she is helping with the teaching in Aylesbury before she start rehearsing for Will Tuckett’s “Fairies” at the ROH in London. She will be greatly missed by the whole company and will be hard to replace. I’m sure you’ll all join us in thanking her for all her excellent work these last 3 years and wish her well in the development of her career. As with Matthew the door will always be open at EYB for guest appearances.
During the Wolverhampton rehearsals Lorien, Emma and I were also in Salisbury for the “The Angel and the Fallen” concert. I choreographed 2 pas de deux which started and finished the concert. The first was to a song called “Prayer” performed by Hayley Westenra and the second to Elgar’s “Nimrod” performed by the Band of the Adjutant General’s Corps. It was quite a long concert so Emma and Lorien had to wait nearly 3 hours between dances and the stage was the smallest they had ever performed on! Alastair Stewart OBE who presented the concert described their performance as “emotional and thought provoking” in his acknowledgements at the end. I was very proud of them.
The venues and auditions are now up on the web site for next year. We have some new and old ones. Even if you are unavailable to come to the auditions please spread the word especially in Newcastle and Cardiff which are totally new areas for us.
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the understudies who stepped in during the show Francesca York (Villager) and Genna Bennett (Friend) and Hattie Archer (Friend) who stood in many times in rehearsal. For improvement commendations went to Harry Powell (Butler), Lydia Walklate (Cook), Mary Anderson (Housekeeper), Teddy Moyniham (Hunt), Laura Santolamazza (Wood Nymph), Hayley Wood, Georgia Curtis and Harriet Ellis (Wilis). Special mentions went to the Hunt Group and an outstanding Aristocratic Children’s group.
Prizes went to Charlotte Burton (Duke’s Wife) and Grace Arkel (Child) for outstanding performance quality from day one.
I have had messages from Alex Johnson who got Distinction in his grade 3 , Elena Redmond and her sister Shannen who will be performing with Cilla Black in Cinderella at the new Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury where we are currently working and Tiffany Doughty who has become a RB Associate.
Well that’s all from me, I will do a round up of the year in the next letter which will be after we finish in Aylesbury for the year. Keep your news coming in and as always, keep working hard!
Where does the time go? I’m trying to catch you all up with Nottingham and Bromley and we are already half way through rehearsals in Wolverhampton! Its all a bit of a blur really. It was our 5th visit to Nottingham, back in the Theatre Royal rather than the Concert hall and I am pleased to say we managed to improve the audience attendance from 2 years ago and just pip the figures for 4 years ago! Which was one in the eye for the new theatre manager who has been less than supportive and very pessimistic about our ticket sales. So we will be back in 2 years time! It was also sad to see a lot of the long term staff there would be taking retirement or redundancy packages. The old theatre manager (who tragically passed away last year) is greatly missed. As always the standard was high in Nottingham with lots of “Repeat Offenders” in the ranks, some who were with us 8 years ago! We had a bit of drama on the Friday night when 1 of the girls was taken ill during the 1st act and a paramedic was called in so an understudy had to learn the prayer dance during the intervals ready to go on in the 3rd! All went well and all were back the following day. In both Nottingham and Bromley we were plagued with people not turning up or dropping out and hasty recasting was had to be done during rehearsals making life less than easy for the choreographers and me doing the timetable!
The shows in Bromley were well attended as well with the matinee sold out and just a couple of rows at the back off the stall empty in the evening performances. It is always a pleasure when we do the “Crash Course” in the summer holidays to see how well the company bonds together in such a short time, the behaviour in both venues was excellent. Bromley was a bit of an odd one for us as we only had 3 boys audition so we had no older boys to play the fathers in the party scene and the Mouseking. Fortunately we were able to draft in Charles Brink (long time EYB student now at Tring) and Tom Scott from Laines. Both young men added greatly to the show. We also had a guest appearance from our new principal dancer Brenden Bratulic before his official debut in Wolverhampton.
The last performance in Bromley was quite an emotional one for us. It was Matthew’s last show with us as he has now joined the cast of “Phantom of the Opera” in London. He will be missed by all the staff and the students and I’m sure you’ll all join us in wishing him all the best and happiness in his new job. He has promised to back and haunt us some time in the future.
The ceremony in Bromley was a first for us as well, we had no Miss Lewis! She was attending the Festival Ballet/ENB 60th anniversary reunion as that was the main company she worked for as a dancer. Trevor was there also (he was Fritz in Nutcracker when Miss Lewis was a dancer there and then later joined the company). Hopefully this will lead to some interesting news for a later letter.
In other news Lorien and Emma will be performing 2 of my pas de deux at Salisbury Cathedral (11 Sept. 7.30pm) in “The Angel and the Fallen” a concert organised by the Royal British Legion featuring Haley Westenra. If you are in the area do come and support them. A bit of a mad weekend for us as we also have to be in Wolverhampton for run throughs and the parents showing! Never a dull moment in EYB.
At the certificate ceremony in Nottingham commendations went to Jasmine Bavington (Work Hour/Czardas) for improvement, Emily Pottage (Dawn Solo) for strong technique and stepping into the Friends dance, William Rogers (Combat) for hard work and performance quality, Benjamin Jones (Betrothal/soldier Doll) for performance quality, Charlotte Chapman-Hart (Morning Hour/Czardas) for her serene lyrical quality, Rebecca Gale (Barmaid) for her smile, Mollie Price-Walker (Villager) for her clear mime, Kelisha Francis-Parmer (Villager) for her smile and presentation, and Sophie Slawson (Friend) for her musicality and learning the Prayer dance in 20 minuets and going on as an understudy during the performance. Prizes went to Emma Clowes (Betrothal/Scottish Doll) and Grace Carr (Coppelia Doll/Little friend/Prayer - she had 5 costume changes!).
At the certificate ceremony in Bromley commendations went to Hannah Winterman (Louise/Spanish) for her acting and performance quality, Callum Littlefield (Jig) for improved technique, Zoe Snowball (Flower) for her smile, Aisling O’Keeffe (Maid/Arabian/Madam Bonbon) for her characterisation and Joana Bourouphael (Spanish/Flower) who stepped into the Waltz of the Flowers. Julianne gave a special mention to the following Flowers - Pippa Knucky, Katherine Hammant, Emma Ward, Melanie Wheeler and Zoe Weller. The whole cast got a mention for their company Spirit! Prizes went to Amie Mills (Doll/Sweet) and Elizabeth Blenkingsop (Lead Flower)
I have had messages from Eleanor Canavan-White who will starting at Central in September along with Harry Wood who also attended the RBS Summer School, Tiffany Doughty who passed her RAD Inter foundation with 80%, Natasha Knight who will be studying for the RAD certificate of Ballet teaching and Emily Pottage who will be going to Rambert School in September. I must apologise that I have lost a couple of e-mails so If I have missed you out please e-mail me again and I will include you in the next letter. Congratulations to all!
Well thats all from me for now, keep your news coming in and as always, keep working hard.
Another student guest spot this month. Katelyn has performed with us several times in Nottingham and is currently training at Ballet West in Scotland.
Hi everyone at EYB!
Having just been to see the Nottingham cast’s performance of Coppelia (outstanding as usual!), it’s obvious that everyone’s been working hard this year... as have I.
I started my first year of full time training at Ballet West in September, and before I knew it, we were preparing to go on a 2 month tour around China with the schools production of “The Nutcracker” (an old EYB favourite). As soon as our assessments were over, we were into non-stop rehearsals , (I was part of the corps, as a snowflake, candy cane and a flower), which thanks to a couple of last minute injuries become increasingly confusing and chaotic- thankfully my EYB past experiences served me well here!
However, our troubles didn’t end there, as the ash cloud extravaganza prevented our departure for ten very stressful days! Thankfully, the organisers in China were incredible and managed to reorganise our schedule according to when and where we could eventually arrive, although this did mean we had to perform on our very first day in China, after about 24 hours of travelling!
When we arrived at the first venue, my jaw dropped- it was enormous! Months of increasing excitement were suddenly infected by nerves, none of us students had ever performed on such a vast stage before... Astonishingly, it seems our tiredness and stress levels drew the company together, and we put on an amazing show, and received a standing ovation from our Chinese audience!
After that, the next 6 weeks passed in an mix of stages, dressing rooms and so many hotel rooms I can hardly tell one city from another, and because of our erratic schedule (performing in the evening, and then sleeping during the day as we travelled to our next destination), to be honest there are some days I can hardly remember what happened at all!
Throughout the tour, the entire company would participate in warm up class on the stage before the show, putting everyone in performance mode immediately! No matter what was going on backstage we all just made the most of being able to dance in such inspiring spaces; and taking the chance to learn from watching others rehearse (which often came in use when understudies were needed!) One thing is for certain, no one could be accused of not smiling or performing enough while on stage!
Even so, the tour was filled with the moments that stick with you forever: seeing the Great Wall of China and the notoriously gorgeous Suzhou Gardens; the many weird and wonderful designs of the Chinese theatres; the joys of being delayed for almost an entire day in a Chinese airport because of flash storms; and the wonderful people who made the trip so enjoyable, not only others from Ballet West, but all the Chinese who helped us along the way- without them this tour would have been impossible!
The rush of being on such a huge stage, with a full auditorium, new costumes and such a fabulous cast is a feeling I’ll cherish for the rest of my life and I loved every moment!
Anyway, I’ll take this chance to thank everyone at EYB for the invaluable performance experience you gave me, and I hope you’re all okay (not doubt looking forward to having a rest!)
Love from Katelyn xx
Thank to Katelyn for that! I will be doing my usual report on Nottingham and Bromley and other news next month once we get Wolverhampton underway!Keep working hard
Ah, that ancient curse. “May you live in interesting times”! Well we are all living in those now. This is another “Tale of Two Cities” letter, Norwich and Leamington Spa, both historic and beautiful, both we performed “The Sleeping Beauty” in, but two very different venues! Leamington I would politely call a ”difficult venue”, small (which the cast coped with well) and not particularly well run, not helped by the fact that the managers had changed since the booking was made a year ago. Norwich, well I cant praise that venue enough! Well run, every one cares about their work, nothing is too much and every things is done to make the experience of performers and audience as pleasant as possible. Each of our 3 visits there has been a pleasure and I am sure it affects the quality of the performances.
As we had to leap frog the rehearsals for Leamington and Norwich (one weekend in one place the next in the other) we decided to experiment with 2 teaching teams, something I had passingly suggested to Miss Lewis 11 years ago if we should ever expand our performances to 8 a year (always be careful what you wish for, you may get it!). Everyone stepped up to the challenge and everything ran as smoothly as normal. Mind you Miss Lewis and myself (who were in both teams) did find it a little confusing to try and remember where we had got to with each group!
It would not be theatre without some dramas and both venues had those! At the parents showing in Leamington two of the Solo Jewels/Relatives were ill so there was some very hasty understudy rehearsals during the lunch break! Every one stepped up to the mark and we did not have to cut too much. One of the highlights of Leamington was Alex’s debut as Aurora, we and her family (who travelled to Leamington to see her) were very proud of her! Oli had a nightmare journey to Norwich, he was already a day late due to rail strikes in France but still due to arrive for the dress rehearsal when he would be dancing the Prince in time for his first entrance. Then British rail let him down as well and to add to his frustration his phone network dropped out and he couldn’t even let us know where he was and when he would arrive! We had nearly 500 people at the dress! Lorien, who had partnered Alex in Leamington and was now partnering Emma stood by to partner Julianne in the Rose Adage in Act 1 (they danced the part together in Shrewsbury last year) in case Oli didn’t make the start. On he went, then stood by for Act 2, on he went! We couldn’t really ask him to do Act 3 as he was doing the role in the evening performance! Thankfully Oli turned up in time for the Grand Pas de Deux and as I has pre warned the audience in my pre show ramble no one was too confused! Ah those “Interesting times”, not to be wished on anyone.
The behaviour of the students in both venues was excellent (although the “Friends” group in Leamington did let the side down in the theatre) and the improvement from every one was very gratifying. Well done to all.
At the certificate ceremony in Leamington Spa commendations went to Shannon Moor (Nurse) for her acting, Rebecca Boniface and Danielle Graham (Honesty and Lead Cats) who were quick to learn and a pleasure to work with, the Russians for good group work, Harriet Piggott (Guest) for excellent head work and sense of dance, Zoe Tilldesley, Jordana Hill, Gemma Hines and Saffron Ball for excellent understudy work on parents showing day and Katie Maxwell (Lilac/Russian) for her help with the props.
Prizes went to James Sampson (Duke) and Amy Keenan (Friend).
Miss Lewis asked that the following be added to this newsletter
“ The performances at Leamington Spa were mainly disciplined and came up to expectations with outstanding improvement from all students throughout the rehearsals and carrying into the performances.
However it was disappointing that the “Friends” group were not always attentive enough to the tying and tucking in of their ballet shoe ribbons. To enhance a ballet dancer’s foot work means also they have to to ensure ribbons are tidy and tucked in (NEVER TO COME OUT) at all times. After 3 performances and after reminders I was dismayed to see this had not been attended to as seriously as it should have been. The little film on our web site is an excellent way of checking this. Other than this I was very pleased with the Leamington performances.”
At the certificate ceremony in Norwich commendations went to Bethany Havers (Nurse) for good characterisation, Libby Miller (Russian) for most improvement in that group, Catherine Lovick (Solo Jewel/Relative) for improved pointe work, Shannon Spurdens-aka “Smiley” -(Cryonite/Honesty) for her lovely smile and performance, Eleanor Ramsden (Guest) for presentation and smile, Maddie Coelho (Lady Energy/Solo Jewel) for improved confidence and technique and the Friends group for hard work. It was also noted how together all the group work was (I thought the matinee performance by the guests was the tightest I have seen from any cast and the sharpness of the end of the finale from the whole cast caused applause before the finish!) and point work was improved vastly through out.
The 4 “Hop” boys, Frank Brown, Stanley Doughty, Charlie Lee and Shaun Taylor received a special prize from Trevor Wood (their teacher) and Miss Lewis for their commitment, hard work and show stealing performance. The junior prize went to Emily Clark (Little Jewel/Monster) for performance and use of head and the senior prize went to Rachel Clark - no relation- (Solo Jewel/ Lady Beauty) for improved strength, pointe work and arms.
I have had messages from Elena Redmond who got Distinction in her RAD grade 3, Imogen Lyon who will be attending Elmhurst from September, Charlie Day who got Distinction for his ISTD grade 5 ballet and will be performing 6 dance routines in the Liphook Academy of Dance production of the “Wizard of OZ”, Caitlin O’Farrell who will be performing with NYB again and Tom Broderick who will be attending Central School of Ballet in September. Congratulations to all.
Well that’s all from me for now, the summer is pretty In sane for us as usual, 3 productions in 12 weeks! Keep sending your news and as always, keep working hard!
Well Wimbledon was dramatic and was definitely what is known as “Hard WorK”! Right from the start we were frustrated by the school’s lack of organisation and we never knew which areas we could use for rehearsals from day to day and 1 weekend we were forced to combine classes B and C for the warm ups and some of the areas we were allocated were completely unusable! Fortunately the onsite staff were more clued in and were very helpful in getting us spaces we could use. Then we had the worst case of absenteeism we have ever had and you all know by now how frustrating that is for us and the extra work it puts onto the understudies, we did not have a complete compliment of students until the 1st night! As we were near London and most of the rehearsals were in the Easter break and we were down on numbers we decided to try a work experience scheme so we asked back Caroline Reece, Samantha Bosshardt (both at London Studio Centre) and Ellie Waite (now at Central) to help out, and very fortunate it turned out to be! During the first run through at the school disaster struck, Alex injured her calf muscle and was unable to dance! So for the next run through and the parents showing Emma and Julianne alternated Giselle and Queen of the Wilis while Caroline stepped into the roll of Lady Bathild and Ellie undertook the daunting task of learning Lucienne and the Peasant pas de deux in one day! Both young women acquitted themselves admirably and the day was saved. It was then apparent that poor Alex was not going to be able to perform anything more than Bathild so some hasty calls were made and we discovered that one of our guest principals Juliana Bastos had just been performing the Queen of the Wilis and was free to come and perform with us! So she jumped on a plane - the day before the volcanic ash grounded everything!- and rehearsals were arranged. Then double disaster! David Kierce who was to dance with Julianne had been nursing a similar injury to Alex realised he was not going to well enough to perform! Unfortunately Oliver Speers was not available and wouldn’t have been able to get into the country even if he was. So some more hasty rehearsals and Julianne and Juliana alternated as the Queen of the Wilis and Lucienne and Lorien and Emma did all the shows as Giselle and Albert. Getting through 5 shows in 3 days is some feat! Apart from the lighting board crashing during the technical rehearsal no more disasters befell us and the show went on and EYB did what it does and it was a relief to see all those Saturday night curtain calls and hear those cheers! A very trying and nerve wracking week for all involved, fortunately we had a week off afterwards to recover. Alex is getting better and we hope she will be fighting fit for her debut as Aurora in Leamington Spa!
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Wilis as a group who worked hard, Lucy Elliott, Holly Gibson-Barnard, Isabel Harrington, and Abigail Steele (the 4 Scullery Maids) for improvement, Lucca Ewbank (Housekeeper) for performance quality, improvement and headline lifted, Marieke Nelis (Villager) who worked well in class and performance, always dancing full-out, Daniel Erman as the Duke taking over the named part at the last minute, much better stage presence as a result, all boys improved, Leo Jarvis (child) especially improved technique and Ellie Tapper showed elegance as the duke’s wife.
The Junior Prize went to Michael Preston (Butler) who gave a strong performance and had good technique with straight pirouettes and tours. The Senior Prize to Selena Richards (Wili) who was taking on board all corrections, worked extremely hard throughout and was a pleasure to work with.
I have had messages from Lowri Shone who is at Hammond and will be performing with ENB in Swan lake at the RAH, Rhys Shone who is still enjoying Hammond and is in year 10, Alex Johnson who got a Distinction for RAD grade 2, Josh Moss who got Distinction for BBO inter foundation and has been accepted into the Northern Ballet School, Freddie Gunningham who will be going to White Lodge, Leah Jones and Laura Walsh who have been accepted into the NBT associates, Orla Baxingdale who will be performing with NYB, and Dixie Webb-Heller who got distinction for her Inter Foundation RAD. Congratulations to all!
Well that’s all from me, keep your news coming in and keep working hard!
Well its nice to report that 2010 has started with a bang for EYB! We had a very successful project in Preston with a very high standard (as usual) and very consistent performances. Of course there were plenty of dramas along the way. As anyone who lives in the area knows the M6 is hell at the moment which was very stressful for all those who had to use it and for us made a very long journey even longer! The cold weather didn’t help either and there were plenty of bugs going round to keep the understudies very busy. With one drop out and and an unfortunate broken foot just before the last weekend (poor Laura Nicholson, she did manage to hobble in an see the show and support the Wilis) we ended up with 2 of the Friends being Wilis as well! Preston also saw a new Guest Principal in our ranks, David Kierce who was partnering Julianne. Their shows went very well and we are all looking forward to working with him again. Our Principals are being kept very busy, immediately after the shows in Preston we down to Southsea to perform with our Virtuoso company in “Strictly Gershwin” which also included 10 young dancers from the local area for the 1st time in the Gershwin number. Although the audience numbers were disappointing the show went well and the theatre manager felt we could build from there so hopefully we will return there again as Virtuoso as well as EYB. Emma will be performing with ENB in “Swan Lake” at The Royal Albert Hall during our Leamington Spa project so it is a good opportunity for Alex to step up into the roll of Aurora for the first time. Sleeping Beauty will also see the return of Steven Wheeler who will be guesting again as Carabosse and Oliver Speers will be back in our fold again dancing the Prince. We have also added another project at the end of the year in Aylesbury at the new theatre which is being built there, details should be on the web site soon. Next year will see EYB venturing into Wales for the first time as we have been invited to perform in Cardiff. Newcastle will be another new city for as well. I recently set up an Official EYB facebook page, it now has 200 members after 2 weeks and the Preston cast have some how managed to upload about 250 photos ! All our auditions and performances will posted there as well and it is a good place to keep in contact with all the new friends you have all made.
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Emily Gardiner and Helena Tranter (nymphs), the Children’s Dance- excellent, one of the best particularly the musicality of Daniel Pryer, the Wilis for Drama and maturity, the 4 Scullery Maids for a good standard and good use of feet, Bethany Lees and Abbie Blake (Cook and Housekeeper) for improved pointe work, the Villagers for nice arm movements. Lorna Savory (Friend and Wili) for improved. pointe work, Betty Bell (Hunt) for great improvement, Fleur Armitage (a delightful Duchess) for good style, epaulement and use of head and the whole cast for attaining an excellent level of performance quality.
Prizes went to Beatrice Sher for outstanding work as a Lead Wili and a lovely sense of dance and Georgina Cartwright (Wili) for the most improvement overall.
I have had messages from Emily Whiting who passed her RAD grade 3 with distinction, Michael Preston who danced in Cinderella with the Chelmsford Ballet Company and will be appearing in Mama Mia as well, Natasha Knight who passed her RAD grade 6 with distinction, Phoebe Horn who has been performing with London Children’s Ballet, Katlelyn Severn who was performing in The Nutcracker with Ballet West and will be touring China with them! Abbie Smith who won a Ballet Trophy at her Ballet School and finally Eve Crawford who has been accepted into Laine Theatre Arts for September.
Well that’s all from me, keep your messages coming in and as always, keep working hard!