Well here we are at the end of another EYB year and what an epic year it has been, where does the time go! Our last two projects of the year were pretty intense as they were right on top of each other with only 3 weeks between the performances with large casts again (nearly 120 in each) and a high standard in both. The production in Wimbledon was quite stressful for us as we had the least amount of time we have ever had and I have to say in our 15 year history I don’t think we have come across such an uncooperative letting agency and school. They charged twice as much as anywhere else in the country for less time and access to facilities, if we return to Wimbledon we will have to find rehearsal space outside the Wimbledon area as the letting agency has a monopoly on the schools in that area while being based in Mansfield! Insanity! Thankfully the cast were a delight to work with and everything got done on schedule. Both the Southsea and Wimbledon shows were of a high standard with over 5000 people attending the shows over the 2 venues. A good ending to our performances for this year.
Of course that was not the end of the year for us, the following week we were in Belfast and Norwich doing auditions for next year. The audition in Belfast attracted over 300 applicants which took the theatre buy surprise, we were not able to use the stage so it was quite a feat squeezing everyone into the studio theatre with all the mums, dads and teachers watching! Also that week Amy and Richard were performing the Nutcracker Grand Pas for “Bethany’s Wish” a children’s cancer charity which they were very proud to take part in. It was a busy week for Amy as she was also guesting in Dublin with Ballet Ireland in their Nutcracker where Emma was dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy and being partnered by ex EYB student Dominic Harrison.
As you know we have running appeals at our performances to raise money for local children’s hospitals/wards and i am pleased to announce that since we started 14 months ago the audiences have donated over £15,000 which has gone to 10 different hospitals all of which also enjoyed free performance workshops given by EYB.
Our principals will be busy as usual during the EYB break, Julianne will be doing her usual tour with the Strauss Gala, Brenden continues to guest with K Ballet in Japan, Amy will be working at the ROH in two productions there, Oli is teaching in France and Adeline is busy learning/rehearsing Aurora for her debut in the role when we visit Belfast. Miss Lewis, myself and our production team will be working on a revamp of our “The Sleeping Beauty” production which will have its premier in Belfast as well. No rest for the wicked!
At the certificate ceremony in Southsea Commendations went to Imogen Bailey (1st swan on), India MacNally, Millie Banton, Alicia Wergan and Niamh Wilkinson (the 4 Tall swans) for lovely quality, the Ladies in Waiting/Czardas , an excellent group particularly Tara Holland, Lydia Mackett (Little Mariinsky) for personality on stage, Charlotte Pitman (Main Mariinsky) for improved confidence and technique and Louise Elliott (Courtier) who understudied the Cygnets and had to perform it.
The Junior Prize went to Hugh O’Sullivan for being very concentrated and good strong performances. The Senior Prize went to Grace Bullard (Lady in Waiting/Hungarian) who gave a splendid performance. The Miss Lewis’ Special Prize went to all 5 Stage Hand boys and Lewis Heath especially who had improved so much.
At the certificate ceremony in Wimbledon Commendations went to the Flowers as a group, Lucy Parfitt (Governess) for dramatic ability, Rebecca Haddon (Arabian) who stepped into Flowers, Lottie Owen and Catherine Weaver (Reed pipes) who went into Flowers as understudies, Holly McPartland (Doll/Sweet) who was very concentrated, Toby Brett for excellent acting and dancing, Eliza Shotton and Jennifer Thayre (the 2 Snow Queen Attendants) for excellent progress with pointe-work, the Russians /Soldiers who were a good group who worked as a team and Siena Weingartz wrote an appropriate excellent Nutcracker poem.
Prizes went to Holly Harding (Snowflake) and Freya Hiscock (Waltz of the Flowers) and
Miss Lewis’ Special Prize went to Jamie Dunbar as Fritz.
I have had messages from Leo Horler who has has gained a provisional place at Hammond, Cora Vanaman who has recently won the AAD Senior National Ballet & Tap Scholarship and the AAD Debut Award (This is the 1st time anyone has won both of these awards), Holly Pearce who has won a scholarship place at Tring Park School and started there in September and will be performing in The English National Ballet’s The Nutcracker at The Coliseum theatre this Christmas, Sophie Ward who had her appraisal for The Royal Ballet and had been given another year her second year as a mid associate and she also won an IDTA scholarship for her grade 6 ballet and will attend this in February 2014 in Manchester, Alexander Bennett has a Classical Ballet contract with Munich Ballet II after having graduated from The Royal Ballet Upper School in July 2013, Jess Bennett has a contract for the 3rd year with cabaret Crazy Horse, dancing in Paris for a year, and now touring the world to Russia, Canada, Hong Kong, and Eastern Europe for 2 years, Scarlet Roche who is now playing the part of ‘Veruca Salt’ in ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ at the Royal Theatre in Drury Lane, London and Daniel Dolan became the 2nd British male to graduate from The Bolshoi Ballet Academy ever earlier this summer and has now taken up his first professional role with The National Ballet of Lithuania. Congratulations to all!
Well thats it for this year, I have included Siena’s wonderful poem for your enjoyment and to get you into the Christmas mood. Good luck to all EYB staff and students past and present who are performing over the holidays (and there are a lot of you!) and may the rest of you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year when we will be- you guessed it- working hard!
The Nutcracker by Siena Weingartz
It's Christmas Eve and everyone's so gay,
Playing and laughing throughout the day,
Drosselmeyer comes, everyone's silent
And give a Nutcracker to Clara.
Everyone leaves ath the end of the day,
Tomorrow's Christmas, so asleep we must stay,
Clara lies down, Nutcracker in arms,
And dreams a dream that dances around.
The Nutcracker, so bold and so strong,
Like a true soldier he stands, ready to fight,
A hero, the Nutcracker, so brave, so dignified,
Ready to protect Clara, who's absolutely terrified.
The battle, the mouse with seven heads,
Is enough to scare anyone out of their wits,
Bit the Nutcracker and his soldiers don't bat an eyelid,
They prepare for battle, the cannon lit.
BANG! A mouse, shocked by the blast,
Staggers to the left and the right, scurring fast.
A twitch of the legs, then nothing, then still,
Then up junps the mouse; 'The cannon doesn't kill!'
The end of the battle, the mice are winning,
Clara takes her left shoe and grimly grinning,
She hits the King Mouse and scares the mice,
The Nutcracker is a prince, what a surprise!
He takes Clara all over the show,
To the Land of Sweets, to the Land of Snow,
He retuens to his Fairy, The Sugar Plum,
Now Clara's back again and sleep has come.
A short letter this time as we are still insanely busy! There is one word to describe the project in Oxford. BIG! It was the biggest cast we have had -120- the biggest venue we have played in and if we had sold just 3 more seats the biggest audience we have had! (the record is still just held by the Theatre Royal in Norwich). The standard was very high from the start so it was hard work to get that extra something from the cast which after another shaky dress rehearsal we did managed to get. Both the shows on Saturday were outstanding with excellent performances from both the principals and young dancers. We also managed to raise over £2600 for The John Radcliffe Children’s Hospital which is also a record for us as well, it is quite humbling to see peoples generosity, the number of £20 notes thrown into the buckets is almost unbelievable!
We are well into our Southsea project now, parents showing at the end of this week and performances the next. Then straight into a very intense schedule for the Wimbledon project. I have to say I’m looking forward to a break in December!
At the certificate ceremony in Oxford commendations went to the Swans as a Group, the Courtiers for their dramatic reactions. Sophie McGowan (Spanish/Courtier) for excellent performance quality, Elise Voyce (1st swan on) for very consistent good technique and reliability, Grace Currie (Tall Swan) for lovely quality, Zofia Strahnz (Courtier) always consistent and focused, the 3 Princesses - Emma Smith, Katie Dunsden and Leah Maxwell - for good work and excellent performances, the Boys who improved and Charlie Waddell for good stage presence. Well done to Beatrice Millar who was the Spanish understudy and had to do all the performances for Mollie Bird. We do hope Mollie gets better soon.
The Junior Prize went to Sophie Harlow (Little Mariinsky), the Senior Prize went to Esme Calcutt (Main Mariinsky) and Miss Lewis’ special Prize went to Scarlet Roche (Cygnet).
I have had messages from Charlie Day who has just started his 2nd year at Italia Conti . He has taken ISTD Intermediate exams in both Tap and Modern, for the first time ever and has achieved Distinctions in both as well as gaining a Distinction in his Adv 1 Ballet exam, along with a Merit in his LAMDA Performance in Acting Grade 6 Bronze medal and from Aidan Lesingham who has successfully auditioned for the British Ballet Organization (BBO) Male Junior Ballet Scholarship Scheme
Congratulations to all!
Well that’s it from me until the end of the year round up, keep working hard.
Well it’s an insanely busy summer for EYB! Barely have time to put this together. We have completed the shows in Cardiff and Canterbury, are half way through rehearsals in Oxford and starting in Southsea this weekend!
The first half of rehearsals in Cardiff for Giselle were very frustrating for us as we had a record level of absenteeism (one day I had to re-arrange rehearsals because half the dancers in my groups had not arrived yet!) and we were seriously concerned we would get it finished in time. As a result we had a very shaky dress rehearsal but fortunately things pulled together for the performances which built on strength over the weekend and we were rewarded with some very dramatic performances.
In the Swan Lake project in Canterbury the average age of the cast was a lot lower than normal which led to some unusual casting which included me casting the youngest and smallest boy-James Warren- to be the “gaffer” in the stagehands dance. He completely charmed the audience (pirouettes with 2 brooms longer than he was tall, excellent mime) and stole the show! The “crash course” in the middle of the summer holidays is always very intense for both students and teachers alike but it is always amazing what we achieve in such a concentrated period of time. The main frustration we had was with the venue which we felt the staff did not take us seriously enough (although the manager had every confidence in us as we have always done well there). The fit up was very frustrating and there was nothing front of house to say we were performing there apart from leaflets in the racks. Very disappointing considering the complete rebuild they have done since we were there last. Never the less we had some very good performances and a lovely review in the Kent What’s on Guide.
Those of you who follow us on Facebook will know we are continuing our policy of doing workshop performances in hospitals and doing collections after the shows to raise money for equipment for their children’s wards. It is gratifying to see how generous people are and it will be interesting to see how much we have managed to raise by the end of the year!
In Cardiff commendations went to the Aristocratic Children as a group, all Boys especially Paddy Randall as Wilfred who showed drama and sensitivity, Rachel Bent (Friend) who danced the Trio with the 2 Boys, Anabelle Rees (Solo Wili) who stepped into Friends when one was ill, Maya Williams, Seren Cummings, Jessica Davies and Cerys Salter who were excellent Wilis, very concentrated and Francesca Rees who was a very good Villager. Prizes went to Anabelle Rees (Lead Wili) and Malkia Beadle (The Housekeeper) who was a good dancer and outstandingly dramatically. Miss Lewis’ Special Prize went to Leo Horler.
In Canterbury commendations went to Ella Warren (Cygnet) fully focussed all the time, Emily Langridge (Courtier), Esme Bacalla-Hayes understudying waiting in wings in full costume as a swan was doubled up with stomach pains whenever she came off, Yuka Otsuki (Tall swan), 3 Princesses, Dixie Webb-Heller, Pippa Knuckey and Phoebe Abbott, Mia Biggs and Maisie Crawford (Ladies In Waiting) all the Boys especially Michael Maple, and all the swans improved pointe work. Prizes went to Ebony Brum (Courtier) and Laura Cook the first swan on and danced Mariinsky pas de six at the Hospital workshop. Miss Lewis’ Special prize went to James Warren (Stage hand and Neapolitan) Brilliantly clear mime at 8 years old!
I have had messages from Eve Crawford who will be playing Wendy in Peter Pan at the Lyceum theatre in Crewe from 14th December to 5th January and also tells me that Josh Wyatt who did Sleeping beauty in Shrewsbury 2009 with her has just opened in Matilda in the west end, Amy Jones who has been awarded a scholarship for the Louise Brown - Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre in York, Sinead Kenny who after graduating from Arts Ed in London went into the tour of “9 to 5” and is now in rehearsal for the UK tour of “West Side Story” playing Consuelo and Dixie Webb-Heller who has been performing with the National Youth Dance Company in a piece by this years artistic director Jasmin Vardimon (I caught their last performance at the Lillian Ballis theatre in Sadlers Wells). Congratulations to all!
Well that's all for now, keep your news coming in and as always , keep working hard!
Well it’s been a hectic couple of months! What with the York project, Ballet Virtuoso performances, auditions, castings and a visit to Belfast! We even managed to fit in a well deserved week off! The shows in York went well. The Mayor of York was there for the 1st night and said she was so impressed how well such a diverse age group worked together and how supportive they were to each other. We started with another shaky dress but the performances went from strength to strength. Once again understudies had to step in as poor Megan Stelfox had appendicitis and was unable to perform! We had a nice treat at the school we used for rehearsals, not only did they have a theatre they had their own dance floor! Luxury!
In-between the rehearsals and performances in York we also had a “Virtuoso” performance in St. Ives which was all very dramatic. When we did the booking we thought it would nice to invite Lori and Emma back to guest and perform a couple of pas de deux that Trevor and I had created on them for various one off events which would be nice for them to perform again and they could rehearse on their own around their busy schedules. All well and good, then Emma was selected to dance with ENB in their In the round production of Swan Lake (which she has done many times before but with a change of management it was not a given that she would be asked again - like re-auditioning for EYB) but it was still deemed doable as she was not due on stage until the middle section of the show. Then it transpired that they would be doing a run through on the day off the show and Emma would not be able to leave London until 6.30pm. Ok, still doable as we worked out she would not be on stage until 8.25....then of course getting out of London at that time of day on a Friday, never fun. So with constant updates from Emma we started the show with a plan B ready....as she had not arrived by the first interval we rearranged the order of the program to give her more time and told the audience that our guest Ballerina was still on the M11 but we still hoped to present all the pieces in the program. Fortunately the packed house took this with good humor. The second half commenced, everyone very nervy and tense, Emma making up and putting her costume on in the car, plan C being drawn up....then...phew, she arrived just in time for plan B. A quick hello hug to all, pointed to the stage and on she went, a hero’s reception from the audience at the end of the pas de deux. Somehow the Gods of theatre always make the show go on, but they do like to play with us sometimes! We did another Virtuoso show in Worthing last week. A lot less stressful! It was nice to see it supported by so many EYB members. We were also due due to go to the Brewhouse theatre in Taunton but as the council have scrapped the whole of their arts budget the theatre has been closed. A huge loss to the community I feel.
The other piece of news is that EYB will be venturing into Northern Ireland next year and with that in mind Miss Lewis, Ben, Amy and Brenden flew out there this week to give a presentation to the Ballet teachers over there at the theatre to introduce them to the work we do. This coincided with our last audition of the year in Wimbledon so Julianne and I were left in charge of that. I have to say I think it was the strongest audition we have had this year and me being the big softy I am (no laughing at the back!) I may have taken a few more than I should have....
The venues for next year have now been finalized and will be appearing on the website soon. I nice mixture of old and new venues.
At the certificate ceremony in York commendations went to Tia Roberts and Poppy-Rose Scott (leading Villagers)for finally getting on pointe and smiling, Debbie Phillips (Friend ) for dramatic ability in the part and good understudying, Brent Ward and all the boys for improvement, Ellie Bentley (Villager) for performance quality, Chloe Shipp (Coppelia Doll ) much stronger on pointe and good pirouettes, all Morning Hours pointe work had improved, Betrothal Girls were charming and husbands were long suffering, Work hours for smiling and always together and the Understudies for Megan Stelfox (who had appendicitis) Niamh Alvey (Night Hour) and Isabelle Hazeldine (Spanish) who did well.
The Junior Prize went to Joe Dearden a good worker and very consistent good performance. The Senior Prize went to Lucy McMahon (Czardas and Morning Hour) for good style and performance quality.
I have had messages from Caitlin O”Farrell who is going to Bird College in September on the BA (Hons) course in Professional Dance & Musical Theatre, Fraser Buchanan who will going to the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in September. Olivia Devyea who received a DaDa to train at The Northern Ballet School in September and also has been chosen to dance in ENB’s Petrushka at the London Coliseum in July with the company, Alice Higginbottom has gained a place as a Royal Ballet Junior Associate and Tom Broderick and Cordelia Braithwaite who will both be touring with Matthew Bourn’s Swan Lake. Congratulations to all!
Well thats it from me now, keep your news coming in and, as always, keep working hard!
Well here we are again at the beginning of EYB’s 15th Year! Where does the time go!
Weston Super Mare was a nice way to start the year, the school was a lovely venue to
rehearse in and I have to say the cast was one of the best behaved we have ever had!
The theatre was quite small (we also had a small cast for us, just 82) and technically
difficult (but with lots of space backstage). We had a stressful tech day due to the time
restrictions placed on us meant we lost an hour and a half on what we would normally
have but we got the job done. In fact the Mayor of Weston (who came to the 1st night to
support our hospital appeal) said it was the most professional production he had seen at
the venue, so well done all!
It was a hectic start to the year as well as we had to start our production of Swan Lake in
Preston the weekend before we started in Weston because of the performance dates and
where Easter falls this year, so as of writing we now are halfway through our next project!
Our new principals Adeline Kaiser and Richard Read are fitting in well and it
has been fun working with them in rehearsal in London. Weston also saw the return of Juliana Bastos as our guest principal dancing Aurora with Oli.
There are also going to be some performances of our “Virtuoso” program. At the moment
we will playing In Worthing on the 13 April and St. Ives on 31 May, so if you are in the area
do come along and support us. We are hoping that Emma and Lorien will be joining
us again for those shows. We were due to go to the Brewhouse in Taunton but because
of funding cuts the theatre has been closed! Hopefully someone will step in and save the
venue or public opinion will reverse the situation so watch this space.
At the certificate ceremony commendations went to The Cryonites group, one of the best
we have had, Katie Dunsden (Cinderella) for performance quality and outstanding
understudying, Constance Holmes (Guest) for performance quality, Amelia Spink (Cryonite) for good technique, Sophie Chinner (Friend) for good attack, all the boys
(with an extra mention for Leo Horler whose head movements in the Hop dance will
go down in EYB history), Tabitha Morgan (Charm/Kitten) for dramatic ability and Nicholas Ioannou (Duke), Asha Martineau-Brown (Duchess), Ella Pratten (Nurse) and Paddy Randall (Photographer) for excellent performances.
Prizes went to Dominique Skinner (Lilac/Russian) and Holly Pearce (Cryonite).
The Miss Lewis special prize went to Tara Morris (Lady Songbird/White Cat)
I have had messages from Ellie Waite who continues to do well on the world tour of “Phantom of the Opera” and has been promoted to taking over the role of Meg on the next
leg of the tour in Bangkok, Dixie Webb-Heller who has gained a place at the Rambert
School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Harry Powell who has gained a place
at the Northern Ballet School, Lowri Shone who after 5 years at Tring Park has just
completed her first term at English National Ballet School and Fraser Buchanan who
has been offered a place at Trinity Laban on their BA Hons Contemporary Dance Course,
starting in September this year. Congratulations to all!
Thats all from me for now, keep your news coming in and as always, keep working hard!
Well Preston was one of those projects that can be called “Hard Work”! Because of where Easter fell this year we were limited to weekends only for the rehearsals which meant a lot of extra traveling for us and we all know how awful the weather was! Also we had to start the project before Weston super Mare so the cast had a month break between the first two sets of rehearsals! We were also plagued by illness and injuries which meant we did not have a full cast at any time during the rehearsals at the school (and the bad weather did not help either). The Charter Theatre/Guild Hall in Preston has had a lot of cuts and is now very understaffed and it’s future is very uncertain so it was a very frustrating and depressing fit up day. Miss Lewis and I have been putting on productions (and in my case performing) there since 1985 so it was very saddening for us to see how things have declined there. So it was quite a shaky dress dress rehearsal (the first time the whole cast was together) with some frantic extra rehearsals after and some trepidation going into the first night. Then the magic of theatre took over, the first night was a revelation! Everyone pulled it together from somewhere and the transformation was quite overwhelming. Miss Lewis turned to me and said “It looks like a completely different company!” the show was quite outstanding and once again EYB did what it does best, perform.
We did manage a short breather when we got back and are now busily rehearsing Richard and Adeline into Coppelia and all our principals for our “Virtuoso” performances, the first of which will be in ST. Ives Cambs at the Burgess Hall on the 31 May. We are pleased to announce that Lorien and Emma will be back with us for these shows performing 2 pas de deux that were created on them one of which is my “The Angel and the Fallen” which they performed at Salisbury Cathedral back in 2010. So if you are in the area do come along and support us.
2014 has been pretty much sorted out with some exciting new venues and returns to our regular places as well. Keep an eye on the website or facebook for details, they usually go up around July so we don’t get inundated with requests too soon!
At the certificate ceremony in Preston commendations went to Sophie Burrows (Lady in Waiting) for consistent good work, Nicole Coombes (Mariinsky Dance) for her ever present smile, Natasha Agarwal, Larissa King and Hannah Rate (3 Princesses) for outstanding performance quality, all the Boys for their improvement, all the Swans for their group work especially Elly May Hardingham who led them, the four Spanish girls Emily Hutchings, Jessica Qualter, Molly Stephenson and Niamh Tooher for excellent style and the Tsar’s Nieces for being utterly charming and musical.
Prizes went to Jaymie Burns (Courtier) and Natasha Agarwal (Princess/Tsar’s Sister) and the Miss Lewis Special prize went to Joseph Boyle (Stage Hand/ Hungarian Dance) all for outstanding performance quality.
I have had messages from Imogen Mansfield has received three DaDA funded places at Hammond, Northern Ballet School and Tring Park School for September and is choosing to go to Tring Park and study Classical Ballet over three years, Fraser Buchanan who has been offered a place at Trinity Laban, on their BA Hons Contemporary Dance Course starting in September this year, Shannen Redmond who took part in a recreation of the Roy Castle big tap dance at BBC TVC for The One Show and will be dancing at a special event in Buckingham Palace in July, Chloe Evans who has got a place as a Royal Ballet Senior Associate , Florence Pope who will be going to Central School of Ballet full time from September and Daniel Dolan who will become the second British male to graduate from Moscow’s world famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy in 240 years (there is a link on our fb page to the full press release). Exciting stuff! I do hear via social media sites of the exploits of previous EYB students but as not to infringe on anyones privacy I only include news from people who contact me directly.
Well that's all from me for now, keep your news coming in and as always, keep working hard.