NEWSLETTERS 2014

October 2014
August 2014
July 2014
May 2014
March 2014

October 2014

Hi Again

Short letter this time as we are insanely busy at the moment. Our big news was Wolverhampton saw the introduction of our new Principals Adele Robbins who had her premier as Aurora and Monica Tapiador who danced Aunt Lilac and the Blue Bird pas de deux. Both ladies had a very short time to learn the production but produced lovely performances. I think you will all enjoy working with them as much as we are. They are now having a crash course on Coppelia, Swan Lake and our Virtuoso program and are looking a little dazed, as I have said before, there is no shallow end in EYB!

The shows in Wolverhampton went very well with a very strong cast as usual and as usual they were very noisy ! No change there then! We also had problems with Vogons. A certain council was it’s usual unpleasant and aggressive self threatening parents to exclude their children, threatening the theatre to pull the show and making other councils reverse their decisions over licences behind our backs. Upsetting to all. We are now going to go to Government level to try and sort out the insanity that is the different opinions over licensing that we have to deal with with councils all over the country.

In other news Brenden has had to take a short leave of absence for family reasons so we are welcoming Matthew Powell back into our ranks for Coppelia in Crawley as he has now finished his stint in “Phantom of the Opera” in the west end. It’s fun having him back!

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Chloe Howarth and Grace Owen (Lead Guests), Alicia Barnes (Guest) who was very good dramatically and dancing at every rehearsal, Grace Franks (Lilac/Russian)- for good technique, Heather McColl (Friend) for lovely performance quality, Oscar Jefferson (Charm/Cat) for enthusiasm, Malakai Florey-Meah (Charm/Cat) for his understudying and confidence, Amy Hart (Duchess) who was good dramatically, Eve Barnett for her lovely interpretation in Cinderella, the Friends as a group had improved, all the Boys had improved and were very focused and Charm Group very good and concentrated in rehearsals.

The Junior Prize went to James Garrington (Lord Songbird and Black Cat), the Senior Prize went to Amaris Gillies (Relative/Solo Jewel) for Improved technique and musicality and Miss Lewis’ Special Prize went to Ethan Gresham (Monster/ Hop) for attack and performance quality.

I have had a message from Katelyn Severn To say she has joined the New Adventures tour of “Edward Scissorhands” which includes a 5 week run at London’s Sadlers Wells. Congratulations.

Well thats all for now, we are in the final rehearsal stage for the shows in Crawley and have started the rehearsals in Woking for Swan Lake so busy busy busy! Keep working hard…

Dominic


August 2014

Hello Again

Well we are over half way through our mid summer madness! Just time for a quick compere and contrast between our Nottingham and Bromley projects. The similarities. Both casts were technically very strong, both casts acted very well (which was commented on by both audience and reviewers), both sets of performances were very strong (in Bromley’s case it was very much pulling themselves together in front of an audience but they did get a standing ovation on the saturday night), both projects suffered from absenteeism (in Bromley’s defence there was a nasty 24 hour bug going around) and both performances saw the return of Emma Lister as our guest Ballerina performing the Sugar Plum Fairy and Giselle. Lovely to see her perform with us again and Nottingham marked the 10th anniversary of her association with EYB! The difference was the audience attendance. In Nottingham we managed to (just) out sell our Swan Lake visit 2 years ago! The manager could not believe we did a Christmas Ballet in the middle of a heatwave and still pretty much sell out! The sales in Bromley were way down on our 2 previous visits which seems to be down to a lack of management at the venue, lack of publicity from both the venue and the local press and ATG’s notorious ticket processing charges! Very frustrating!
Next week sees the start of our Wolverhampton project and we hope to be introducing our 2 new female principals to you (visas permitting…).

At the certificate ceremony in Nottingham commendations went to Joshua Pegg for Fritz, Lucy McMahon for Maid and Madam Bon bon- delightful performance quality and personality, Mia Hardy (Snowflake), Georgia Rand (Reed pipe and good understudy for Flowers), Mollie McGugan (Flower) for excellent work, the Lead Sugar Plum Attendants much improved, the Russians great improvement as a group, the Boys worked very hard and improved their technique and the Flowers’ pointe-work much stronger.
The Junior Prize went to Olivia Johnstone (Reed Pipe) who understudied the Snowflakes and did 8 different places, the Senior Prize went to Anna Heery (leading Sugar Plum Attendant) and Miss Lewis’ Special Prize went to Ben Jones for acting and performing throughout the performances. An outstanding Mouse King.

At the certificate ceremony in Bromley commendations went to Pippa Knuckey for dancing Lucienne, Isabella Kibble for Dancing Friends and Wilis as Lizzie Fox appeared at rehearsals on crutches, Ella Warren (Cook), Mia Stewart (Housekeeper) and James Warren (Butler)- all well acted and roles characterised, Saffron Shaw and Phoebe Abbott (Leading Wilis)- strong in their solos and sustained well the role, Natasha Thompson (Nymph) for excellent work Grace Filer (Villager) for consistent work and Natasha Chu (Friend) for going on as understudy Wili during the show. The Junior prize went to Francesca Daden (Aristocratic Child) and the Senior Prize went to Lucy Connolly (Wili) for improved work and professional approach. Miss Lewis’ Prize went to Jordan Brown - excellently Acted as Wilfred, quick to take the details of the part and strong performance.

I have had messages from Harry Gibbons is take up a place at Northern Ballet School to commence a 3 year Diploma in Professional Dance course, Molly Ross has been accepted into Elmhurst Junior Associates starting in September, Alicia Ferreira da Cunha who took part in the has been offered a place on the Hammond School associate programme and starts this September and Shannen Redmond who danced in the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and will be going into her second year at Ballet West from sept. Congratulations to all!

Well thats all I have time for now, hope you are all enjoying the summer holidays and that all went well for those of you who took your GCSEs. Keep your news coming in and keep working hard.

Dominic


July 2014

Hello Again

Well the word for Stockport was “Stressful!”. It was one of those projects where the gods of misfortune were definitely conspiring against us! We have never had so many bad journeys in a row (Shrewsbury might be in competition there), one journey took us 6 1/2 hours! Fortunately Trevor had gone up by train and had to hold the fort and take a warm up class for all 96 dancers at the same time, the rest of us arrived just in time for the rehearsals. There was a competition running on our last day of the rehearsals so we had 6 dancers missing for the parents run through so there were a lot of understudies in and extra rehearsals to make sure everyone knew what they were doing. Even after all that one dancer left in the middle of the run without telling any of us they were going or why so we ended up with a gap in the Morning Hours dance, very frustrating. On to the Theatre. Two weeks before we were due to open the ticket sales were a disaster with only 30% of the sales we would normally expect by that time and less than half of what we need to break even. None of the publicity organised with the theatre had happened yet so everything had to go into overdrive. With the help of parents and students we managed to more than double the sales in two weeks and get over the break even line, just about, so many thanks to all those that helped! The Plaza Stockport is one of the stranger venues we have performed at. It has a rather magnificent Art Deco facade and front of house with a fully working Compton Theatre Organ but a rather basic back stage. The stage is very wide but not very deep so we had a very “Cinemascope” staging for Coppelia with two sets of big circles for the finale (which worked quite well). Well done to all for coping with the rather cramped backstage facilities! Then we had a disaster, Adeline who was to complete her last full project with EYB (she had just been offered a full time contract with Northern Ballet) injured herself quite badly demonstrating a step in rehearsals and was unable to perform! Julianne stepped into the role of Swanilda for the matinee (a role she has not danced for 6 years) so she managed to be retired for all of 5 minutes! We all wish Adeline a speedy recovery and success in her new job. Her replacement Adele Robbins from the Boston Ballet USA will be joining us in Wolverhampton for Sleeping Beauty.
Having said all that the shows went remarkably well!

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Aimileigh O’Hagan (Villager-Idea Girl), Zoe Lincoln and Ava Muccio (Leading Villagers), Main Friends and 2 Dawn Girls Lily May and Corina Clark, Little Friends for improvement of pointe-work and arm positions, Annabel Miller Green (Prayer) for performance quality, Joe Dearden for shear guts and improvement in performance, the Boys Combat Dance which was very strong, Scottish Dolls for being very neat and together, Henry Farmer for his acting ability and Daisy Allen and Bethan Graney for being excellent understudies

The Junior Prize went to Sophie Scott (Villager), the Senior Prize to Jasmine Whitehall (Lead Czardas/Morning Hour) and Miss Lewis’ Special Prize went to Matthew Morrell.

I have had messages from Elise Watt has been accepted into The Royal Ballet School as a junior associate and also Elmhurst school of Dance as a junior associate and Lily May and Lauren Allen who have both been accepted into Ballet West to start in September.

Congratulations to all. Keep working hard and now into our summer madness …

Dominic


May 2014

Hi Again

Well I think the word that describes our Belfast project is “Epic!”. It was very hard work with all the traveling (Avoiding EasyJet from now on), the extra overnights during the run, early starts and late homes to save money on flights, the long distances between rehearsal rooms (the school was very helpful), the fact the Theatre Manager who booked us had left and there was no replacement, we were an unknown entity in NI (strange for us not having anyone who had worked with us before) and to cap it all in our wisdom we decided to upgrade our production of “The Sleeping Beauty” so there were new costumes and set to contend with! Apart from all that it was a breeze!
I have to say the students were a delight to work with, I totally fell in love with my Cryonite group and although a handful the (Glam Glitter)Guest group were fun to work with. The feed back has been overwhelming, parents and students were asking when we were coming back before the rehearsals were even over! That decision would be affected by the ticket sales (with all the flights and extra overnights our break-even mark was a lot higher) and what new management felt. I am happy to say we are on track to returning in 2016 and there maybe some interesting developments to announce before then. Watch this space.
One advantage of the long rehearsal block (to save on flights) was we managed to have an official day off (EY Ballydayoff) so Amy, Richard, Ben and myself did the tourist thing and did the coastal trip up to the Giants Causeway stopping at various points of interest including the Bushmills distillery (I don’t know if you can get it here but do treat yourself to a Bushmills Honey - Mums and Dads only please) so a jolly day was had by all.
Belfast also saw Adeline’s debut as Aroura (which went very well) and Julianne’s last official performance with EYB doing Aunt Lilac and the Bluebird pas de deux. As we did not have to travel until the next day we had the luxury of being able to celebrate after the last show. The crew and I even managed to get a post get out Guiness in as well! I’m surprised anyone remembers anything about Belfast at all…

Once back on the mainland we were into rehearsals for our “Virtuoso” program in Hunstanton. This program saw the return of Emma who with Brenden performed the famous “Spring Waters” pas de deux which is rarely seen in this country. Very Spectacular. Amy and Richard also made their debut in the White Swan pas de deux and I revamped my version of “Firebird” (there is a rehearsal video on my YouTube channel). Many thanks to EYB members who came to support the show (rather select audience, but we have been asked back). We have now taken a deep breath and are now moving on to Coppelia in Stockport. No rest for the wicked.

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Zoe Kyte (Lady Energy/Cinderella) for attack and performance confidence, Rebecca Hyme (Nurse/Governess) for acting and good pirouettes, Faye Hill (Little Jewel/Monster) for good performance quality, Chloe McKee (Russian/Lilac) for lovely character style, the 4 solo jewel girls were excellent with improved technique and performance quality. The energy and spirit of the Northern Ireland dancers was commented upon, they have a sense of pride in their dancing and a good poise and carriage of the body. Praise went to the 4 boys and Noah Cochrane who had only been dancing a few months and the Pointe work of the guests had much improved.

A group prize went to the Lilac/Russian group (the best we have had so far), the Senior Prize went to Kristopher Leckey (Photographer/Boys Dance Hop O my Thumb), the Junior Prize went to Gemma Upritchard (Cryonite/Honesty) and Miss Lewis’ Prize went to Arianna Goh (Songbird/Cinderella attendant) who was very concentrated, musical and always knew what the steps were and in the right place at the right time.

I have had messages from Charlie Day who performed a ‘contemporary’ piece in the “Theatre Showcase” for Italia Conti at this years “Move It” is working towards the annual summer show in July, achieved high merit in his ISTD Adv 1 Tap exam and passed his ISTD DDI Ballet teaching exam, Esme Bacalla-Hayes who has accepted a place at Arts Ed where she’ll be studying BTEC Dance, A-Level English Lit. and A-level Drama at the 6th form over two years, she will also continue her drum lessons, Eric Cave who has decided to go to Central School of Ballet and was also offered places at Rambert and Northen ballet school and finally Dan Looney who among other activities is currently a composer at Universal Records alongside the acting and will be presenting on the 13th July his first musical as a concert in London. Check out his Facebook page for details. Congratulations to all.

Well thats all for now, keep your news coming in and as always, keep working hard!

Dominic


March 2014

Hi Again

Well we are well and truly launched into 2014 (our 16th Year) and what an amazing start to the year! Those of you who read this letter regularly will know that I constantly sing the praises of the Theatre Royal Norwich and they certainly didn’t let us down this this visit. We had a new record attendance for the shows, including the school’s open rehearsal just under 4000 saw our Swan Lake in Norwich beating their previous record by 500 seats! The standard of the students was higher this year and they were a pleasure to work with, the “shouty man” did not make an appearance this year! The Saturday night show was very emotional as it was Julianne’s final White Swan so there was lots of flowers and tears and that was just the professionals! Julianne has decided it is time to wind down her long and exceptional performing career . She will be performing Aunt Lilac and the “Blue Bird pas de deux” in our “Sleeping Beauty” in Belfast and in our “Virtuoso” performances this year (more details nearer the time). She will of course continue to work with us teaching the students and coaching the professionals  and I’m sure we won’t be able to keep her off the stage completely!
The rest of the year continues apace, our new scenery and costumes for “Sleeping Beauty” are nearly ready, we start our rehearsals in Belfast this weekend and we had very successful auditions in Bromley, Stockport and Nottingham. We are also pleased to announce that Emma will be guesting with us for our “Nutcracker” and “Giselle”. She is currently performing the “Sugar Plum Fairy” for the Chelmsford Ballet Company’s production of “Nutcracker”. At the certificate ceremony commendations went to The Swans as a group especially Abby Thompson and Abigail Bates, Lawrence Penman an improved nephew, Meredith Winship (Little Mariinsky) for good pirouettes and concentration, Alice Coulson and Summer Rose (Courtiers) who were very reliable line leaders. Kezia Coulson, Lita Garcia and Livvi Boyd (THE 3 Princesses) for strong technique and improved performance.
The Junior Prize went to Katie Edwards (Cygnet), the Senior Prize to Shannon Spurdens (Mariinsky) and Miss Lewis’ Prize went to Jack White (Stage hand/Hungarian). I have had messages from Errin Whalley who has been dancing Swan Lake with Ballet West in January as part of their Aspiring Professional programme, Jamie Dunbar who successfully auditioned for the London Children’s Ballet who will be performing Nanny MacPhee in April (25-28) in the Peacock Theatre and he has been provisionally casted as Eric, Georgia Curtis who is through to the finals of miss Dance of Great Britain in June, she was also awarded the Pattison Thomas award for the highest exam mark in the West Midlands for her IDTA theatre craft exams during the whole of 2013. Following this she competed against other nominated students from across the country in the annual IDTA scholarship awards in Manchester and went on to win the top senior prize and the scholarship and finally Alicia Sandercock and Mukeni Nel  who have both been offered full scholarships in to Tring Park school. Congratulations to all! Well thats all for now, keep your news coming in and keep working hard!

Dominic