Courageously, the English National Ballet School has worked with its students to produce new works – marvellously put together with some impressive editing by BalletBoyz and Manilla Productions – to create an end of year show, showcase, and celebration. The resulting film is given a bonus lift by Alessandra Ferri wishing the students good luck for their futures and adding some positive words that they can carry with them – indeed, that we can all carry – in this odd time.
Each of the three years of the school (16 to 19-year-old students) has worked with a different choreographer via Zoom. Then each student has recorded their contribution from their homes around the world. The BalletBoyz brought it all together, doing much of the choreography with their editing.
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa has created a meditative piece for the first years students called Memorias del Dorado; Not So Strictly is Didy Veldman’s exuberant piece for the second year; and the final year students, graduating this year, have worked with Andrew McNicol in creating Gradus, which uses the students’ own comments on dance and their thoughts at this time, positioned over a contemporary music background to create powerful individual statements.
The Director of Dance, Viviana Durante, talks to the three choreographers at the end of the video, which gives interesting insights into their approaches for relating with the students and creating their new works.
Didy Veldman very fittingly corrects herself when she mentions the ‘difficulty’ in creating a piece in this way, by choosing the word ‘challenge’ instead. Indeed it is a challenging time for all.
The video is available for a month.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.