English National Ballet School has announced that its Winter Showcase will premiere online (via its website, YouTube and Facebook channels) from Monday 21 December at 7.30pm GMT and be available for 30 days after that.
It was filmed at The Roundhouse by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt – directors of BalletBoyz – and will give international audiences the chance to witness young ballet dancers, and possibly some future stars of tomorrow, showcase their incredible talent.
Performance opportunities for the school's students are key to their development. It was the idea of its artistic director, Viviana Durante, to have the school's three year groups work with choreographer Andrew McNicol and contemporary dance teacher Hannah Cameron. She says:
Giving our students the opportunity to work with our wonderful choreographers, Andrew McNicol and Hannah Cameron, and experience performing in a professional setting is vital to ensure they continue to develop as well-rounded artists. Throughout this challenging year our students have shown their strength, dedication and passion and I couldn't be happier to see them perform for audiences around the world.
English National Ballet School continues to adapt to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which is having a substantial impact on how the school operates and the lives of its students. It recently launched an appeal to help ensure its young dancers can continue their training in a safe environment, generate performance opportunities and provide additional financial support for students who need it most.
Of Space and Time, choreographed by Andrew McNicol, is a socially distanced ballet in masks, set to music by Beethoven, Rossini, Weber, Glazunov and Tchaikovsky, and with costumes by Omar Bayoumi.
It was conceived to build on the work the students have learnt during their first term and a response to the restrictions posed by Covid-19: creating in bubbles, rehearsing with masks and maintaining social distancing while working.
I wanted to capture something of the strangeness of this moment in time, contrasted with the resilience of the young dancers… I wanted to honour the fact these students have chosen to study ballet specifically and create a new work that celebrates the pure beauty and power of ballet as a creative language, enabling them to move fearlessly in the space once again.
Hannah Cameron meanwhile has brought together various extracts from the contemporary work that the students have been studying – from Cunningham to improvisation and release – to create Extracts from contemporary classwork. The focus was to bring these different elements together whilst responding to the space of the Roundhouse and is accompanied by drummer and percussionist Ronen Kozokaro.
English National Ballet School Winter Showcase
via its website, YouTube and Facebook channels
from Monday 21 December at 7.30pm GMT
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.