Central School of Ballet Launches New Professional Choreographer Training

Central School of Ballet Launches New Professional Choreographer Training

Central School of Ballet has launched a new initiative that aims to provide innovative skills to professional choreographers through immersive training days and access to a network of like-minded experts to support career progression.

Central established an MA course in choreography in 2011. The degree complements its core BA (Hons) Professional Dance and Performance degree, both courses validated by the University of Kent. This new professional development course was developed as result of increasing need from choreographers who are already established in their career but who welcome the chance to refresh skills and meet with other dance industry creatives. Central's aim is for the choreographic training day to run twice a year, depending on funding.

Five choreographers participated in the first training day earlier this month and all were offered part bursaries to attend the one day course, funded through Central's receipt of Higher Education Innovation Funding. All participants had an established performance career before choosing to specialise in choreography.

participants were given a research task in advance of the training day focusing on the essence of the narrative and encounters between characters. Central provided second year students from its degree course to work with the choreographers in the creative process, the aim being to develop a piece of dance together with insights and feedback on both sides.

The day was facilitated by Kate Flatt, a skilled freelance choreographer with extensive experience in staging dance and working internationally through dance theatre works, film, opera and musicals. An opportunity to engage, receive feedback and to have time for discussion is key to Kate's approach while encouraging the choreographers to push the boundaries of possibilities in dance-making.

One of the participants, Sophie Laplane, who is Artist-in-Residence with Scottish Ballet and previously First Artist with the company, commented on the benefits and her experience of Central's new one day choreographic course: "The preparation task we were set in the previous week provided the stimulus for many new ideas and a fresh approach to using narrative. Being able to explore the ideas further with the dancers during the day and to share my work with Kate and the other choreographers was an enriching and enlightening experience."

Louise Ainley, Central's Director of Higher Education Programmes and the driving force behind the new initiative said: "Often choreographers lack the resources, space and time to experiment with ideas and reflect on their work. Under pressure to meet deadlines and respond to a commission, these experts frequently relinquish much-needed time for ideas to be fully explored and modified as a result of feedback. The aim of this professional development day is to meet that gap, and also provide valuable networking opportunities essential to career development."

Central's MA has ballet as its core specialism and provides a bespoke approach to developing expertise. It aims to celebrate the importance of communication in dance and each choreographer is encouraged to explore and refine their individual choreographic voice.

As Central anticipates its move to new purpose-built premises in Paris Gardens in the South Bank arts community the new choreographic training day will provide a catalyst to similar initiatives in improved facilities in the future. Louise commented: "It is our aim that Central becomes a hub for professional choreographers, a place where they can generate work and refresh their ideas".

Heidi Hall, Director of Central School of Ballet said: "Creative endeavour needs the appropriate resourcing to flourish. Central is set to play a vital role in investing in the creatives of the future, and this will undoubtedly have an impact on the development of dance as an art form."

Founded 35 years ago by Ann Stannard and the late Christopher Gable CBE, Central School of Ballet is one of Europe's leading centres for dance training. The school is an affiliate of the Conservatoire for Dance & Drama. Students train for three years aiming for a BA (Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance validated by the University of Kent.

Central offers a ballet-focused MA course in Choreography. Typically running over four terms, the course gives dance professionals the opportunity to investigate the processes involved in choreography through critical and analytical-based research collaborating with dancers, composers and other theatre specialists.

Central's ethos is the belief that talented, dedicated young people should have access to the highest quality of training, whatever their economic, social or cultural background.

Central School of Ballet has particularly high rates of employment for graduating students; 80% are employed in professional contracts or apprenticeships in dance within six months of graduating.

Central is in the process of fundraising for a move to a new purpose-built home in Paris Gardens in Southwark in the South Bank community in London's SE1. £6m is needed to complete the fit-out of building and the move is planned for the academic year 2018/2019

In 1984 Ballet Central was formed as a touring company to give final year students first-hand experience of professional dance. Touring experience provides Central's students with valuable skills particularly maturity and professionalism. Central School of Ballet is the only classical vocational school to offer pre-professional touring experience on such a scale.

Visit www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk for more information.


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