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Yorkshire Ballet Seminars Announce TO THE BARRE, a Live Q&A With Legends of the Ballet World

Guests include Marguerite Porter MBE, Laura Connor, Wayne Sleep OBE, Sir David Bintley and Brandon Lawrence.

Yorkshire Ballet Seminars Announce TO THE BARRE, a Live Q&A With Legends of the Ballet World

Yorkshire Ballet Seminars today announce To The Barre - an intimate evening of conversation with Marguerite Porter MBE, Laura Connor, Wayne Sleep OBE, Sir David Bintley and Brandon Lawrence, chaired by Artistic Director Iain Mackay. This group of ballet stars discuss their careers, inspirations and share tales of their time at Yorkshire Ballet Seminars exclusively on Saturday 24 July at 7:00pm (BST). Tickets are available to buy via:

All proceeds raised will go towards the charitable work that the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars delivers through its residential courses and training events. Yorkshire Ballet Seminars takes great pride in being able to provide scholarships to the most talented students, and bursaries for those who are unable to pay the fees. They receive no government funding, and the ability to offer scholarships and bursaries is entirely due to the generosity of loyal supporters. Over the years, they have awarded scholarships to many of the most recognisable names in the dance world including Kevin O'Hare CBE, Director of The Royal Ballet; Sir David Bintley; Xander Parish, Principal dancer at Mariinsky Ballet; Matthew Ball, Principal at the Royal Ballet; Brandon Lawrence, Principal at the Birmingham Royal ballet, and many more leading dancers within all the major ballet companies.

Huddersfield-born Sir David Bintley comments, "I attended some of the first Yorkshire Ballet Seminars back in the 1970s. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first scholarship recipients, and I am delighted that Iain has asked me to go back and work with the students this year as a teacher. It was a huge inspiration for me to attend the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars. It added so much to my training and knowledge of what it would be like to become a professional ballet dancer. When I look back at all those who taught me, I feel lucky to have had that experience while growing up in Yorkshire. I am so glad that Yorkshire Ballet Seminars continues to thrive and inspire new generations of dancers, many of whom I have enjoyed working with at Birmingham Royal Ballet."

Iain Mackay is the Artistic Director of Yorkshire Ballet Seminars. Before taking on the role, Mackay attended the Summer School in 1991, before training at Dance School of Scotland and The Royal Ballet Upper School. In 1999, he joined Birmingham Royal Ballet where he was a Principal for 14 years under the direction of Sir David Bintley. He has performed all the principal roles in the classical repertoire and collaborations with world class choreographers lead to the creation of many new roles. He is also an ambassador for the Royal Academy of Dance.

Sir David Bintley CBE, West Yorkshire born, lead Birmingham Royal Ballet for 24 years. Before taking up the post in 1995, he trained as a dancer at The Royal Ballet Upper School, graduating into Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet (now Birmingham Royal Ballet). He was Resident Choreographer of Sadler's Wells Royal Ballet 1986-93 and created the full-length works Aladdin and The Prince of Pagodas as Artistic Director of the National ballet of Japan. His works range from one-act pieces such as Flowers of the Forest (1985), Tombeaux (1993), 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café (1988), varied jazz-based pieces including The Shakespeare Suite and The Orpheus Suite, and contemporary pieces including E=mc2 (2009). His full-length works include Hobson's Choice (1989), Edward II (1995), Cyrano (2007), Beauty and the Beast (2003), Cinderella (2010) and The Tempest (2016).

Laura Connor was a Principal dancer with The Royal Ballet dancing in the original cast of MacMillan's Manon in London and New York in 1974 and danced Snowflake in The Nutcracker in 1977. She created the role of Mitzi Caspar in Mayerling in 1978 and went on to become a ballet teacher. Laura has been involved with Yorkshire Ballet Seminars for over 30 years, first as a teacher and in recent years assistant to Marguerite Porter and Iain Mackay.

Brandon Lawrence, Bradford born, trained at Nydza School of Dance and joined the The Royal Ballet School in 2011. He became a Principal of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2019 and created roles in Ruth Brill's Arcadia, David Bintley's The King Dances, Jessica Lang's Lyric Pieces and Wink and Alexander Whitley's Kin. He frequents Yorkshire Ballet Seminars as a guest teacher.

Marguerite Porter MBE, Doncaster born, is the former Director of Yorkshire Ballet Seminars where she taught for many years. She trained in Yorkshire and later at The Royal Ballet School, taught by Dame Ninette De Valois in her graduate year. She went on to join The Royal Ballet Company where she remained for the next 20 years, becoming a guest artist for a further 3 years. As a Senior Principal she danced all the major roles including Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and title roles in Manon, Giselle, The Firebird, Raymonda Act III, Daphnis and Chloe among others. She has published her autobiography Ballerina and her television and film credits include The Magic Toy Shop, The Magic of the Dance (with Margot Fonteyn) V.E. Day Royal Gala with Sir Anthony Dowell and A British Institute Film; Comrade Lady, directed by Nobby Clark and choreographed by Sir David Bintley.

Wayne Sleep OBE attended the Royal Ballet School from the age of 13 and joined the company in 1966 where he became a Senior Principal with numerous roles created for him by - Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Dame Ninette de Valois, Joe Layton, Rudolf Nureyev, and John Neumeier, amongst others. He has been a guest artist at the English National Ballet, London City Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet and London Contemporary Dance. He formed his own dance company DASH, in 1980, which presented dance to a wider audience and incorporated a wide variety of dance genres.


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