Ballet News | Dance GB – The UK’s three national dance companies create work and perform together for the first time in Summer 2012

Dance GB – The UK‘s three national dance companies create work and perform together for the first time in Summer 2012

ballet dancers

Barry Drummond, Nancy Osbaldeston, Nathan Young, Ruth Brill from English National Ballet Photograph : Fotini Christofilopoulou

Tickets now on sale

19 – 23 June, Glasgow Theatre Royal

28 – 30 June, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

4 – 8 July, big top tent in grounds of Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich

‘Dancers are the athletes of God.’ Albert Einstein

ballet dancers

Three ballet companies | three locations

In 2012, Dance GB sees the three national dance companies of the UK – English National Ballet, National Dance Company Wales and Scottish Ballet – celebrating the Olympics in a unique creative collaboration. Echoing the British Olympic team, Team GB, Dance GB takes the Olympic ideals of “faster, higher, stronger” and translates them into an inspirational production performed in Glasgow, Cardiff and London. The tour will visit Glasgow’s Theatre Royal and Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, the final performances will be part of a week long series of events in a Big Top tent in the historic grounds of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. Dance GB is one of the highlights of a summer of events at the Old Royal Naval College marking the London 2012 Olympics.

In a dance celebration which unites the nations, Dance GB sees each company commissioning some of the world’s great contemporary choreographers. The three new works are performed together in a display of the strengths and versatility of the dancers of the three companies, showcasing the enormous dance talent which is nurtured and developed within Britain today.

The three choreographers are: for Scottish Ballet, Martin Lawrance, who has created work for Richard Alston, Southbank Centre and The Place; for National Dance Company Wales, Christopher Bruce, whose affiliations include direction of Rambert Dance Company and Resident Choreographer at English National Ballet; and for English National Ballet, Itzik Galili whose work is performed by Dutch National Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company, Nederlands Dans Theatre II and Rambert Dance Company amongst others.

Scottish Ballet’s Soloist Christopher Harrison (nominated in the category of Breakthrough Star of the Year at this year’s Scottish Style Awards, Scotland’s foremost celebration of creative endeavour) talks about ballet life :

Scottish Ballet’s piece will feature designs by Glasgow born, Turner Prize-nominated Martin Boyce. Boyce first worked with the Company in a session of choreographic workshops exploring the relationship between dance and visual art last year, and his work is currently being exhibited at The Turner Prize 2011 show at BALTIC, Gateshead.

Ashley Page, Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet on commissioning Martin Lawrance, “Developing younger choreographers has always been important at Scottish Ballet, and it’s in this capacity that I have been watching Martin Lawrance’s work over the past few years. He has been steadily growing in maturity and originality under the guidance of Richard Alston. It is a great pleasure to be able to provide Martin with another opportunity to grow as a creative artist, and we are greatly looking forward to working with him.”

Itzik Galili’s new piece for English National Ballet And the Earth shall bear again takes English National Ballet’s dancers out of their comfort zone and stretches the boundaries of traditional classical ballet. The piece is performed to music for Prepared Piano by John Cage and features a host of young talent from across the world, with ten nations being represented. Senior Principals Elena Glurdjidze, Erina Takahashi, and Fernanda Oliviera are amongst the dancers performing, as well as rising stars Vadim Muntagirov, Ksenia Ovsyanick, Esteban Berlanga and Laurretta Summerscales.

Dance GB in Greenwich will be part of a series of events taking place in the Big Top tent all part of Big Dance 2012. English National Ballet is partnering with Greenwich Dance and Greenwich Council to produce an interactive programme giving everyone the chance to dance. Events taking place include a big top tea dance, a ballroom bonanza and show-stopping cabaret and circus performances. English National Ballet wants everyone to be inspired by dance.

Ann Sholem, who is Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales said: “We are very proud to be part of Dance GB, which is a great opportunity for us to be a part of the London 2012 Olympics and to showcase the tremendous dance talent in Britain today.”

A dancer and choreographer, Christopher Bruce was Artistic Director of Rambert Dance Company, Resident Choreographer at English National Ballet and has choreographed work for Rambert, Houston Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre and Cullberg Ballet. He was made CBE in 1998. “We are delighted to work with Christopher, who has enjoyed such a successful career,” said Ann. “I know his work will be exceptional and mesmerising – just what you would expect from an internationally-renowned choreographer.”

Alongside the performances of Dance GB, Learning teams from each of three Companies will work together to produce Dancing Parallel, a national project bringing together 60 young people from Aberdeen, Cardiff and London. The young dancers will work with professional dance artists from the three companies, developing new skills in ballet, parkour and contemporary dance working towards a dance film, directed by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Nic Sandiland to be shown alongside Dance GB. Sandiland will be inspired by the young dancers’ views on their home environments, fusing the grace, energy and power of all the different dance styles being explored. There will also be a master-class in the Big Top tent led by the dancers and creative teams from Dance GB.

ballet dancers

Dance GB is proud to be part of the Cultural Olympiad

Full Listings

Glasgow Theatre Royal

19 June 7.30pm (National Press Night)

20 – 23 June 7.30pm

23 June 2.30pm


Wales Millennium Centre

28 – 30 June 7.30pm


Big Top Tent, Royal Naval College, Greenwich

4 – 7 July 7.30pm

8 July 2.30pm


Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet is Scotland’s National Dance Company. The Company employs 36 professional dancers, 41 staff and a part-time freelance orchestra of up to 70 musicians. Scottish Ballet’s primary aim is to provide programmes of world-class dance performance and educational activity at all scales.

Scottish Ballet presents a wide range of high-quality dance to audiences across Scotland, the UK and abroad, with strong classical technique at the root of all of its work. The Company presents a broad repertoire, ranging from new versions of the classics through to seminal pieces from 20th century modern ballet repertoire and extending into signature pieces by living choreographers and new commissions.

Scottish Ballet provides a huge variety of education initiatives and dance classes including: work with children and adults of all ages and abilities; and the Associate Programme, which encourages aspiring young dancers to train for a career in the industry. The Company is also closely linked with Royal Conservatoire Scotland, partnering the BA Modern Ballet and M.Mus (Pianist for Dance) degree courses.

Martin Lawrance was born in Leicester and began dancing with Leicester Youth Dance Theatre under the direction of Sue Rosenbloom. He trained at Coventry Centre for the Performing Arts from 1989-1991 and at London Contemporary Dance School from 1991-1994. He performed with the postgraduate performance group 4D where he first worked with Richard Alston. Martin has restaged 10 of Richard Alston’s choreographies, in Britain and overseas. In 2000, Martin was invited by the Meltdown Festival on the South Bank to make Thimble Rigging, to an original score by Scott Walker. He has created three works for London Contemporary Dance School, and two works for the State School of Dance in Athens, where he created Grey Allegro and Silken Steel. In June 2003, Martin presented a full evening of his work at The Place, and in 2004 Charge was commissioned for the Place Prize. Grey Allegro and Charge were subsequently taken into the Richard Alston Dance Company repertoire. More recently, for RADC, he has created About Face, Brink, Body & Soul and To Dance And Skylark. In November 2007, Martin retired from dancing and is now RADC’s Rehearsal Director. In 2009, he made Pendulum for the Critics Circle Award winning Ballet Black Company, and in 2010 he made a piece for the Wycombe Swan dance project, DP6. In 2011 he made Other Than I for Richard Alston Dance Company.

English National Ballet

English National Ballet is one of the world’s great ballet companies. The original 1950s vision for the Company – to take classical ballet of the highest quality to the widest geographical audience, at a price everyone can afford – remains the cornerstone of the Company’s philosophy today.

English National Ballet presents an extensive touring schedule at home and abroad and is committed to developing the artform by keeping the cornerstones of the classical repertoire vibrantly alive. By commissioning and acquiring new pieces, refurbishing existing works and encouraging new choreographers to work with our impeccably trained performers we aim to maintain an original and popular repertoire for the nation. Affordable pricing for our performances is key and ensures that we continue to develop new audiences, maintaining an enthusiastic and dedicated following for our work.

Itzik Galili
The award-winning Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili has been based in The Netherlands since 1991, where he founded his own company. He turned to dance at the age of 21 after finishing military service in his home country. He choreographed his first piece in 1990, as he claims himself, “to see if he could choreograph one at all “. He is still working and his work has received world wide attention. Galili mixes influences from film and theatre, and his work is thought of as being both surreal and humorous as well as demanding for the dancers, in energy, speed, and technique without losing the essential softness and sincerity. In 1997 the Dutch Ministry of Culture nominated him as artistic director of a new company with public funding, NND/Galili Dance. Galili has created work for his own companies and for the Stuttgart Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theatre and Finnish National Ballet among many others. He is nominated for his high-energy, large-scale piece A Linha Curva for Rambert Dance Company.

National Dance Company Wales

National Dance Company Wales was founded as Diversions in 1983, and was awarded national status in 1999. In June 2009 the Company changed its name to reflect its status and the excellence, pride and dynamism in its performances and work with communities everywhere. In 2004 the Company became a resident at Wales Millennium Centre in the purpose-built Dance House – regarded as one of the best production facilities in Europe for creating new works.

Under the Artistic Direction of Ann Sholem, the Company’s vision is to create and perform inspiring world-class choreography, performed by dancers with individuality and charisma. The Company also works with young dancers and community groups as part of its social contract encouraging participation in dance; as well as leading on the development of the artform in Wales by supporting artist-led projects.

National Dance Company Wales performs a repertory of contemporary dance created by established choreographers of international repute and new talent from Wales at mid and large scale venues across Wales, the UK and internationally.

Christopher Bruce

Choreographer and performer Christopher Bruce was born in Leicester in 1945. He was Artistic Director of the Rambert Dance Company until 2002. In addition to performing and choreographing, he has created many works for Rambert, Nederlands Dans Theater, Houston Ballet and Cullberg Ballet, as well as choreographing the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Alan Ayckbourn Musical Jeeves at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London in 1975.

Christopher has had a long-term association with English National Ballet and Houston Ballet.  In 2005 he created a new work for the spring season at the Royal Ballet and a further new work for the Rambert autumn season. His works include Cruel Garden, Ghost Dances, Sergeant Early’s Dream, Swansong, Moonshine and Rooster.

Bruce was awarded a CBE for a lifetime’s service to dance. He is a visiting honorary professor at the University of Exeter.

Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College, Wren’s twin domed riverside masterpiece, is one of London’s most iconic buildings. Managed by Greenwich Foundation since 1998, when the Royal Navy College moved to Shrivenham, the site has been open to the public as a free heritage attraction for over a decade and by 2010 had become the 15th most popular visitor attraction in the UK. Among the celebrated 18th century buildings on the site are the Chapel and the stunning Painted Hall, perhaps the UK’s most important painted architectural interior.

This striking architecture of the ORNC has not only proved a popular visitor attraction, but an ideal film site with movies ranging from The Duchess, Sherlock Holmes, The King’s Speech, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and the soon to be released Iron Lady all being partly shot on location at the ORNC. In 2010 the Old Royal Naval College’s facilities expanded to include the brand new, state of the art visitor centre, Discover Greenwich, which explores 500 years of royal and maritime history, and offers the ideal gateway into the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site; an award-winning microbrewery & restaurant; and the Greenwich Tourist Information Centre. The Old Royal Naval College offers a year round programme of public events and activities including music, and comedy festivals, a wide range of performances and popular family fun days.

Photographs © Fotini Christofilopoulou. No unauthorised reproduction

[nggallery id=30]

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply