Newsletter Beyond the Barre - June 2016

The 2016 Summer School looks set to be another inspiring two weeks again. Marguerite tells us in The Director’s Update of reassuring quality displayed in the Auditions this year.

This will be our third year at Askham Bryan. We have reported in the past on the process of operating at the new venue and on acquisitions of various pieces of equipment. This year – hoping not to tempt fate – we really believe that we have settled into a regime there and have customised the facilities - ours and Askham Bryan’s - to represent the best that we reasonably can. And in the process of getting to this point, we have cemented our relationship with the team at Askham Bryan. We’d like to thank Askham Bryan for helping smooth the path – after all, a ballet school and an agricultural college are not the most obvious of bedfellows!

We invite you to come and see for yourselves.

The Director’s Update

Dear Friends

© Sophie Harris-Taylor

How can it possibly be June with the Summer School almost upon us? This year has FLED! I can clearly remember the first application dropping through the letterbox on Monday January 4th and thinking how ridiculously premature it was and how far away July seemed. And here we almost are.

We have had many applications again from far and wide; Canada, America, Europe and I am particularly excited about three girls from The Royal Danish Ballet Company, apprentices who have been given scholarships from Danish supporters to come. This is a first for us and I am looking forward to welcoming them.

The Scholarship and Bursary Auditions this year were overwhelming, both in York and London. We had to have three classes in London due to the large number of applications (120 in total) and the Auditions were of an extremely high standard. Patricia Linton gave beautiful classes and I one stage I found myself moved almost to tears by the dear earnest faces of the students. Feeling embarrassed I looked to the judges to my right, at Wayne Sleep, who was unashamedly blubbing, and Laura Connor, Elizabeth McGorian, Mathew Ball (one of our own) and Heather McCubbin were all inspired and moved. It was an incredible day and the aftermath of trying to figure out who to give Scholarships and Bursaries to was immensely difficult. I am delighted with the awards which we made.

There were fewer students (50) in York, although that was more than last year, and again, beautiful classes were given by Patricia to some lovely students. Overall, I am pleased with the awards made and their balance between London and York. It is always upsetting to disappoint so many students who desperately want to come but sadly it is part of the very brutal world that they want to belong to and a life lesson too I guess; painful for us all.

It has been gratifying too that the students have written notes of thanks to the wonderful sponsors who so loyally support us. I always ask them to do it, but they don’t always ‘bother’. This year they have. Lovely.

I very much look forward to seeing you in York and as ever I thank you most sincerely for your continued support.

Warmest wishes, Marguerite Porter MBE

2016 Summer School

© Sophie Harris-Taylor

We are absolutely thrilled with the faculty this year. We have some of our usual fabulous and very popular teachers including Chris Tudor, who gives such charming Baroque Classes, David Pickering, Patricia Linton, Laurent Novis, Ballet Master from the Paris Opera, Ricardo Cervera, who is Assistant Ballet Master at The Royal Ballet, and last but not least Edward Watson, Principal with The Royal ballet. I am hoping again that Anthony Dowell will come and give a Master Class for the boys, Donald MacLeary a Pas de Deux Class and our very own Brandon Lawrence, [Soloist?? with Birmingham Royal Ballet] is a giving a rep class one night and a Q and A on the following night.

Student news

Brandon Lawrence

Hot news - Matthew Ball has just been promoted to Soloist with The Royal Ballet. At this age and stage of his career, this is wonderful affirmation of his talent. He has had a fantastic season - his first Romeo at the ROH was superb. He looked the part from the start and partnered with such confidence and strength. His acting has always been very good but he excelled himself as Romeo. It was an intelligent and well-thought out performance. He was delightful in the leading role in The Two Pigeons. He was also a brilliant judge at the London audition, showing careful and thoughtful consideration to every student. A ‘Prince’ may be on the horizon next season.

Brandon Lawrence has also had a great season with Birmingham Royal Ballet - he is extremely happy and doing great things. Marguerite was thrilled to be able to see him for a longer period whilst I was up working with BRB on ‘Month’. He is about to do Luciano in The Taming of the Shrew.

More hot news - Reece Clark has just been promoted to First Artist with The Royal Ballet. Having recovered from a bad foot injury, he is also flying. He has grown in confidence and now ‘owns’ his wonderful height and the |Covent Garden stage.

Lauretta Summerscales, now a Principal with ENB, is performing Swan Lake at The Royal Albert Hall and has danced many principal roles this season. She has a wonderful stage presence and a fine strong technique which was apparent all those years ago as one of our students.

It is deeply touching that our former students all want to stay in touch.

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