Applications for the role of Director for Yorkshire Ballet Summer School

The Director of Yorkshire Ballet Summer School has primary responsibility for the direction and operation of the residential Summer School and charity. YBSS, the UK’s leading independent residential dance summer school, is held at present for two weeks each year at Askham Bryan College, York.

To apply, please respond as set forth in the job description.

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Yorkshire Ballet Summer School Search For A New Director, As Marguerite Porter MBE Steps Down

Yorkshire Ballet Summer School, the UK’s leading independent ballet summer school, announced today that Dr Marguerite Porter MBE had chosen to step down as Director of YBSS at the end of the year. YBSS, based in York and having now completed its 44th year, focuses on excellence in dance teaching by attracting a teaching faculty of the highest calibre to provide the best possible experience to its students. Under Marguerite’s guidance YBSS has been an essential feature of young dancers’ training.

Download the full press release about Marguerite Porter MBE and the search for a new director (PDF 115 KB)

Newsletter Beyond the Barre - June 2017

Welcome to the Summer 2017 YBSS Newsletter, written as we swelter in the June heat. We are in the final stages of preparing for what should be another wonderful Summer School, as you’ll read in Marguerite’s Director’s Update.

Much as we have reason to hope that this year’s Summer School will equal or excel those gone by – and what a wonderful line up of Masterclasses have been arranged this year, our hope is tinged by a sense that the landscape for summer schools is in a state of flux. Where, with the founding of YBSS by David Gale and under the direction of Marguerite, we once led, now the field of summer schools available to students and teachers alike to choose from has proliferated, both here in the UK and abroad. Students have a wide choice, some of them in exotic places and with schools of international renown. For the first time, this year The Royal Ballet School is holding a four week, not a two week, summer school.

We are proud, but hopefully not boastful, that YBSS was the default “alternative” summer school for students looking to expand horizons beyond their own vocational school. As this year’s intake will show, we have secured a rich blend of talent across the ages and we fully expect that our unwavering focus on providing the best teaching for the best students irrespective of background will enable us to remain a leading choice in the years to come.

Now more than ever we rely on and are sincerely grateful for the very loyal and essential funding our Supporters give. We thank you again. Do come and see how we spend your money. A letter appeared in the press this week about how donors gain insight into how their support is used which reminded funders that the best tool is to go and see the charity at work first hand. We will welcome you with open arms.

The Director’s Update

Dear Friends

© Sophie Harris-Taylor

It was an unusual start to the year. Our usual applications were not flying through the letterbox from January 6th, nor in fact from February or March. It really wasn’t until April that things picked up and students began to apply. I am happy to report however that we now have a ‘full house’ of very talented students.

The Royal Ballet School are this year extending their usual two week Summer School to four weeks. They are also using some of their Upper School Students as Houseparents, so our usual ‘intake’ of the Royal Ballet School older students has diminished somewhat. In addition, many of our long term students graduate this year. Aiden O’Brien, who has attended YBSS for seven consecutive years on scholarships, has been given an Aud Jebsen Apprenticeship with The Royal Ballet (as has Amelia Palmiero). This wonderful scheme is such a godsend, it gives the students who perhaps are not quite ‘cooked’ and have not yet reached their full potential, a chance to prove themselves as they gain strength and experience during the year. It also enables The Royal Ballet to keep a close eye on their progress. Aiden will come to us for one week this year before he starts with The Royal Ballet in September. We will be delighted to welcome him back after our moving farewells last year.

There are now of course summer schools around every corner you turn, plus the obvious ones attached to every major Ballet School. We are therefore fortunate that so many students still want to come to us.

The Scholarship auditions were well attended, though again it was a slow start to receiving applications and with many fewer attending in York. However, the talent of students who did apply was of the calibre we’ve seen in prior years. We were fortunate that we were able to give so many Scholarships to deserving students. I always request that the recipients write letters of thanks to their sponsors and it moves me deeply that they take the time and trouble to write such sweet and heartfelt notes. It reminds me of how much these young and gifted students truly appreciate the opportunities that are given to them through us and because of your extraordinary generosity and unique understanding of what we are about. For that I thank you so sincerely for your continual support of our work.

Warmest wishes, Marguerite Porter MBE

2017 Summer School

© Sophie Harris-Taylor

I am thrilled once more with my fantastic ‘Team’ though as I write and am thinking ahead, I realise that aside from Laura Connor and myself that they are all men! All brilliant men, but nonetheless men; Jay Jolley, Ricardo Cervera, Yosvani Ramos, David Pickering and Christopher Tudor are all giving daily classes. Anthony Dowell, Edward Watson, Wayne Sleep, Donald MacLeary and Brandon Lawrence will be giving Masterclasses and Brandon Lawrence will do another of his marvellous workshops (which was such a success last year).

Wayne Sleep was at the very first YBSS in 1973 with the two "Dames", De Valois and Markova. I am so looking forward to him returning.

We have two of our brilliant pianists returning: David Plumpton and Richard Norriss and a new addition Maria Milanova.

Our fabulous, loyal and devoted Houseparents are the same as last year, led by the wonderful Ben Tunningley who it seems to me spends the entire year thinking of fun things to do.

Student news

Reece Clark now promoted to Soloist with The Royal Ballet, has risen through the ranks with great speed and has gained strength and confidence.

Mathew Ball promoted to First Soloist with The Royal Ballet has also achieved so much in a short time.

Marguerite had tea with Sean Bates and Dale Rhodes last week. Both boys are with Northern Ballet Theatre and both are doing extremely well.

It is wonderful that so many students so loyally and sweetly stay in touch.

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