Former Basingstoke school pupil to perform with Ballet Central on upcoming four month UK tour

A FORMER pupil of a Basingstoke secondary school will be performing with the renowned young dance company Ballet Central on their welcome return to touring this spring.

Joel Wright will be joining the company on a four-month, 11 venue tour across England, arriving in Newbury at The Corn Exchange as part of the Newbury Spring Festival on 19 May.

The company presents a new cast of exceptional dancers performing a mixture of original pieces from distinguished choreographers and a restaging of an existing contemporary work.

Joel, 18, attended Bishop Challoner Catholic Secondary School in Basingstoke and also began his training with Suzanne School of Dancing in Andover before joining Central School of Ballet where he is also now in the final year.

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Joining him in the company this year is fellow Suzanne School of Dancing pupil Jack Tyler.

Jack, also 18, attended John Hanson School in Andover and began his training with Suzanne School of Dancing while attending Central School of Ballet’s Associate Program on Saturdays.

He is now in the final year of a three-year BA (Hons) Professional Dance & Performance degree at Central School of Ballet in London.

Central is a world-leading center for professional dance training providing graduates with opportunities for employment in the world’s foremost dance companies and international musical theater productions. Students join the touring company Ballet Central to gain professional performance experience and the opportunity to work with leading choreographers leading up to graduation in July.

Under the artistic direction of artist-in-residence Mikaela Polley and artistic director Kate Coyne, Ballet Central will present three new pieces this year created on Central’s dancers.

Mikaela Polley’s new piece Unbound involves the entire company, created as a celebration of the dynamism of the ensemble bringing classical ballet and contemporary dance together. New choreography from the dance industry influencer Ashley Page, Twice Removed, is to music by the composer John Adams. Ballet Black’s Mthuthuzeli November, also a former dancer on the Ballet Central tour, has created a new piece Sunset in Cape Town that demonstrates his distinctive choreographic voice. Cathy Marston’s piece Moving, Still is being restaged especially for this year’s Ballet Central tour.

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Joel said: “I am looking forward to performing in different venues around the UK and being in Newbury with the Ballet Central tour, not far from home, will be special. I particularly enjoyed learning our Artist-in-Residence Mikaela Polley’s new creation Unbound as it incorporates both neo-classical and contemporary dance. I hope to have a long and healthy career in the dance industry after I graduate this July. ”

Jack added: “I am enjoying working with external choreographers to create new pieces for the Ballet Central tour. Ashley Page’s work Twice Removed, created especially for Ballet Central has been particularly enjoyable for me as I am drawn to neoclassical choreography. I am hoping to have a diverse dance career that includes working in different areas of the performing industry. I would especially love to go into musical theater as I have always been a fan of musicals. ”

Mikaela Polley said: “The experience of working with renowned choreographers in the creative process is invaluable for student dancers. They learn to absorb, understand, and interpret the story of each piece and the choreographers’ different ways of working. This accelerates their growth as future professionals and helps to prepare for the transition into company life when they graduate in July. ”

Kate Coyne added that the tour experience “distinguishes our dancers and supports their future employability in the dance industry”.

She continued: “Performing is the ultimate goal for professional dance students so the chance to bring all their training to a peak in front of a live audience fulfills ambitions and stimulates new learning. Audiences benefit from seeing new talent and vibrant choreography in theaters across England . ”

The annual Ballet Central tour offers audiences across the country the chance to see the company’s young and dynamic dancers showcase choreography from current industry professionals alongside newly commissioned work and refreshed classics from the world’s top choreographers. Performing a range of repertoire on tour over several months to ticket-buying audiences is an enriching experience for the students, enhancing their skills and development, making them particularly employable.

Recent Central students are currently employed with Scottish Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theater, English National Ballet, Northern Ballet, Rambert, Ballet Black, Phantom of the Opera (West End & Worldwide), Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Milwaukee Ballet – USA , Singapore Dance Theater, Sarasota Ballet – USA, K-Ballet – Japan, New English Ballet Theater.

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