Developing our approach to choreographic training
This year, the School's choreographic training has been developed to create a new approach to our three annual choreographic competitions.
This comes as a result of a review led by Christopher Powney, Artistic Director, and involving an independent think-tank of prominent choreographers including David Bintley, Christopher Hampson, Russell Maliphant, Wayne McGregor, Kerry Nicholls, Mikaela Polley, Liam Scarlett and Christopher Wheeldon to name just a few.
The review highlighted the importance of continuing the School’s drive to foster creative experiment and expression in students. It also emphasised the benefits of mentoring, without the final judgement of a competition, especially when nurturing younger students.
The new programme builds the success of our underlying choreographic programme, developed over the past 20 years by Choreographic Course Coordinators Kate Flatt, Jennifer Jackson and Susie Cooper.
White Lodge choreographic events
The newly-titled Kenneth MacMillan Emerging Choreographer (for Years 10 and 11) and Ninette de Valois Emerging Choreographer (for Years 7-9) at White Lodge will both become presentations of the students’ work rather than competitions. Throughout the Autumn term students will work in weekly development sessions guided by Susie Cooper. These will culminate in previews and performances for an invited audience and a panel of dance specialists who will follow this with valuable feedback and advice for the young choreographers. In the days that follow, the School’s artistic team will select works by a few students to be developed further. These will be developed with the support of a mentor, and performed again at events such as the Summer Fair, the Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre and Opera Holland Park.
Upper School choreographic events
At the Upper School a new approach is also being developed with mentorship being introduced to the programme from professional choreographers.
The newly-configured Ursula Moreton Emerging Choreographer will give students, guided by Kate Flatt, a chance to also work with three young, established choreographers Mikaela Polley, Andrew McNicol and Patricia Okenwa. These choreographic mentors will work with the students on the development of their work to be presented at an event in May. Some of the pieces will be mentored through to professional presentation at the Linbury Theatre and Opera Holland Park.
Choreography at The Royal Ballet School
The Royal Ballet School has a long tradition of encouraging choreographic work with students of all ages. Our Founder, Dame Ninette de Valois originally called the School, The Academy of Choreographic Art. As both a choreographer and as Artistic Director of the emerging Royal Ballet Company, she understood the need to develop and nurture creative talent. Choreographic training is still central to students' training today and is embedded into both their artistic and academic education.
Browse photos from this year's Kenneth MacMillan Emerging Choreographer performance at White Lodge: