Dance Track 2022
On Sunday 8 May, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Dance Track marked its 25th anniversary with a special celebratory performance at the Birmingham Rep. It was a wonderful commemoration of the work of Dance Track and we were delighted to have several of our students and our Artistic Director, Christopher Powney, involved in the event.
Dance Track is a talent identification programme aiming to nurture the passion and talent of young dancers aged six to eight. Established in 1997, the programme invites 80 young dancers every year to join and offers them weekly ballet lessons taught by Birmingham Royal Ballet staff. Participants are offered a range of engaging activities throughout the year such as tickets to see performances and the chance to meet Company dancers. 130 Dance Track students have gone on to train with either The Royal Ballet School Junior Associates or Elmhurst Young Dancers, with 27 students securing full-time places at these schools.
Celebrating 25 years
The evening consisted of performances, films and talks put together to tell the remarkable journey of Dance Track and acknowledge the programme’s silver anniversary. Performances included new works by Ruth Brill and Kit Holder danced by students of The Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst Ballet School as well as a specially recreated performance of Dreams of a Sailor from Dance Track students. The event was hosted by Carlos Acosta, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, and Shireenah Ingram, Board Member at Birmingham Royal Ballet.
One of our Pre-professional Year students, Oscar Kempsey-Fagg, performed a solo, Run the Track, choreographed by Kit Holder, also an alumnus of The Royal Ballet School. Oscar is a former Dance Track student, as were his two brothers Marlo and Arlie who are currently training at Elmhurst Ballet School. Three more former Dance Track students, Shani Moran-Simmonds, Lucy O’Reilly and Taesha Patterson, who are all now studying full-time at White Lodge, performed Vanitas, also choreographed by Kit Holder.
Inspiring young dancers
Christopher Powney came on stage to say a few words and introduce our students’ performance. He spoke about the unique opportunities that Dance Track provides for young people:
We really are seeing young people at their very best, bursting with energy, talent and aspiration. Dance Track is a way for these youngsters to pursue their passion and achieve their goals, and we are delighted that through Dance Track Plus, and with our Associate centre in Birmingham, many brilliant young students join The Royal Ballet School Associate Programme, and some go on to join our full-time training. In this way, Dance Track gives students a direct route to the exceptional training we deliver at The Royal Ballet School, with strong links to both Royal Companies and a possible future career in classical ballet.
We look forward to seeing Dance Track continue to nurture the talent of young dancers over the next 25 years.