The magic of our summer performance season – behind the scenes with our students at opera holland park

The magic of our Summer Performance season – behind the scenes with our students at Opera Holland Park

Our students have spent the past week performing at Opera Holland Park for their Summer Performance season. For some of our White Lodge students, this performance season marks their first, while many of our Upper School students are seasoned professionals with fond memories of Holland Park. Watching them dance at such a magical venue never fails to delight us. It’s a truly wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their exceptional talent, growth and passion for the art form. 

We enjoyed speaking to the stars of the show – our students – about their experience at Opera Holland Park this year. From nervousness to excitement and everything in between, they generously shared their thoughts.

A unique performing experience

Opera Holland Park is one of London’s most beautiful open-air theatres in the heart of picturesque Holland Park. Dancing in such a theatre is a unique opportunity for our students, and we asked how they felt about this year’s performance week:

It feels amazing to be here. I always look forward to coming back, and it’s great to be back in my final year performing with my classmates before our graduation. It feels great because I’ve performed all the years I’ve been at the School and it is one of my favourite weeks of the whole year. – George, Pre-professional Year  

It’s so cool because it’s such a different venue. A lot of times it’s inside a theatre, so it’s nice to be in a different venue and also to be in such an amazing park. I find it really fun how we are here with White Lodge as well. We get to see what everybody’s doing and watch everybody and be inspired by them. – Layla, 1st Year

It’s exciting. It marks the first really big performance that we are doing, so it’s really fun. – Emma, Year 11

It’s really cool, especially when the weather is nice, and any chance to perform is amazing. It’s fun because you’re outside, so even when you’re on stage, you can see the greenery and the trees above the stage, which is cool and you don’t really get that in the studio. The vibe’s really fun. – Jackson, 2nd Year

It’s quite a different experience. I’ve never performed in a theatre like this, so performing outdoors with the elements is a bit of a challenge, but it’s been really fun and you get very close with all of your classmates. – LilySophia, 1st Year

The magic of our summer performance season – behind the scenes with our students at opera holland park

A vibrant repertoire

Our Summer Performances this year boast a diverse repertoire that showcases the students’ versatility, ranging from classical works to more contemporary and character pieces. It’s amazing seeing them come to life on the stage, and with such a dynamic variety, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but we asked our students what piece they enjoy most:

The Two Pigeons, which I’m dancing with Beth, one of my close friends I’ve grown up with at the School, so it is amazing to share this with her. I love Ashton’s choreography and after writing about it for my dissertation this year, I’ve really understood his style. – George, Pre-professional Year

I love Don Quixote because we’re dancing with the Pre-professional Years, and they’re doing these incredible solos. We get to see what we might be doing in the future. I also really enjoy BOLD by Goyo Montero. I haven’t ever done a piece like it, and the energy is so intense. Everybody comes together and adds to the energy. The impact is really cool. – Layla, 1st Year

Honestly, we have such a nice variety. I love them all in different aspects, but I love BOLD as it’s a very satisfying piece to do. I really feel that we work together and become whole, which is nice. – Yasemin, 1st Year

There’s a range of pieces, from contemporary to neoclassical to classical. I prefer classical pieces because that is more my style, so specifically Manipulation. You’re en pointe and you do a range of contemporary and classical movements. – Chloe, Year 11

I love all of them, but I particularly love BOLD. It’s very energetic, and I can express myself, not in the classical sense of ballet and just go for it. – Yuki, 1st Year

Definitely Within the Golden Hour. It’s such a nice piece to dance. You can apply your usual classical technique, which we work on every day, but then you get to put this more neoclassical feel on top of it so you can explore new ways of moving. Also, the costumes are nice – we’re wearing the costumes from when it was originally created at Opera Holland Park, but at the Royal Opera House, we’ll be wearing the new costumes, which are just stunning. Christopher Wheeldon came in to rehearse it, and that was very inspirational. It’s a fun piece to dance. – Guillem, Pre-professional Year

Performing with their peers

Uniting the entire school for our Summer Performances is a truly remarkable experience that brings our students together. We asked students how it feels to perform with their peers from both White Lodge and Upper School:

It’s amazing. It’s also amazing to see the White Lodgers now after being a White Lodger and see them knowing I was in that position. It’s very wholesome to see the School coming together. – George, Pre-professional Year

It’s really great. As I’m doing Konservatoriet with the White Lodgers, you see them all really young, and you think, I was there one day. It’s really nice to see how everyone, each year group feels it differently. – Alejandro, 2nd Year

It’s really nice because last year I didn’t get to do the last performances because I got injured, but before last year we were very much separate. To be able to mix so much between all three levels, I think it’s quite unifying in a way. – Jackson, 2nd Year

Charming costumes

Our performances wouldn’t feel complete without the beautiful costumes that our wardrobe team work tirelessly to create and source. Often one of the highlights of performing, we spoke with our students about some of their favourite costumes:

Konservatoriet. It is a really pretty skirt with a silk bow. We all have different colours and wear black velvet chokers. It is super charming, and you feel like a ballerina in the costume. – Emma, Shiori, Lauren and Chloe, Year 11

I think the BOLD costume’s really nice with the mesh at the front. It’s very cool, and you feel very long and poised. – Jackson, 2nd Year

I like the Don Quixote costumes because they’re very pretty, and the fact that we know the company is wearing them makes it even more special. – Yasemin, 1st Year

I love the Don Quixote tutus. Wearing the company’s tutu is such a fantastic feeling. The way they look, all of the work that’s gone into putting them together, and all of the detail. It makes you feel important, it makes you feel like a company member and it makes you feel like a ballerina. It really helps me get into the mood of portraying the characters. – Rebecca Stewart, 2nd Year