Dec 2004

Hi Again

Here we are already, last letter of the year. Where does the time go? Those of you who follow these letters will know it’s been quite a year in the wonderful world that is EYB. Apart from our last project in Grimsby (more on that in a moment) this has been our most successful year so far with the largest number of dancers auditioning (over 2000 of you) to take part and the best audience attendance over all. The introduction of open dress rehearsals when the theatres will agree to it has been a great success, especially in Canterbury where over 400 people turned up! We’ve said good-bye to old friends - Nadia returning to ENB- welcomed back old friends - Paul Lewis- and said hello to new friends - Maria, Emma and Matthew. We’ve seen a lot of familiar faces at the auditions which is always nice , some we have taken some we haven't. Remember, the audition is part of the experience and if you want to enter the theatre as a profession you have to be able to deal with disappointment. We have generally been pleased with the dedication and behaviour of the students this year. There have been a few students who have worked with us before that have disappointed us but they wont work with us again. It has been great to see how many of you have gone on to full time training and others gaining places as associates to RB school.

The production in Grimsby was quite a tough one to finish the year with, it was the smallest cast we have had (there was a dance festival taking place the same weekend as our original performance dates so not many of the local dancers could commit to our dates) and the smallest audience we have had (a difficult venue and not helped by the fact they had booked another production of Sleeping Beauty shortly after our visit) but having said that everyone worked hard and we had a good house on the last night which was nice for Emma as it was her premier as Aurora. Emma did an excellent job and is now well and truly part of the EYB team.

There were lots of tearful good-byes after the last show so even if Grimsby was not a success financially it was still a job well done!
At the certificate ceremony in Grimsby commendations went to the Guests and solo Jewels as Groups, Antonia Georgiou (Jewel & Relative), Aniela Szary (Friend) and Thomas Arnold (Lord Songbird) for improvement and Darren Sawdon (Photographer) for his acting.

Prizes went to Helen Long (Cinderella attendant), Katie Singh (Cryonite), Savannah Bowles (Friend) and last and by no means least Chloe Wilkinson (Duchess).

We have been very busy these last 3 weeks choreographing and rehearsing the VIRTUOSO program ready for next year and filming it so we don’t forget what we have done by May! The Ballets we will be performing are a revival of “Jeux” by Peter Darrell and 3 new works - “Afternoon of a Faun” by Ian Mackenzie Stewart, “Chopin Divertissements ” by Janet Lewis and “The Firebird” by myself. The evening has a “Ballet Russe” and Nijinsky theme to it (...I’ve told you before. Go and look it up....) The music will all be played live from piano transcriptions made by the composers of each piece. Miss Lewis is very happy with what we achieved so it should be a good show.

I’ve had messages from Stephanie Mico to say that since working with us in Croydon she is now training at the Central School of Ballet and won the Intermediate Ballet Premier Award at the Orpington Festival for the past two years, Caroline Rees who has started her Pre Senior Course at Central and Sara Evans has completed the 1st year of her BA in Musical Theatre Dance at London Studio Centre. Christopher Parkinson was featured in “When will I be Famous” on the BBC earlier this year and I see from the Central School website that Samantha Cotton has graduated this year and is now at “Jeune Ballet Internationale-Cannes”. Miss Lewis had a message to say that Holly Mayer is going to the Elmhurst School now. Congratulations to you all. I would like you all to join me in wishing a speedy recovery to Charlotte Chapman-Hart who had a particularly nasty leg injury since dancing with us in Nottingham.

Well that just about wraps it up for this year, look out for Kasper in the new "Phantom of the Opera" film and Julianne and Matthew will be appearing in Raymond Gubbay's "Johann Strauss Gala Concert" tour again this year . Have a great Christmas and New year, enjoy all those mince pies and then..... back to the hard work....


Sept 2004

Hi Again

Finally found a few moments to get this letter together. As you know this has been a very busy time for us with our back to back productions of Coppelia in Canterbury and Wolverhampton (and we start in Grimsby tomorrow!). The shows went amazingly well with both theatres wanting to book us again next year , which of course we can’t do as we are already booked up , but we are pencilled in for 2006 ( along with Nottingham and the rescheduled Southend productions). We were able to do open Dress rehearsals at both venues and were quite shocked to find there were 400 people present for the one in Canterbury such was the high demand for tickets! The two casts were very different , the Canterbury cast had a lot of enthusiasm and heart and coped well with he pressure of getting the show together in two weeks and were very supportive of each other. The Wolverhampton cast were one of the strongest technically we have had (the Friends group particularly so). Both casts managed to keep building on the performances each show. Emma made a fine debut as Swanhilda and is fitting in well and will continue to work with us next year. She has been particularly helpful to me as I can’t demonstrate at the moment so she has had to be my legs while I am choreographing. My cast finally comes off on the 1st of October , I cant wait! I apologise to every one for not being my normal charming self (I heard that at the back..) but it has been very frustrating not being able to get up and show what I want. It has been great fun having Paul Lewis back with us guesting as Dr. Coppelius and we look forward to seeing more of him next year.
The Virtuoso project is moving along. We have a definite venue in London for the premiere - St John’s, Smith Square in May and will be looking for other venues for May as well. Julianne, Roddie, Emma and Matthew will all be performing and the program will include new Ballets by Miss Lewis, myself and our good friend Ian Mackenzie Stewart (those of you who are affiliated to the BBO may have come across him) plus a Ballet by the late Peter Darrell (Director of Scottish Ballet). All the music will be performed by the renowned concert pianist Alvin Moisey. We start work on the choreography in November before we do the auditions for next year. Busy, busy, busy.

At the certificate ceremony in Canterbury commendations went to the Morning Hours and Scottish Dolls as groups and the Work Hours for their Smiles. The 3 Village Boys for being so together and the 4 Combat Boys for their partnering. Individual commendations went to Amy Allen (Coppelia Doll), Grace Hann (Dawn Solo) and Adele Richards (Betrothal Dance).
Prizes Went to Lily Bliss, Marissa Fuller, and Rosanne Norris Hooper.

In Wolverhampton commendations went to Nicola Wright (Leading Villager) for being professional and standing in for the Czardas dance, Molly-Anne Collis (Little Villager) for constantly smiling , Bradley Davidson (Soldier and Betrothal), Frankie Sullivan (Betrothal), Lianne Tubbs (Friend) , Ashley Morgan (Dawn solo) and Freya Rowley (Friend and stood in for Morning hours)
Prizes went to Elliss Morgan (Spanish Doll), Bethany Wells (Prayer), Sinead Kenny (Work Hour), and Dominic Lamb (Combat) all for Performance quality.

Emma Walker who danced with us in Southend wrote to say she has been accepted at The Legat School of Ballet as well as performing with the Urdang Academy at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London and working part time at the Central school of Ballet, Ben Lythgo has a place on the English Dance team and will be in LA next year and Fern Milner and Sophie Douglas who both danced with us in Preston have been accepted as Senior Associates with the Royal Ballet School. Congratulations to all!

Well that’s it for now, I’ll do one more letter this year after Grimsby. Please keep your news coming in. Keep working hard!


August 2004

Hi Again

Well this letter has come out sooner than I expected, I seem to have ended up with time on my hands. It has been a bit of a roller coaster ride here at EYB world these last few weeks, as some of you may know Nadia was working with The English National Ballet and they have asked her to return full time in the new season. As she needed time to recover from her foot injury she and Miss Lewis decided it was better if she did not perform in Nottingham. This left us with the task of finding a replacement. Fortunately Miss Lewis had just been introduced to a lovely young French Ballerina called Maria Fichaux who had been dancing the role of Aurora with European Ballet and was free to guest with us in Nottingham. We also found a permanent replacement for Nadia in the shape of Emma Lister a Canadian Ballerina. As there has been a shortage of senior boys at the auditions this year it was decided to bring in another guest, Matthew Alan to dance the Bluebird and Prince Stefan. This means Nottingham was treated to 6 principal dancers !

The performances went very well with full houses at every show (we have a definite booking in 2 years time!) and the young performers rose to the occasion as always. Our new recruits came through with flying colours, we have made a new friend in Maria and we all hope she will be able to guest with us again, Emma made a strong debut as Aunt Lilac and is working hard learning Swanilda for Coppelia in Canterbury where she will start her teaching duties as well, and Matthew leaped his way through the Bluebird and will hopefully be joining us in Grimsby to do the same.

The rehearsals in Nottingham were hampered a bit by the disorganisation of the school which meant we were constantly been shifted from one end of the school to the other and by me ending up with my leg in plaster after over enthusiastically demonstrating a step to the guests. The latest diagnosis is that I have partially ruptured my Achilles tendon and will be spending the next 2 months in plaster so I am grumpier than normal (if that is at all possible!). Unfortunately there was also bad behaviour from some of the girls and as they were all people who have worked with us before it is unlikely the will be allowed to do so again. We expect dancers who have been with us before to set a good example to the others.

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Songbirds, Guests and Friends as groups, David Unwin (Hop and Charm) and Jenna Nathan (Cinderella attendant) for their improvement, Charlotte Chapman-Hart (Jewel) for concentration, Tom Brown (Photographer) and George Phillips (Hop and Charm) for Acting and Beth Wright (Bluebird) for the most improvement.

Junior Prizes went to Sophie Thurman (Charm and Kitten) and Megan Singleton (Songbird and Cinderella attendant). Senior Prizes went to Amy Rowbottom and Daniella Laird-Corkhill (Guests).

Bad news for those of you who were hoping to take part in Southend in 2005, the Cliffs Pavilion is having to close for 12 weeks for heath and safety improvements which includes the date we were due to perform there. We will reschedule the dates but as the rest of the year is booked this will have to be in 2006. We will now be going back to Billingham for that summer slot.

Megan Rafferty wrote to say she got a distinction in her latest ballet exam and that she will soon be auditioning for Dance East - well done and good luck on the audition. I've also heard that John Rhys Halliwell and Lauren Pryer from our Preston production have been accepted as Junior Associates to RBS in Manchester. Congratulations. That's it for now, keep working hard.


July 2004

Hi Again

Well it's been business as usual, the shows in High Wycombe went well, the evening shows were sold out and the afternoon pretty full. The standard was very high from the dancers on a technical level but we had to push a bit to get the performance level as high. I have to say the Guests on the wednesday night were very impressive and lived up to their potential and the lines and togetherness in the finale was the best I have seen so far. It's not often I get impressed - so well done you guys ! We've just done the audition for Grimsby , not the biggest turn out we've had this year but we discovered that there is a Dance festival the same weekend as our performances so we have had to change our dates slightly so that the dancers in the area can commit to the performances.

Next year is finally sorted out , there has been a spate of illnesses in theatre managers so it has taken a while to get conformations on some of the venues. We are now going to Bournemouth, Southsea, Leamington-Spa, Southend, Swindon, Norwich and York. Full details will be on the web site soon. Our other project "Virtuoso" is slowly taking shape and it looks like we will be doing some dates in May 2005. It is very complicated trying to find a time when everyone is available and there is time between EYB projects!

At the certificate ceremony Commendations went to Jessica Hill (Lady songbird and White cat), Bryony Cruikshank (Friend), Alexandra Lawrence (Relative and Solo Jewel), and the Older Boys David Buckley, Sam Brown and Ryan Clarke who all showed marked improvement. A special commendation went to Aiko Segawa who stood in for Aunt Lilac in rehearsals and did so well that Miss Lewis allowed her to do the role in the matinee performance!

Prizes went to Megan Rhodes (Honesty and Cryonite), Rosie Fraser (Friend) and Emily Brotherwood (an ever smiling Guest).
Laura Willey (Cinderella in High Wycombe) wrote to say she has been accepted for a second year as a senior associate at the Royal Ballet school in Covent Garden and that she is now on call for filming of the next Harry Potter film "The Goblet of Fire". James Warburton (Duke in Preston) has been awarded a scholarship for the Northern Ballet School in Manchester. Congratulations to both of you.

Well that's it for this letter. I'm not sure when the next one will be as there is no time between productions for the next 3 projects but I will try and get something out before the end of the summer holidays. Keep working hard


May 2004

Hi Again

A short letter as there has only been 3 days between projects. The performances in Darlington went extremely well with sell outs at the evening shows and the extra matinee nearly full as well. The cast had a lot of work to do but they really pulled out all the stops for the shows and it was very gratifying to see the level of commitment they showed. I watched the second half of the matinee from the dress circle which had been bought out by a Junior school and it was very exciting to see how riveted to the show they were and how enthusiastic their response was at the end. We had a bit of drama backstage during the performances as Nadia has injured her right foot and even though she managed to get through the dress rehearsal it was much to painful for her to manage her performances as Aurora, which meant Julianne had to do both shows on the wednesday. There are not many Ballerinas who can get through 2 Auroras in one day!

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to Amy Napper (Kitten and songbird), John-Paul Forester (Duke), Hannah McGhee (Friend), Claudia Garret (Lady Beauty), Bethany Fisher and Kerrianne Covell (Guests) and the Guests as a group.

Prizes went to Alexander Nicholson (photographer), Emma Cox (Lilac and Russian) and Lyndsey Cartwright (Honesty and Cryonite).

Next year is now pretty much booked up. Southend, Southsea, Bournemouth and Leamington-Spa are all confirmed and the dates will be posted soon. We do have 3 other dates waiting to be confirmed and I will let you know were they are next time. We are only able to do 7 venues a year and there are only certain weeks of the year that line up with school holidays so there have been places that have asked us back but they have not had a free space which fits in with us. We do our best to get around on a 2/3 year rotation but life is never that simple.

Katie Eastham wrote to say she would like to get in touch with the Little Jewels and Boys from the Preston production as she has some photos for you and Stephanie Helm-Grovas would like to get in touch with Shannon Collinge, Olivia Forshaw and Harrison Fletcher. Send an e-mail to me and I will forward it or contact the office (but remember Miss Lewis is very busy). Well that's all for now, keep working hard


April 2004

Hi Again

Sorry for the long gap between letters but we have been very busy lately. As you you know we have been doing auditions and have just completed our first project in Preston. The auditions have been huge this year with an average of 350 dancers turning up at each venue! It is great to see so much interest but it does mean there has been a lot more disappointment for those who were not accepted including several people who have worked with us before. We do our best to be fair but we can't take everyone, so those who were unlucky this time - keep trying!

The production in Preston went very well and was a good strong start to the year. We were a bit hampered by some nasty bugs going around ( I don't think we had a full cast present until the 1st performance ) and Virgin trains did their best to stop our teachers from even getting to Preston, but we got there in the end. One of the most pleasing things about Preston is that we always have a lot of boys taking part in the production, even if it means having to make more costumes ! A new departure for us this year is having an audience for the dress rehearsal which worked very well and helped lift the level of performance in the evening. We will continue this practice were venues permit it. Both the the theatre management and the staff backstage and front of house were very helpful and encouraging which made our stay very enjoyable. Thanks to everyone involved .

At the certificate ceremony commendations went to the Monsters group for their exceptional characterisation, all