News: Nurturing Talent

Friday 3 February 2006

International ballet leaders to set up network to address industry needs

DanceEast’s 3rd Rural Retreat: The 21st Century Dancer – Nurturing Talent, concluded on 1 February 2006 in Vevey, Switzerland with a record 32 directors of ballet companies and schools from 12 nations across four continents united in their determination to work collectively and individually to strengthen the training and professional development of dancers for the 21st century.

The directors agreed to create an international ballet network to facilitate continued dialogue and address the needs of the industry. The network will promote international exchange and champion the art form as well as ensure its relevance to the breadth of communities served by companies around the globe. A web forum will be developed imminently.

The three-day gathering allowed directors to come together for the first time to debate openly and constructively the pressing issues facing dancers and the art form in a rapidly changing globalized world. Open dialogue was stimulated by guest speakers Richard Meen M.D., D. Psych CRCP Clinical, Kinark Child and Family Service Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Serge Dorny, Director General of the Lyon National Opera, who provoked and challenged current thinking and the relevance of the art form to today’s and to future societies. Dorny asked directors to look at their heritage, seeing it afresh in the context of today’s diverse societies, ensuring widening participation and attracting new audiences.

The directors of schools and companies identified models of good practice in the selection and development of dancers from student to professional, and committed themselves to achieving smooth and effective transition between training and company life.

Concerns were raised about the level of resources available for dance training and performance. The directors recognised that like sport, ballet is an elite activity requiring rigorous training to produce professionals of outstanding excellence. Effective and appropriate collaboration with educational policy makers was felt to be paramount to ensure worldwide standards of excellence in training professional dance artists.

Assis Carreiro, Director of DanceEast said: “This Retreat has been a unique gathering of directors of both schools and companies who have come together with a wealth of backgrounds and experiences to share their vision and concerns for the future of ballet. It has been an intense and challenging journey where all have shared their issues and concerns in an environment conducive to open debate and discussion and where they have agreed to disagree in a spirit of unity and with a passion for the future of the art form.”

Sue Hoyle and Prof. Christopher Bannerman facilitated the 3rd Rural Retreat. Members of the Rural Retreats Steering Group include Assis Carreiro (Director, DanceEast), Jane Hackett (Director, Central School of Ballet), Roanne Dods (Director, The Jerwood Charitable Foundation), Sue Hoyle (Deputy Director, Clore Leadership Foundation), Prof. Christopher Bannerman (Head of Centre, RESCEN/ Middlesex University); Alistair Spalding (Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sadler’s Wells), Deborah Bull (Creative Director, ROH2/The Clore Studio), David Nixon (Artistic Director, Northern Ballet Theatre), Jeanette Siddall (Director of Dance, Arts Council England), Mavis Staines (Artistic Director, Canada’s National Ballet School / Artistic President, Prix de Lausanne), Bruce Sansom (freelance producer and Director designate of Central School of Ballet), and Jeanette Siddall (Dance Director, Arts Council England) and Cynthia Harvey (international teacher and coach).

Artistic Directors in Attendance:

1. Alberta Ballet – Jean Grand-Maitre
2. Australian Ballet – David McAllister
3. Ballet du Grand Theatre du Geneve – Philippe Cohen
4. Bayerisches Staatsballett – Ivan Liska
5. Boston Ballet – Mikko Nissinen
6. Dutch National Ballet – Ted Brandsen
7. English National Ballet – Wayne Eagling
8. Finnish National Ballet – Dinna Bjorn
9. Leipzig Ballet – Paul Chalmer **10. National Ballet of Canada – Karen Kain
11. Northern Ballet Theatre – David Nixon
12. Royal Ballet of Flanders – Kathryn Bennetts
13. Royal Swedish Ballet – Madeleine Onne
14. Stuttgart Ballet – Reid Anderson
15. The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden – Jeanetta Laurence

Ballet Schools in Attendance:

1. Australian Ballet School – Marilyn Rowe
2. Beijing Dance Academy, China – Lin Yang
3. Central School of Ballet (London) – Bruce Sansom
4. Conservatoire National Superieur de Danse de Lyon – Jean-Claude
Ciappara **5. Finnish National Ballet School – Hannele Niiranen
6. English National Ballet School – Jane Hackett
7. Elmhurst School for Dance in association with BRBMary Goodhew
8. Hamburg Ballet School – Marianne Kruuse
9. Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy – Shelley Power
10. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School (ABT) – Franco De Vita **11. John Cranko Schule – Tadeusz Matacz
12. National Ballet School of Canada – Mavis Staines
13. National Conversatoire for Dance, Prague – Jaroslav Slavicky
14. Royal Conservatory, The Hague – Wim Broeckx
15. Royal Swedish Ballet School – Kerstin Lidström
16. Schweizerische Ballettberufschule, Zurich – Oliver Matz
17. The Royal Ballet School – Gailene Stock

The 3rd Rural Retreat has been supported by Arts Council England East, The Jerwood Charitable Foundation, The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, Arts Council England, Freed of London, Harlequin Floors, the Prix de Lausanne, Ricki Gail Conway and the East of England Development Agency.

What’s On