Feature: Central School of Ballet at London 2012 Olympics
Central School of Ballet students entertained huge audiences during the London 2012 Olympic games. The 16 students appeared at competitions including Fencing at ExCel, Rhythmic Gymnastics at Wembley Arena, Trampolining at North Greenwich Arena and rounded off performing at the Olympic Park.
16 new graduates and one second year student aged between 18 and 20 performed a variety of new pieces created especially for the Olympics alongside selected items of repertoire from their recent nationwide Ballet Central tour.
The dancers performed specific pieces for various venues as part of the entertainment before, during and after events planned by the London Games to keep audiences engaged. The Coldplay track Clocks was the basis of a piece choreographed by Sara Matthews and Leanne King for the Fencing Competition staged at ExCel. A site specific dance used the Pulp’s Common People as its soundtrack and was choreographed by Andrew McNicol. The dancers moved dynamically between the fencing pistes encouraging audiences at ExCel to focus around the arena. All pieces were costumed by the LOCOG creative team with references to British fashion and culture from the past 50 years.
For the Rhythmic Gymnastics at Wembley Arena Central School of Ballet created a piece to the Bowie track Boys Keep Dancing. Performed by 2nd year student Thomas Edwards and recent graduate Jacob Wye the balletic and athletic style of the dance performed by the male dancers was in contrast to the female gymnasts.
The International Gymnastic Federation invited the students to perform at the North Greenwich Arena for the opening of the Trampolining, staged on the run up to the vault apparatus.
Two contemporary dances were also performed; a new piece called Code created by Sharon Watson (Artisitc Director of Phoenix Dance) and finally a piece called And then their hopes soared… created by Central School of Ballet’s Director Sara Matthews. Both were staged in front of an enthusiastic audience in the Olympic Park during the Games.
Sara Matthew’s commented on the involvement of the 16 students:
It has been a truly unique opportunity for our new graduates to perform at the Olympics with such enthusiastic worldwide audiences. And a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the sheer hard work and athleticism that unites dance at this level with the world’s leading sportsmen and women.
More about Central School of Ballet:
Entrance to Central School of Ballet is by audition which are held every spring, a process that involves performing for the school’s teaching staff, all of whom are ex professional dancers themselves. The course’s main focus is on classical ballet supported by contemporary dance as an additional subject, and also includes tuition in choreography, Spanish dance, pilates, jazz dance, drama, singing and contextual studies.
During the final year of the course all students join the school’s touring company Ballet Central. Ballet Central’s annual nationwide tour brings new and much loved dance pieces by leading choreographers performed by some of the dance profession’s best new talent to regional theatres including the Lowry in Salford Quays and the Linbury Studio Theatre at the Royal Opera House.
Graduates go on to join the world’s premier dance companies. Recent students have been employed by Birmingham Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Scottish Ballet, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Slovakia Ballet, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo and many more.
Find out more: www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk