The Theatre at Chipping Norton in the heart of the leafy Cotswold countryside is a picturesque small venue, which provided the dancers of Ballet Central, the graduate performing company of Central School of Ballet, with a warmly welcoming family audience and an almost full house for their annual visit. The lopsided stage is narrow but deep, giving viewers in the side galleries problematic sightlines, but this is made up for by intimacy and potential connection between viewers and doers. The company earned my profound respect for their ability to fit energetic ensemble dancing into this space without any problems or collisions.

This year’s programme promised storytelling with iconic ballet titles such as Black Swan, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. These were not simply cut down versions of full-scale classics, but re-workings made for touring and playing to the strengths of this company of talented youngsters in an unashamedly narrative conception of ballet. All set against the neutrality of black drapes, enlivened and given a sense of place by the use of props, and designer Dante Baylor’s colourful often asymmetric costumes which brought both variety and a sense of overall stylistic unity to the evening. (more…)

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Central School of Ballet’s renowned graduate performing company Ballet Central brings its annual nationwide tour to The Theatre, Chipping Norton on Saturday 2nd June at 7.45 pm. Under the artistic direction of Christopher Marney, Ballet Central’s diverse range of dance and theatre will be performed in 20 towns and cities in England and Wales across a five month period.

This season’s breadth of repertoire is testament to the distinguished choreographers that support the young dance company: Matthew Bourne of New Adventures honours Ballet Central with the Fairies Prologue from his gothic-reworking of Sleeping Beauty and, for the first time, Ballet Central will present an excerpt from FAR by multi award-winning choreographer and director Wayne McGregor.

After the success of last year’s Romeo & Juliet, choreographer Jenna Lee returns to Ballet Central with her brand new creation Black Swan, a dark twist on the iconic classic.

To celebrate the life and work of Kenneth MacMillan, Ballet Central introduces an excerpt from his rarely-seen 1983 ballet Valley of Shadows inspired by Georgio Bassani’s haunting novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis.

And finally, to close this year’s performance, Christopher Marney will revive scenes from Christopher Gable’s Cinderella on the 25th anniversary of its creation. Set to an acclaimed score by Ballet Central’s resident composer Philip Feeney, this is a timeless version of a much-loved fairy tale.

Ballet Central is the touring company of Central School of Ballet in London, one of the leading centres for professional dance training and education. Students in the final year of their three-year BA (Hons) degree course in Professional Dance and Performance join Ballet Central to gain invaluable touring experience before graduation, enabling them to join premier dance companies.  Recent Central graduates are currently employed with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company, English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Ballet Ireland, National Ballet of Estonia, Ballet Black, Northern Ballet, K Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Singapore Dance Theatre, Michael Clark Company, The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera and An American in Paris.

Performance:  Saturday 2nd June 7.45pm

Venue:  The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon OX7 5NL

Tickets:  Adults £15.50, concessions £13.50

Book online here, or call the Box Office on 01608 642350

For more information visit: www.balletcentral.co.uk and www.centralschoolofballet.co.uk

Twitter: @balletcentral
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