English National Ballet in residence at Tate Britain

From the 27 February – 4 March 2012 English National Ballet took up residence in the Duveen Gallery at the Tate Britain, bringing to life their new Picasso and Modern British Art Exhibition with performances, rehearsals, talks, discussions and participatory workshops for all ages.

The residency, inspired by Picasso’s set and costume design for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, culminated in a performance of three specially-devised ballets, accompanied by a performance of Apollo from English National Ballet’s recent Beyond Ballets Russes season at the London Coliseum.

Members of the public gained an insight into dancer’s daily routine as the Company took class in the Duveen Gallery. The programme included dance workshops for schools, families and adult ballet classes, and included a series of talks and lecture demonstrations. There was also the opportunity for artists to sketch dancers as they re-staged Picasso’s famous Three Dancers.

Emerging Dancer Award 2013

In addition to the Emerging Dancer Competition at Queen Elizabeth Hall, on the 4 March English National Ballet took over the Clore Ballroom at the Royal Festival Hall for a day of dance activity.

Providing a fascinating insight into the demanding world of ballet and life as a professional dancer, members of the public had the chance to observe English National Ballet’s dancers in class and rehearsals. English National Ballet School students performed new work choreographed by ENB Artist Stina Quagebeur and ENBYouthCo presented their new work recently performed at REFRESH.

Students from Abacus and Telferscot Primary Schools took part in a free creative dance workshop led by ENB artists based on Harold Lander’s critically acclaimed Etudes.

Spirit Level with English Touring Opera

English National Ballet partners with English Touring Opera to deliver Spirit Level, an opera and dance project which creatively engages with adults from Freewheelers Theatre Company (an integrated theatre company) and young people with special educational needs from Sir Tim Finney School.

The narrative for Spirit Level follows the arrival on a beach of a white stork, an off-course migratory bird. The White Stork, designed and made by Jude Munden will both fly and land on the beach where it will be captured. The trapped bird sings, and both the song and the eye of the bird lead the audience to another Orphic mythological world, a place where fears are held and confronted.

Professionals including Danielle Jones, Learning and Participation Officer at English National Ballet, work alongside participants during a week of workshops in Surrey with Freewheelers Theatre Company and a week in Preston with Sir Tom Finney School. Through music, drama and dance the participants become the body and voice of the bird and play out the narrative. They perform alongside professional singers against a backdrop of animation by Babis Alexisadis. Public performances take place at the end of each week in both locations.

After a successful week of workshops in Surrey, Leatherhead Theatre hosted the performance by members of Freewheelers Theatre Company on 2 November 2011 which was well received by an audience of family, friends and members of the public.

Dancing Parallel

English National Ballet, National Dance Company Wales and Scottish Ballet present Dancing Parallel, a Big Dance 2012 project involving 60 teenagers in a dance and film epic.

Learn more...

Swanning Around at Shanghai World
Expo 2010

English National Ballet was honoured to be invited by the British Council to play a prominent part in the UK National Day celebrations at Shanghai World Expo on 8 September 2010.

Swanning Around, a major inter-cultural exchange and choreographic project, brought together 140 young dancers from Beijing, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Hong Kong and the UK to develop an original production inspired by the themes of Swan Lake. 

The creative team, including Choreographer Jenna Lee (Soloist), had two days to bring the entire production together for premiering on UK National Day at Shanghai World Expo in the presence of His Royal Highness the Duke of York. The China interpretation of Swanning Around was a great achievement and the culmination of over two years work with schools, professional artists, dance companies and partners; notably the British Council, Royal Albert Hall and WebPlay in the UK and the National Ballet of China, Hong Kong Ballet, City Contemporary Dance Company, Hong Kong Dance, Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity in China and the British Council in China.


"It was an incredible performance, and really brought home what a great project it has been in bringing together all of those school children on a fabulous journey. I'm confident the VIP guests, and the whole audience, were bowled over." - Gavin Anderson Consul (Cultural and Education), Area Director East China

Diaghilev's Ballets Russes

To recognise and celebrate the incredible legacy of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, English National Ballet's Department of Learning collaborated with new partners to inspire students across art forms to develop original work. Following the revival of the famous Ballets Russes repertoire for English National Ballet's Sadler's Wells season in June 2009, three major learning projects entitled Ballets Russes – Encounters, Ballets Russes - Design Perspectives and Rephrasing Ballets Russes explored the innovation of Ballets Russes in dance, music and design.

Ballets Russes - Encounters

Exploring the influence of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes across art forms, Ballets Russes - Encounters encouraged students to take inspiration from the music and dance to create new work. English National Ballet worked in partnership with Sadler's Wells for the dance element and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for the music strand of the project.

Participants worked with professional choreographers from English National Ballet, Wayne McGregor|Random Dance and Russell Maliphant Company and composer Sally Greaves. Participants had access to a programme of Ballets Russes events and resources to provide inspiration for their group choreographies and compositions. 

Ballets Russes – Encounters culminated with an inspiring and diverse evening of performance at the Peacock Theatre on 29 March 2010. The evening included performances by young people aged 14 to 18 years from Gable Hall School, Copthall School, Barking Abbey School, Tiffin Dance Company and older performers from Company of Elders alongside professional pieces by English National Ballet (David Dawson's Faun(e)), Russell Maliphant and Wayne McGregor|Random Dance. Live music performed by members of English National Ballet's orchestra was composed by students from Kensington and Chelsea.

Rephrasing Ballets Russes

Rephrasing Ballets Russes was a collaboration between English National Ballet and the Victoria and Albert Museum. From 17 to 31 October 2010 English National Ballet and partners were in residence at the Lecture Theatre at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Choreographers, dancers, composers, musicians and designers gave schools, families and members of the public visiting the V&A's exhibition, Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes 1909 – 1929, a unique opportunity to observe their artistic practice, ask questions and participate as they created work inspired by the themes of the exhibition and by the Ballets Russes.

These 'mini-residencies' over the two weeks in October gave audiences an insight into how the legacy of Diaghilev's Ballets Russes inspires current artistic practice. The programme included open rehearsals, seminars, lectures, participatory workshops and performances.

Ballets Russes – Design Perspectives

Ballets Russes – Design Perspectives was a partnership project between English National Ballet, London College of Fashion and the V&A. The project enabled fashion students to design collections inspired by the remarkable artistic collaborations of the Ballets Russes and commissioned English National Ballet Artist Stina Quagebeur to create new choreography inspired by the Ballets Russes. The project culminated with a spectacular event in the V&A's Raphael Gallery and Lecture Theatre on the evening of 19 November 2010.

The event celebrated the achievements of this project with an exclusive performance of the new choreography performed by six English National Ballet dancers, in costumes created by London College of Fashion students, to music by Philip Glass in the V&A's Raphael Gallery. A multi-media exhibition was also featured in this stunning gallery and the V&A's Lecture Theatre hosted the screening of a film produced by Bunker Design fusing collections designed by London College of Fashion students and choreography by Stina Quagebeur.

See a snapshot of the evening's events in this link by Christopher Cunniff.

London College of Fashion students' designs were also showcased in two photoshoots at English National Ballet's studios with ten dancers and with models at English National Ballet's costume and set storage facility in Marden. 

Click here for a look at the photoshoot at English National Ballet's studios. Film by Andy Lee, Filmaker, London College of Fashion.

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