English National Ballet’s Youth Dance Company launched in April 2012. ENBYouthCo dancers train in both ballet and contemporary dance technique whilst learning about the classical company repertoire. The dancers are encouraged to explore different styles of dance and research choreographers to find their own personal inspiration as a dancer in training.
English National Ballet and ENBYouthCo aim to:
• be a representative for ballet in the youth dance sector
• provide a platform for young dancers in training
• provide high quality technique classes, choreographic and performance opportunities
• assist dancers in their applications for vocational schools
• give access to the main company and provide opportunities to see performances, attend talks, meet company dancers and interact with members of the artistic team.
The dancers have varied experience but the majority of them attend after school classes and/or associate classes on the weekends. A handful of the dancers also attend the Centre for Advanced Training programmes (CAT) at institutions including DanceEast, The Place and Trinity Laban. The dancers receive weekly technique classes in both ballet and contemporary led by the youth company’s Artistic Director, Holly Noble. They have worked with a number of guest teachers including Renato Paroni, George Williamson, Anna Watkins and Jonathan Lee as well as been observed by Artistic Director Tamara Rojo and a number of English National Ballet Company Dancers.
ENBYouthCo have performed at a number of locations and events across London. Their inaugural performance was as part of Wayne McGregor's Big Dance Trafalgar Square 2012. In December 2012 ENBYouthCo was selected as one of the leading youth companies in the country performing a new work as part of ReFresh at The Place. The music for the performance was selected by hip hop artist Jonzi.D and the dancers received mentoring from Kerry Nicholls. In March 2013 the youth company performed at the Clore Ballroom as part of English National Ballet’s Emerging Dancer event and again at Richdance 2013. Following on from these performances, they were invited to dance at the Michaelis Theatre as part of the closing performance at Roehampton University’s dance festival.
English National Ballet’s Artistic Director, Tamara Rojo attended a rehearsal with the dancers in May 2013 where she gave one on one coaching to the dancers. Following on from this she invited the dancers to be extras in Petrushka which will be performed with the main company at the London Coliseum in July as part of A Tribute to Rudolf Nureyev programme.
The youth company has also been given opportunities to observe company rehearsal and watch performances at the theatre. Since starting the youth company members have had the chance to watch Nutcracker, Strictly Gershwin, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ecstasy and Death and Emerging Dancer. In June they were invited to watch a dress rehearsal of Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall. These experiences all contribute to their learning and growth as a dancer and are an imperative part of the youth company programme.
ENBYouthCo members from the 2012/2013 cohort have been successful in securing places at Rambert School, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Northern Ballet, Tring Park and Central School of Ballet. Some have been offered full scholarships to attend these schools.
Reviews from Refresh at The Place
“English National Ballet’s ENB YouthCo is introduced by Jonzi D, who has chosen “abstract, atmospheric, crazy” music by electronica producer Flying Lotus for the group. Tribe certainly illustrates the refresh project’s ambition of moving youth companies outside their usual comfort zones, as it looks nothing like a typical youth ballet piece. Holly Noble’s dancers are floor-bound, responding to the rhythms in the music with stamping feet and pounding fists, flexing knees and elbows into strong geometric shapes. Instead of tutus and unitards, they wear long sweaters and knee-pads. If there’s a classical piece this most resembles it’s probably Rite Of Spring; against the stuttering electronic pulses of the soundtrack, Tribe sends its dancers into packs, rippling and rolling across the stage as one primal body.” Lise Smith, londondance.com
Feedback from 2012/13 dancers
“The thing I have learnt most from the youth company is self-belief. If I hadn’t auditioned for ENBYouthCo I don’t think I would have been successful in my auditions for dance education. Holly and ENB have made me believe that I am as good as others and that with determination I can be better.”
“Working at ENBYouthCo has made me a lot more confident. I had 3 auditions this year and found that I was able to stand at the front, be prepared and make myself seen. I knew how to engage in interviews and it gave me strong hooks to discuss dance.”
“My technique and performance skills have enhanced but mostly my confidence has really grown and continues to do so. The youth company has made me realise how much I would love to work in a ballet company when I am older.”
“I have really enjoyed performing at all the different events and watching ENBYouthCo grow. We have come a long way since our very first performance and I am very proud.”
“I love to meet the dancers, watch company class, work with guest teachers and choreographers.”
“An amazing experience!”