About Ballet Central

Ballet Central was created in 1984 as the touring company of Central School of Ballet to give Central’s graduating students the opportunity of professional performing experience to ticket-buying audiences. The company visits towns and cities across the UK every spring and summer performing in mid-sized theatres. The company also performs a range of choreography at various points throughout the academic year in Central’s Gable Theatre in London’s Southwark.

Ballet Central aims to make dance accessible by bringing the talent and skills of the next generation of professional dance graduates through performances staged across the country. The company’s diverse repertoire of much-loved classics and original dance pieces created by influential choreographers appeals to first-time audiences and dance enthusiasts alike. Find out here about current performances, the repertoire and where to book tickets.

Ballet Central provides the opportunity to see dance from highly-acclaimed and emerging choreographers who collaborate with students to produce newly commissioned works and much-loved revivals.

Recent Ballet Central choreographers include: Sir Frederick Ashton, Matthew Bourne, Kenneth MacMillan, Wayne McGregor, Thiago Soares, David Bintley, Christopher Bruce, Christopher Hampson, Jenna Lee, David Nixon, Michael Pink, Darshan Singh Bhuller, Mikaela Polley, Malgorzata Dzierzon, Sophie Laplane, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Morgann Runacre-Temple and Christopher Gable.

The Ballet Central experience also provides young dancers with an understanding of all aspects of creating performance, including the staging of repertoire, costume design and technical aspects of sound and lighting.

Carolyn Bolton

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Carolyn Bolton has had her choreography performed nationally and internationally, most notably at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Operaestate Festival in Italy, National Theatre’s Riverstage, Rich Mix, Rambert, The Place, The Lowry, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and Youth America Grand Prix Competition.

In 2022, she was nominated for a Black British Theatre Award in the Achievement Category for Best Teacher. Carolyn has been invited as an academic tutor, guest instructor and lecturer in both ballet and contemporary styles for numerous schools including London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, Mountview, Shockout Arts, The Dang and Bird College.

In 2023, Carolyn was one of nine artists/companies selected by The Place for their commissioned community projects. Carolyn is currently completing her MFA in Dance Leadership and Community Practice at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She is an Inclusive Ballet Consultant and the Creative Director of English National Ballet’s Youth Company.

Carolyn created Night Flight v2.0 for the 2024 Ballet Central tour. The piece was inspired by a previous work, and then created in collaboration with the dancers over a twelve day period.

Jules Cunningham

Jules Cunningham (they/them) is from Liverpool and has worked professionally as a dancer for over twenty years, recognised for Outstanding Modern Performance by the Critics Circle National Dance Awards, 2014.

Jules has presented work in the UK and internationally. They were one of 10 commissioned artists for Art Night 2019 in London and a recipient of the 2021 Founders Prize Award at the Bethlem Gallery for their visual art work currently exhibited at the Long Gallery, Maudsley Hospital.

Jules founded Julie Cunningham & Company in 2017, to create and present work that combines clarity of form and attention to detail with an interest in gender identity, the body & its emotional states and mental health. JCC was launched at the Barbican and was associate company of Rambert in 2017. Jules has created 13 works for the company which have toured in the UK and Europe.

Jules made their main stage debut at Sadler’s Wells as a New Wave Associate in 2018 with m/y, commissioned as part of the theatre’s 20th anniversary celebration. Sadler’s Wells subsequently commissioned how did we get here?, a work for Jules, Harry Alexander and Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, which was presented across 11 nights in January 2023.

Ballet Central performed Stay On It, a new work created for the company in 2024.

Daniel Davidson

Daniel Davidson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and trained at The Dance School of Scotland and Millennium Performing Arts.

He joined Scottish Ballet in 2005 where he performed works by renowned choreographers including Richard Alston, George Balanchine, Matthew Bourne, Trisha Brown, Christopher Bruce, Jorma Elo, William Forsythe, Christopher Hampson, Kenneth MacMillan, Hans van Manen, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Ashley Page, Krzysztof Pastor, Stephen Petronio & Twyla Tharp.

From 2014-2022, Daniel danced with Rambert and performed in works by Mark Baldwin, Christopher Bruce, Kim Brandstrup, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Merce Cunningham, Ben Duke, Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar, Andonis Foniadakis, Hofesh Shechter, Wayne McGregor, Imre & Marne van Opstal, Jo Strømgren, Marion Motin, Shobana Jeyasingh, Didy Veldman, Wim Vandekeybus & Alexander Whitley amongst others.

Daniel now works as a freelance artist and choreographer. His choreographic work includes pieces for Rambert School, The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, The Dance School of Scotland, The National Theatre’s River Stage, Covent Garden Dance Company, Young Ballet Company of Scotland, Rambert’s ‘Blueprints’ Evening, Ballet Nights London, Central School of Ballet and National Youth Ballet.

In 2023 he joined Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fashion Freak Show as Assistant Choreographer to Marion Motin and is currently studying an MA in Choreography at Central School of Ballet.

Daniel choreographed I think we’re on different planets as part of his MA Choreography with Central. He then restaged it for Ballet Central in 2024.

Sir Frederick Ashton

Founder choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Frederick Ashton was born in Ecuador in 1904. At the age of 13, he saw the great ballerina Anna Pavlova when she was on tour in South America. He was captivated by her and resolved to become a great dancer. But at that time dancing was not considered a respectable career for a boy of his background. He was sent to boarding school in England and occasionally went to the ballet, but when he left school he was made to go and work in a London business.

However, he secretly started taking lessons with the famous dancer Léonide Massine and Marie Rambert and when he was forced to leave the firm he worked for, he revealed this secret to his family, who then allowed him to study dancing full time

He began to choreograph in 1926 (A Tragedy of Fashion for a Hammersmith revue) and in 1935 became chief choreographer of Vic-Wells Ballet (now The Royal Ballet), creating over 50 years such works as Le Baiser de la fée, Les Patineurs, Wedding Bouquet, Dante Sonata, Symphonic Variations, Scènes de ballet, Cinderella (first British full-length classical ballet), Ondine, Fille mal gardée, Two Pigeons, Marguerite and Armand, The Dream, Enigma Variations and A Month in the Country. He was Director of The Royal Ballet, 1963–70. He died in 1988.

In 2019, Ballet Central performed Frederick Ashton’s 1947 work Valses Nobles et Sentimentales , restaged by Lynn Wallis.

In 2023, Ballet Central performed two pieces by Sir Frederick Ashton – The Two Pigeons, staged by Isabel McMeekan and Monotones I, staged by Lynn Wallis.

Michael Pink

Michael Pink is Artistic Director of Milwaukee Ballet, USA and an International choreographer. He trained as a classical dancer at the Royal Ballet, joining English National Ballet in 1975. He worked with Christopher Gable as co-founding director of Ballet Central and Associate Artistic Director of the Northern Ballet Theatre. His work has been hailed as ‘Classical Ballet for the 21st Century’. His early choreographic work won him first place in the Frederick Ashton Choreographic Competition and the Royal Society of Arts Competition.

He has worked as répétiteur for Rudolf Nureyev at the Paris Opera and La Scala Milan. His first professional work, 1914, was nominated for a West End Theatre Award. His other works include Romeo and Juliet, Dracula, Giselle 1943, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dorian Gray, Mirror Mirror, Beauty and the Beast, Don Quixote, Strange Meeting, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, as well as works for theatre and television.

Michael is committed to the development and promotion of dance through new work, education and collaboration.

In 2023, Ballet Central performed Mirror Mirror, an excerpt from Michael’s contemporary adaption of Snow White, created in 2014 for Milwaukee Ballet.

Sophie Laplane

Sophie Laplane is a Franco-British choreographer currently Choreographer in Residence with Scottish Ballet, Scotland, where she danced with the company for thirteen years before transitioning fully into choreography.

Her inventive and playful style has evolved through several creations for Scottish Ballet. As a freelance International Choreographer, Sophie has worked with Ballet Black, premiering Click! at the Barbican, London and the digital piece Joy!. Her work with the New York Choreographic Institute with dancers from New York City Ballet features Vis-à-vis, 20/20, and the short film Yoyo created in 2021.

For Paris Opéra, she has choreographed the exciting new production of Les Noces de Figaro directed by Netia Jones and she is currently working in association with Claude Bardouil on Thomas Amboise’s Opera, Hamlet directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski. Her most recent work for 25 dancers Galantheae was performed in Salt Lake City by the Ballet West company. Sophie’s interest in dance on film developed through Scottish Ballet’s Digital Season, creating Maze that won best screen short dance film at the San Fansisco Dance festival in 2016, Indoors was nominated for the UK National Dance Awards, best short dance film and Dive co-created with James Bonas and directed by Oscar Sansom won best short dance film at the Cinedans festival.

In 2023, Ballet Central performed Dextera, originally created in 2019 for Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary.

Darshan Singh Bhuller

Darshan Singh Bhuller is an Artistic Director, Choreographer, Teacher, Dancer Film Director and Editor. Darshan became a longstanding member of world-renowned London Contemporary Dance Theatre (1979-1994) under Artistic Director Robert Cohan, and danced with Siobhan Davies Dance Company and Richard Alston, before becoming Assistant to the Director of Richard Alston Dance Company (1994-1996).

Darshan had a long relationship with Phoenix Dance Company, contributing 13 works to its repertory before being appointed Artistic Director in 2002. As Artistic Director, he rebranded to Phoenix Dance Theatre and moved the company forward as a multi-cultural company performing in larger scale venues. During his five years with Phoenix he revitalised the reputation of the company earning Company Prize for Outstanding Repertoire (Modern) in the 2006 Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards.

Darshan has since created and directed works for numerous international companies including Rambert Dance Company, Shaolin Wheel of Life, Companhia de Bailado Contemporaneo, and CandoCo. Film and digital visuals have long been a feature of Darshan’s stage work and in 1990 he started Singh Productions alongside his wife Sallie Estep. Darshan has directed numerous dance and music films throughout his career including The Fall, Robert Cohan Another Place, and NALA. NALA has accumulated nine awards and two honourable mentions in twenty-four international film festivals.

In 2023, Darshan created his original work Blind Optics on Ballet Central.

Morgann Runacre-Temple

Morgann Runacre-Temple is a freelance choreographer from London working in ballet, contemporary dance, theatre, film, and opera. She has made work for companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet, Ballet Ireland, Stuttgart Ballet, Oper Graz, Scottish Ballet, English National Ballet, Ballet Central, The Print Room, Images of Dance, Royal Ballet School, and BBC Young Dancer of the Year.

Morgann works as a movement director and choreographer in opera and theatre, working with directors including Jaz Woodcock-Stewart (Civilisation), Sam Brown (Barber of Seville WNO), Jeff James (Persuasion, Royal Exchange), Tinuke Craig and was associate choreographer to Annie B Parsons on Enda Walsh and David Bowie’s musical Lazarus, directed by Ivo Van Hove. Morgann trained at Central School of Ballet and London Contemporary Dance School and was a recipient of Dance East Rural Retreat Award for Future Dance Leaders 16/17.

With Jessica Wright, she is one half of Jess and Morgs – award winning Directors and Choreographers, creating Dance Film and Interdisciplinary stage work. Their work has been featured on Channel 4, BBC iPlayer, Canal+TV, at TATE Liverpool and at Sadler’s Wells. Their most recent production Coppélia for Scottish Ballet, premiered at this year’s Edinburgh International Festival to critical acclaim.

In 2023, Morgann created The Queue in collaboration with the dancers of Ballet Central.

Ashley Page

Trained at the Royal Ballet Schools, entering The Royal Ballet in 1975 and becoming a Principal dancer in 1984, Ashley Page worked closely with Frederick Ashton and Kenneth McMillan, creating numerous roles in new ballets by them and other leading choreographers of that period. As a choreographer since 1984, he has created many works for The Royal Ballet and other companies and developed a reputation for often daring collaborations with designers and composers. His ballet Fearful Symmetries won both an Olivier Award and Time Out Dance Award in 1994/95.

After 27 years at Covent Garden, he became Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet in 2002, re-energising and redeveloping them into an internationally renowned modern ballet company over a 10-year period, winning numerous awards and attracting critical acclaim and new audiences.

Since 2012 he has been freelancing as a choreographer and opera director, working with many ballet, contemporary dance and opera companies in the UK and internationally.

In 2022, Ashley Page created his original work Twice Removed on Ballet Central.

Kenneth MacMillan

Kenneth MacMillan was one of the leading choreographers of his generation. His close association with The Royal Ballet began when he joined Sadler’s Wells School (now The Royal Ballet School) aged 15. He was Director of the Company 1970-77 and Principal Choreographer 1977-92. His ballets are distinguished by their penetrating psychological insight and expressive use of classical language. These qualities are demonstrated in his many works for the Company, which include Romeo and Juliet, Gloria, Manon, Mayerling and Requiem. MacMillan was born in Dunfermline and discovered ballet while evacuated in Rutford during World War II. Aged 15 he forged a letter from his father to Ninette de Valois requesting an audition. He joined Sadler’s Wells School on a full scholarship, later entering the Company. He created his first major work, Danses concertantes, in 1955 and went on to become one of the world’s leading choreographers. He died backstage at the Royal Opera House during a revival of Mayerling.

In the 2019 tour Ballet Central was honoured to present an excerpt from House of Birds with grateful support from Lady MacMillan and the MacMillan estate who provided permission for Ballet Central to bring the piece to life once again.

Cathy Marston

Cathy Marston is a choreographer, Artistic Director and Clore Cultural Leadership Fellow and is Director Designate of Ballett Zurich, Switzerland. After education in Cambridge, she spent two years at the Royal Ballet School, before launching an international career now spanning over twenty-five years, most recently choreographing for companies like The Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, ABT, Joffrey Ballet, Danish Royal Ballet, Ballet Black, and Northern Ballet.
Cathy’s great gift is to join artistic dots, creating movement and form to communicate stories, emotions and ideas. As Associate Artist of the Royal Opera House for five years (2002-2007), during her six-year tenure directing the Bern Ballet in Switzerland (2007-2013) as well as founding The Cathy Marston Project (UK) and Companie La Ronde (Switzerland) she has developed an artistic signature that fuses British and European theatrical approaches as well as classical and contemporary dance techniques. She lends new perspectives to old narratives, for example in literary works like Jane Eyre, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Snowblind and Dangerous Liaisons or in biographically-inspired The Cellist and Witch-hunt. Widely recognised for her skill in telling stories through movement, she won the UK National Dance Award for The Suit (Ballet Black) and The Cellist (The Royal Ballet) as well as the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance for Victoria (Northern Ballet) in 2020, when she was also given the ‘Excellence in International Dance Award’ by the International Institute for Dance and Theatre.

For the 2022 tour, Cathy Marston’s 2020 piece Moving, Still was restaged by Jenny Tattersall.

Christopher Bruce

Christopher Bruce is one of Britain’s leading choreographers, with an international reputation. He was born in England in 1945 and started studying dance at 11 years old. After studying at the Rambert School Christopher Bruce joined Rambert Ballet in 1963, where he quickly became the leading male dancer. Bruce appeared in works such as Don Quixote in 1964 and Coppelia in 1966. In 1977 Christopher was was appointed associate director of the company and was Associate Choreographer from 1979-87, where he created over twenty works for the company. Between 1986-91 he acted as associate choreographer for London Festival Ballet, later ENB, and resident choreographer for Houston Ballet in 1989. In 1994 he became artistic director for RDC. Often political in his work, he integrates classical ballet and modern dance, often set against popular music by artists like Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones. His productions include Cruel Garden (1977), Ghost Dances (1981), Swansong (1987), and Rooster (1991).

Ballet Central presented Mya in the 2017 tour, one of Christopher’s recent works first created in 2016. The dramatic piece involves three dancers in all enveloping suits. Central’s students benefited from workshops delivered by Christopher himself.

Matthew Bourne

Matthew Bourne is firmly established as the UK’s most popular and successful choreographer and director. He is the creator of the world’s longest-running ballet production, a record-breaking nine-time Olivier Award winner, and the only British director to have won the Tony Award for both Best Choreographer and Best Director of a Musical.

Matthew started his dance training at the comparatively late age of 22 and danced professionally for 14 years, creating many roles in his own work. As artistic director of his first company, Adventures in Motion Pictures, from 1987 until 2002, Matthew created many award-winning works. Further hit productions were created when New Adventures was launched in 2002, becoming the UK’s busiest and most successful dance company and the major exporter of British dance across the world. Matthew is also a West End and Broadway choreographer; a 25-year relationship with producer Cameron Mackintosh has resulted in the globally successful musicals Mary Poppins (which is currently enjoying a West End revival), My Fair Lady and Oliver! He has seven honorary doctorates and in 2018 received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from University of Oxford. He is also a companion of Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and a proud patron of many organisations, including Tring Park School of the Performing Arts, Arts Educational Schools London and Laine Theatre Arts.

First presented by Ballet Central on the 2017 tour, Highland Fling was once again performed on the 2021 tour with the kind permission of New Adventures.

Jasmin Vardimon

A leading force in British dance theatre for twenty years, Jasmin Vardimon has built a reputation for challenging, exciting and visually stunning dance and continues to add to the body of critically acclaimed, artistically respected yet accessible work, both for the company she formed in 1998 and for some of the leading arts institutions she works with across the world.

Born and raised on a Kibbutz in central Israel, she was a member of the Kibbutz Dance Company and in 1995 was awarded the prestigious British Council ‘On the Way to London’ Choreography Award. In the late nineties she created Jasmin Vardimon Company (previously Zbang) and became an Associate Artist at Sadler’s Wells in 2006.

In 2013, Jasmin took the role of Guest Artistic Director of the National Youth Dance Company, whom she continues to support through her company educational programmes for both current NYDC dancers and its alumni. It was for this company Jasmin created (in between) which was performed by Ballet Central in 2019.

Discover more…

Book Tickets

Our diverse repertoire appeals to first-time audiences and makes us a firm favourite amongst dance enthusiasts. Find out where to book tickets for a show near you here.

The Company

Meet the 2024 Ballet Central Company involving final year students at the Central School of Ballet.

2024 Programme

The 2024 Ballet Central repertoire promises to deliver exciting theatricality, technical excellence and drama choreographed by international dance industry influencers. Find out more here.

The Creatives

Meet the 2024 creative team who will help bring the 2024 Ballet Central repertoire to life.

Support Us

By supporting the critically-acclaimed Ballet Central Company, you can give Central School of Ballet’s final year students a unique touring experience. Find out how you can help to make this a reality.

On Film

Here you will be able to see excerpts of selected repertoire from Ballet Central, Central’s graduate touring company, and trailers and special dance performances captured on film.