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: Matthew Bourne, Kenneth MacMillan, Wayne McGregor, Frederick Ashton, 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Meet the 2023 Ballet Central Company involving final year students at the Central School of Ballet.
The 2023 Ballet Central repertoire promises to deliver exciting theatricality, technical excellence and drama choreographed by international dance industry influencers. Find out more here.
Meet the 2023 creative team who will help bring the 2023 Ballet Central repertoire to life.
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.
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.