Ballet Central

Heidi Hall, Director

Heidi Hall first joined Central School of Ballet as a pre-senior pupil, going on to complete professional training and graduating in 1995. She performed in the 10th Anniversary Tour of Ballet Central in the same year. Heidi was taught by the late Christopher Gable, founder of Central, and worked with him in Northern Ballet Theatre's production of Cinderella at Sadler's Wells. Heidi has had an extensive performance career notably playing the principal role of Meg Giry in Phantom of the Opera in the West End production and toured extensively in the UK and in Europe. She appeared in The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum with the Bolshoi Ballet and has worked with Cameron Mackintosh, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gillian Lynne and Hal Prince.

Alongside her performance career Heidi has taught in many vocational colleges and been involved in musical theatre workshops and various educational projects, including working for the educational department at English National Ballet. On retiring from the stage Heidi moved into arts management roles, focusing on both fundraising and creative projects including working for the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Sage Gateshead and most notably the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

In 2012 Heidi returned to Central School of Ballet as Company Manager to Ballet Central. She was subsequently promoted to Deputy Director and then in September 2016 appointed as Director of Central School of Ballet. In 2018 Heidi was recognised with the Rising Chief Executive Award by the annual Third Sector Awards. Heidi is on the Board of Trustees at Ballet Black.

Christopher Marney, Artistic Director

Christopher is in his third year in post as Artistic Director of Ballet Central, having studied as a dancer under the direction of Christopher Gable, and completed his Master’s Degree in Choreography at Central. As a dancer Chris has worked for Balletboyz, Gothenburg Ballet, Ballet Biarritz, Bern Ballet, Michael Clark Company, Ivan Putrov’s Men in Motion & Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures where he has danced many principal roles. The Critics Circle National Dance Awards nominated him for Outstanding Performance in Modern Dance two years running as well as being included in Dance Europe’s Outstanding Male Dancer 2013 list. As a choreographer he has created works for Ballet Black, Images of Dance, English National Ballet’s Emerging dancer competition, Regensburg Opera House and the Edinburgh festival. In London’s West-End Chris has choreographed McQueen The Play, Tell Me on a Sunday, Hotel Follies and was the Associate Choreographer for Matthew Bourne's New Adventures. He was named associate artist of the UK Foundation for Dance in 2009 and is a patron of the Chelmsford Ballet.

Carole Gable, Rehearsal Coach

Carole joined the Royal Ballet Touring Company in 1958 and soon danced soloist roles including the Queen of the Wilis in Giselle and the Lilac Fairy in Sleeping Beauty. Her main career was spent at The Royal Ballet in Covent Garden, where she created a number of roles for John Cranko and Kenneth MacMillan, most notably one of the three Harlots in MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet and her portrayal of Helena in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Dream.

On leaving the Company, Carole pursued a freelance career in films and television before retiring from the stage to bring up her two children. After completing the Professional Dancers Teaching Course at the Royal Academy of Dancing she taught for four years at the Bush-Davies School before becoming a founding full-time member of Central School of Ballet faculty in 1982.

Elia Luyando, Head of Senior School

Elia studied at the National Art School, La Habana, Cuba. On graduation Elia joined the National Dance Company, Mexico City, dancing the complete Classical and Contemporary Dance repertoire. In 1998 she was invited to stay with Limon's company in New York for six months following which Elia became teacher and Director's assistant of the National Dance Company, Mexico and also taught ballet technique to different contemporary dance groups in Mexico.

From 2000 - 2005 Elia worked in several schools in Japan, teaching ballet technique and setting up annual classical repertoire. Elia graduated from The University of London with a Certificate in Education for The Performing Arts in 2006. Elia joined Central School of Ballet in 2002.

Philip Feeney, Musical Director

Philip Feeney studied composition at Cambridge, and at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He has worked with Ballet Central from its inception, composing up to fifty scores for the company. He has composed extensively for dance, collaborating with many different and varied choreographers including Christopher Gable, Michael Pink, Didy Veldman, Cathy Marston, David Nixon, Sharon Watson and Adam Cooper for companies as diverse as Northern Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Cullberg Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Scottish Dance Theatre. He has also established an enduring collaboration with choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan, most notably on Giselle and the award winning The Bull for Fabulous Beast.

The fruits of his long-standing association with Northern Ballet are eight full-length ballets, including two versions of Cinderella, the classic original production by Christopher Gable (1993) and a new interpretation for David Nixon’s production of 2013. With choreographer, Michael Pink, he has assembled an impressive back catalogue of full-length narrative ballets, leading from the celebrated Dracula (originally created for Northern Ballet Theatre) to the landmark works produced for Milwaukee Ballet, Peter Pan (2010), Mirror Mirror (2014), and The Picture of Dorian Gray (2016). His latest ballet in a series of rewarding collaborations with choreographer Cathy Marston, for whom he has written scores for the critically acclaimed ballets, Jane Eyre, and The Suit for Ballet Black, will be Victoria, which will receive its world premiere by Northern Ballet in March.

Jenna Lee, Company Manager

Jenna specialises in neo-classical collaborations and innovative choreographic pieces. She trained classically before dancing professionally as a Soloist with English National Ballet for 12 years. Collaborating with World Dance Champions Flawless, she choreographed a dynamic show that fused ballet, breakdancing and acrobatics. She has also worked internationally on a cross-cultural project in Shanghai choreographing for 200 students across China and the UK. Jenna’s avant-garde Nutcracker that she choreographed with digital animations, ballet and live music is currently on a world tour. Her company JLee Productions provides bespoke entertainment for events and includes clients such as Citroen, Sony and Harrods. Her work has appeared on productions for Sky, ITV and Channel 4. Last year Jenna choreographed a piece for the Classical Brit Awards that was performed at The Royal Albert Hall. Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami is currently performing two of her works. This year Jenna is working with Northern Ballet on a production of Puss In Boots that she has directed and choreographed, which is currently touring the UK and will also be shown on CBBC. Jenna has created Black Swan and excerpts from Romeo & Juliet for Ballet Central and continues to develop her relationship with the school and company as MA Choreography student and Company Manager.

Claire Nicolas, Costumier

Claire is a costume production manager and costume maker. Originally from France, she studied fashion design in Paris at the Atelier Chardon-Savard. Here she discovered her love for costume and stage wear. In 2007, she moved to London after briefly working in the French film industry. Claire has specialised in costume production management over the last 11 years, keeping a hand in dressmaking and designing. She has worked for some of the most renowned British institutions, including the English National Opera, the Royal Opera House and Sadler’s Wells. Her latest project took place in Ireland at the Wexford Opera Festival. Claire will be supervising the 2019 summer and spring season at the Theatre By The Lake, in Keswick, Cumbria.

Andy Murrel, Lighting Designer

Andrew trained at LAMDA and began his career at the Thorndike Theatre in Leatherhead and then moved to the Old Vic Theatre Waterloo. His recent lighting design work includes:

New Adventures; Mr Wonderful Memorial Gala, Sadler’s Wells, Early Adventures UK Tour and Sadler's Wells. As an associate Andrew has worked with Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures for the last 15 years recreating the company's work on four continents. Shows include Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Nutcracker!, The Car Man, Edward Scissorhands, Dorian Gray, Play Without Words and Highland Fling.

Other work includes ZooNation; Mad Hatter’s T Party, Roundhouse 2017, Linbury Theatre 2015; Into the Hoods, Remixed London & UK Tour; Groove on down the road, Queen Elizabeth Hall; Cabaret, Bloomsbury Theatre; Blue Boy Entertainment Disruption, The Barbican; Celebrity Autobiography, Leicester Square Theatre; David Michelak's Slow Dancing, Village Underground; Dylan Moran LIVE!, The Palace and Wyndhams Theatre, London; The Judas Kiss, Toronto, New York, London and UK Tour; Derren Brown, London and UK tours

Andrew was awarded the "Phillips Outstanding achievement in Lighting" Technical Theatre Award in 2015.

Alex Ralls, Stage Manager

Following over 20 years experience in the events industry, Alex is experienced at organising small and large-scale events.

Originally trained at Guildford School of Acting in Production Management, Alex has managed a diverse range of events from private ‘pop’ concerts and parties to residential conferences and touring and open air theatre productions to festivals.

A ‘hands on’ approach has seen Alex Production Manage or Showcall high profile events including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s (William and Kate) first royal engagement in Kensington Palace Gardens, Elton John’s Annual White Tie and Tiara Balls, Petra Ecclestone’s wedding as well as productions viewed by audiences of 10,000+ in Trafalgar Square.

Alex has worked in education for a number of years during which time he has worked as a theatre consultant on a number of school based theatres including Arlington Arts Centre, the first National Theatre for profoundly deaf children, based at Mary Hare School.

With a professional, calm and hard-working approach, Alex always looks to exceed your expectations and can offer the personal touch throughout any project. He only takes on work that he can deliver on and so he can guarantee that any project he works on will get his full attention. He has excellent customer service skills and so on-site management is one of his specialties.

Andrew Ellis, Technical Manager

Andrew is a London-based lighting designer working across the UK and internationally  in ballet, contemporary dance, musical theatre, plays and opera at all scales.

A graduate of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Andrew has almost 20 years of industry experience and has traveled the world with his own designs and also relighting work by designers including Chris Davey, Michael Hulls, Natasha Chivers and Jackie Shemesh.

Andrew has also worked as technical/production manager with National Youth Ballet for over 14 years and with BalletBoyz for seven years. 

Regular clients include Selladoor, Urdang Academy, National Youth Ballet, BalletBoyz, New English Ballet Theatre & Tring Park School of Performing Arts.
 
Always eager to take on a challenge and try something new, Andrew derives particular enjoyment from lighting the body sculpturally and responding to music and movement with light.

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