A STAR-STUDDED GALA EVENING OF DANCE AND SONG IN AID OF THE YORKSHIRE BALLET SUMMER SCHOOL
Celebrating its 40th anniversary
SADLER’S WELLS – Sunday September 29th at 7.00pm
Tickets: £12 to £85
Hosted by SIR ANTHONY DOWELL and SIR DEREK JACOBI and with stars of the ROYAL BALLET, BIRMINGHAM ROYAL BALLET, SCOTTISH BALLET, NORTHERN BALLET, ENGLISH NATIONAL BALLET and more guests to be announced
Yorkshire Ballet Summer School is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary this year with a star-studded, glamorous gala evening at Sadler’s Wells on Sunday September 29th. Featuring a truly mouth-watering cast of world class dancers, actors, singers and musicians, the YBSS gala will be hosted by Sir Anthony Dowell and Sir Derek Jacobi who will introduce possibly the most extraordinary array of talent that has ever been assembled for one evening of pure delight.
The YBSS gala will open with a short film by Michael Nunn and William Trevitt of BalletBoyz about the Yorkshire Summer Ballet School followed by remarkable footage of a 14 year old Brandon Lawrence, ex-YBSS student, and now with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. The Gala’s distinguished hosts, Sir Anthony Dowell and Sir Derek Jacobi will introduce guests throughout the evening.
The programme will feature Wayne Sleep and Samantha Bond performing We’re A Couple of Swells (originated by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland in Easter Parade); dancers from Northern Ballet in Bitter Earth choreographed by Kenneth Tindall; Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball singing, possibly together; Elizabeth Harrod, Soloist with The Royal Ballet performing in You to music by Keaton Henson; Le Corsaire performed by ENB soloist Lauretta Summerscales; the BalletBoyz and the Talent 2013. And that’s not all – there are more surprises in the pipeline…
The YBSS grew out of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars which were started in a local church hall by ex-Royal Ballet dancer and teacher David Gayle MBE back in 1973 to give local youngsters with neither funding nor dance contacts the chance to meet ballet professionals and learn about opportunities to further their ballet interests. Within two years the Seminars had morphed into the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School, the country’s first residential ballet course at Ilkley College. The School was opened by Dame Ninette de Valois and the first masterclass was taught by Dame Alicia Markova.
“The idea was akin to talent scouting,” says Marguerite Porter, who began teaching at the YBSS in 1990 when she retired as senior principal ballerina from the Royal Ballet and took over as director in 2005 when David retired. “We wanted to help regional children to meet and be seen by experienced artists and teachers who could channel them towards the appropriate further education needed to become classical dancers. 40 years later we are still in a privileged position because of our contacts in the ballet world and are so pleased to be able to continue directing promising students to vocational schools and to bringing in world class teachers to the YBSS.”
Over the years the YBSS has attracted some of the highest quality ballet talent and YBSS scholarships have been given to Kevin O’Hare (Director of the Royal Ballet), David Bintley CBE (director, Birmingham Royal Ballet), David Pickering (Soloist, Royal Ballet), Elizabeth Harrod (Soloist, Royal Ballet), Samara Downs (Soloist, Birmingham Royal Ballet) and Brandon Lawrence (Birmingham Royal Ballet) to name but a few.
Now based at York St John University in the city of York, over 180 students are expected this year to attend masterclasses with teachers such as Sir Anthony Dowell, Donald McCleary, Laurent Novis (Paris Opera), David Pickering (RB) and more. YBSS is a fully registered charity and is funded entirely by the generous support and contributions from private individuals, foundations, and trusts.
Says Gala Director and actor Richard Clifford: “We are thrilled to present such an incredible line-up of world famous talent, all of whom are giving their time to perform for us at Sadler’s Wells. We are deeply grateful to all the performers for their generosity in making sure the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School can look forward to the next 40 years. As a Trustee of the YBSS I know how difficult it is to raise funds for the scholarships and to keep a vocational school such as ours going in these straightened economic times. It cannot be done without the generous support of the public, from those who love dance and those who just want to help kids who have a talent but cannot afford to express it.”