June 7, 2013

Press Releases


Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Principal Ambra Vallo, First Soloist Victoria Marr and Artists Kristen McGarrity and Laura Davenport will leave the Company following their Giselle performances in Birmingham and Dublin 2013.

The four Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers have made the decision to leave the Company in order to pursue new careers, some still connected to dance and some away from the art form. But all agree their experiences with Birmingham Royal Ballet have been invaluable in helping them find a passion for, and moving on to, a second career. Supporting dancers to achieve this, Birmingham Royal Ballet offers a number of Career Professional Development initiatives to its Company members whilst they are still dancing, put in place to make their move from dance performance as smooth as possible. BRB dancers are encouraged to engage in BRB training days that include studying Open University modules, a tailored-degree course in relationship with the University of Birmingham (allows dancers to study part-time, even during busy performing and touring periods) and teaching opportunities are offered at Elmhurst School for Dance and with the Company’s Learning department.  All build on the dancers’ skills and improve career chances once they leave BRB. An ongoing Company relationship with the Dancers’ Career Development organisation also helps retiring dancers fund their next life stage post-performance.

After 17 years with Birmingham Royal Ballet, the much regarded and admired Principal dancer Ambra Vallo, will leave the Company at the end of the current 12/13 season. Ambra’s Giselle performance at Birmingham Hippodrome on Friday 21 June 2013 at 6.30pm will mark her final show at the Company’s home theatre in the Midlands.  Ambra’s final performance with BRB will take place in Dublin during performances at the Bord Gáis Energry Theatre between 4 – 6 July 2013 (date to be announced).

After five weeks studying in Thailand, during the summer of 2012, Ambra became a qualified Ashtanga Vinyasa and Rocket Yoga instructor. Ambra will leave Birmingham Royal Ballet to pursue a full-time career as a yoga instructor.

Born in Naples, Ambra Vallo trained at the Royal Ballet School of Flanders. At 17 she became a Soloist with the Royal Ballet of Walloons and the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She joined English National Ballet in 1993 and was soon promoted to Senior Soloist. Ambra joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1996 and like all of the Company’s Principals has great versatility. She excels in dramatic roles, such as Juliet, Giselle and Roxane in Cyrano, shines as the vivacious Swanilda in Coppélia and Lise in La Fille mal gardée, and the effervescent Titania in The Shakespeare Suite was created for her. Recent creations of great individuality have also included the Wild Girl in Beauty and the Beast, Pimpinella in Kim Brandstrup’s Pulcinella, and the high-flying aerial in Faster. Ambra has won a number of prestigious prizes and awards, and is also much in demand as a guest artist in her native Italy.

Ambra will also graduate from the University of Birmingham in July 2013 as a Master of Philosophy in Education Studies. Ambra studied part-time at University of Birmingham from 2009-12 as part of the Birmingham Royal Ballet/University of Birmingham tailored-degree course offered to Company members.

Victoria Marr, First Soloist, will leave Birmingham Royal Ballet after almost 17 years to concentrate on a new business venture called Sleek Technique. Victoria dances her final role, Queen of the Wilis, during the Giselle performance at Birmingham Hippodrome on Friday 21 June 2013 at 6.30pm.

Victoria Marr said: “Since joining BRB in 1996, I have never stopped feeling lucky to be able to do what I love most for a living. When I then add into the equation the lifelong friends I have made, the many countries I have travelled to and all the amazing experiences that have broadened my horizons and shaped me as a person…then I really know how fortunate I have been to dance my way through a fantastic career. All this only makes the decision to hang up my pointe shoes even harder. But with a massive desire to go out (to use an old cliché) at the top of my game and with a new business venture on the horizon, now seemed like a good time to take the plunge. I am taking all my years of experience to my new online dance fitness company Bringing live, interactive, online classes to women everywhere regardless of location. Whatever I have given to BRB in my time here, I have received back tenfold and with the support of all my extended BRB family I will be dancing my last performance of Giselle at the Birmingham Hippodrome June 21st”.

Born in Scotland, Victoria Marr, trained at Elmhurst School for Dance and the Royal Ballet School. She joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1996; First Artist, 1998; Soloist 2003; First Soloist 2008.

Kristen McGarrity, Artist, will leave Birmingham Royal Ballet at the end of the Giselle performances in Dublin on Saturday 6 July 2013. Kristen will train as a dance teacher and pursue her passion for choreography, music and songwriting.

Kristen said: “After a very memorable eight years with BRB, I have decided to move on to new artistic challenges. I will continue to be involved in dance, returning to the Royal Ballet School to do their teachers’ training course as well as taking on various choreographic projects. I will also pursue my ever enduring love for music after having returned to the piano and started songwriting and composition during a challenging two years spent rehabilitating my knee from injury. I also intend to complete my psychology degree which I have been studying towards over the past few years whilst performing. I have met the most extraordinary, creative, talented people throughout my BRB career, and I feel honoured to have so many wonderful memories on stage and off to take with me as I embark upon this next exiting chapter”.

Laura Davenport, Artist, will leave Birmingham Royal Ballet at the end of the Giselle performances in Dublin on Saturday 6 July 2013. Laura has accepted a place at University of Leeds and will study midwifery.

Laura said: “My time spent at BRB has been incredibly fulfilling and, as I leave to move on to new challenges, I have only fond memories of the wonderful opportunities I’ve been given here and the talented, inspiring people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with.  Alongside performing, BRB has supported and encouraged my studies with the Open University, allowing a smooth transition to the next phase. My time spent at Elmhurst School For Dance and subsequently with the company has formed a very special part of my life; I feel truly honoured to have been part of this wonderful company, brimming with such exciting work and talent”.   

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