As the 2023/24 ballet season kicks off, the London Ballet Circle hosted Céline Gittens “In Conversation” with dance writer Gerald Dowler. Céline is a principal dancer at Birmingham Royal Ballet, where she has been delighting audiences for years, and will be performing in Carlos Acosta’s hotly anticipated new production of Black Sabbath – The Ballet. But Black Sabbath is only the latest role in a long and successful career.
Céline recounted her early childhood in Trinidad and the impact that her mum, a Royal Academy of Dance teacher, had on her. She also talked about her dance education, the importance of supportive teachers, competitions, and moving to the UK. Upon arrival in the UK, Céline joined Birmingham Royal Ballet. She recounted some of the challenges of joining a touring company – “it was fast, you just had to keep up with everything happening around you!” Céline shared a myriad of anecdotes – everything from learning the ‘Fred Step’ for the first time and adapting to company life, to building up the flawless technique for which she is known and her experiences performing across the world – including at Sydney Opera House.
Alongside her career on stage, Céline set up the ‘Céline Gittens Introduction to Dance Scholarship’ earlier this year. The scholarship is designed to widen access and introduce new students to dance, as well as providing financial support. Céline said she was inspired to set this up by her mum’s work in Trinidad, as well as a desire to give back and get more people involved in dance.
A full report of this talk will be available on this website in due course.