The London Ballet Circle was pleased to host Jamiel Devernay-Laurence, the innovative founder of Ballet Nights and esteemed former soloist of Scottish Ballet, in conversation with Deborah Weiss.
Delving into his formative years, Jamiel reminisced about his initial ballet lessons, taught by his mother. This foundation spurred him to pursue professional dance training in Tring, eventually leading him to the renowned Central School of Ballet. His dedication and talent were evident when, post-graduation, he secured a position at Scottish Ballet. He danced with Scottish Ballet for 13 years and earned the position of soloist. It was during this period that Jamiel developed a keen interest in choreography and the creative aspects of dance.
The evening’s conversation then shifted to Jamiel's brainchild, the highly celebrated Ballet Nights. Conceived during a late-night discussion with Henry Dowden, a friend and dancer with English National Ballet, Ballet Nights represents Jamiel's vision for a unique ballet experience. Jamiel elaborated on the financial, logistical, and technical challenges of putting on these events and expressed his desire to integrate modern technology into ballet while preserving some traditions – he quipped that he will happily engage with AI but also still print a programme! A distinguishing feature of Ballet Nights, as Jamiel highlighted, is his role as compere. He shared his thoughts on the role this plays in ensuring audiences are not only entertained but also well-informed, ensuring a more inclusive gala experience.
This insightful discussion offered a rare glimpse into the mind of a ballet entrepreneur, painting a picture of passion, creativity, and ingenuity. Many LBC members will be looking forward to attending Ballet Nights in the near future, and seeing what the future of dance holds.
A full report of this report will be made available on this website in due course.