An afternoon spent at the English National Ballet School is always an afternoon well-spent. The LBC’s most recent visit was no exception! A warm welcome from Viviana Durante (Artistic Director), Paulo Gomes (Head of Development) and Amanda Skoog (Executive Director), preceded the rehearsal of two pieces which will be included in the end of year performances at The Peacock Theatre.
We began by watching the First and Second Year Men working on a piece made for the ENBS by free-lance choreographer, Andrew McNichol. During the pandemic of 2020, Andrew, via zoom, created Of Space & Time for the students of the English National Ballet School. It premiered at the Roundhouse London and was filmed in collaboration with the BalletBoyz. Of Space & Time has been viewed by more than 100,000 people online. Thanks to the tremendous coaching of teachers David Yow and Michael Berkin, a large audience will see this piece at The Peacock Theatre. The students danced with careful attention to detail and confidence. The audience couldn’t help but react, not only to the dancing, but the obvious enjoyment displayed by these young men.
Who Cares was created by George Balanchine in 1970 for New York City Ballet. It’s a jazzy, high-energy ballet based on the music of George Gershwin. Viviana Durante danced this work in New York at a Balanchine Celebration in 1993. It was at this event that Viviana met and became friends with American dancer Deborah Wingert. As one of a small group of artists selected by the George Balanchine Trust to set his choreography, Deborah travelled to London to stage Who Cares for the graduating students. The piece is a catchy, sassy, foot-tapping ballet consisting of sections each for the men, the women and finishing with 5 pas de deux. The dancers couldn’t help but give their all with Deborah in the studio. She encouraged the students to be themselves, let their personalities shine through and have fun. They took her advice to heart! The smiles on the faces of the dancers were almost as wide as those of the members of The LBC in the audience.
As always it was a privilege and a pleasure to be invited to the school for an afternoon of rehearsal. If we were looking forward to the performances at the Peacock on July 8th and 9th before the visit, we are now counting the days until the curtain goes up!