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A decade of training the ballet stars of the future

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The Academy of Northern Ballet is celebrating a decade of providing world-class professional ballet training to promising young dancers with the 10th anniversary of its Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) professional programme. Graduates of the Academy’s CAT programme have gone on to vocational training at some of the world’s leading ballet schools and have secured professional contracts with companies including Northern Ballet, Hamburg Ballet and Ballet Black.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the CAT professional programme, the Academy of Northern Ballet will be hosting a summer garden themed fundraising Gala at its Leeds city-centre home on 29 June 2014. The Gala, which is organised by Northern Ballet’s Leading Soloist, Hannah Bateman, will include exclusive performances by the Academy’s CAT students, past and present, as well as afternoon tea and a drinks reception. The event is intended to raise much needed funds for the Academy to enable it to continue to offer the highest quality of ballet training outside of London.

The Academy of Northern Ballet is the official school of Leeds-based Northern Ballet, one of the UK’s foremost professional ballet companies, and specialises in offering a holistic approach to teaching, nurturing and inspiring the professional dancers of the future. Northern Ballet is the only recognised Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) in the UK specialising in classical ballet, identifying children with exceptional potential in dance and developing their talent through professional training. The Academy is lead by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director, David Nixon OBE and his wife, the renowned international former ballerina, Yoko Ichino, Ballet Mistress at Northern Ballet and pioneer of the Ichino training technique.

The first students on the CAT professional programme joined the Academy in 2004 and are now in the early stages of their professional careers. Matthew Topliss, who joined the Academy in the CAT programme’s first year went on to finish his training at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland before earning a professional contract with Northern Ballet in 2012. This year’s graduating students have secured places for further training at some of the leading vocational schools in the world including the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and English National Ballet School.

Academy Programmes Manager, Faye Cardwell said: “The Academy of Northern Ballet is privileged to be able to offer world-class professional ballet training to young people through our CAT professional programme. We have seen some amazingly talented young dancers pass through our doors over the last 10 years and have given them the highest quality of training enabling them to pursue a career as a professional dancer.

Many children have to move away from home to residential schools to access world-class pre-professional training. The Academy of Northern Ballet offers the same level of exceptional training from our purpose-built facility in Leeds making it possible for young people from Yorkshire and the wider area to pursue their dreams without needing to leave their families.

We look forward to continuing to watch the progress of our graduates as we nurture the development of our current students over the next decade and we hope that people will join us to celebrate the first 10 years of the CAT programme at our Gala. This fundraising event will, we hope, provide much needed resources for the Academy to continue to help promising young dancers in the area to pursue their dreams with the highest standard of training.” 

The Gala performance will take place in Northern Ballet’s Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre and will see current CAT programme students perform as well as returning CAT graduates. Performers include Matthew Topliss who is creating an original piece with Northern Ballet’s Ballet Master Daniel de Andrade for the event, Andrew Tomlinson, who has been training at Canada’s National Ballet School since graduating from the Academy of Northern Ballet in 2012, and Charlotte Tonkinson, who graduated in 2013 and was the Academy’s first graduate to go on to train at the Royal Ballet Upper School.

At the Gala, guests can meet and mingle with key members of the Academy including Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director David Nixon OBE and Yoko Ichino, Academy Associate Director and Ballet Mistress for Northern Ballet. Guests will also enjoy an afternoon tea, provided by Catering Yorkshire with locally sourced ingredients and a drinks reception after the performance.

The Gala will take place at Northern Ballet, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PA from 1pm – 5pm on 29 June 2014. Tickets are on sale now and are priced at £50 per person or £75 for a pair. Tickets for the performance and drinks reception only are also available for £30 per person. To book, visit theatreleeds.com, or call the box office on 0113 220 8008. All proceeds will go towards supporting the dancing stars of the future. For more information visit northernballet.com/academy.

For more information about the Academy of Northern Ballet’s ongoing fundraising and to find out how you can support the Academy, please email info@northernballet.com or call 0113 220 8000.

Press release date: 
Tue 10 Jun 2014