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Viki Westall

Classical Ballet Teacher
Viki Westall

Viki was born in Alderley Edge, Cheshire and began ballet lessons at 5 years old, progressing to White Lodge at 11 and then continuing her training at the Hammond School, Chester. At the age of 17 she joined London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet) under the artistic directorship of Dame Beryl Gray and spent 7 years with the company dancing in all the major classics (Swan Lake, Nureyev's Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet, Coppelia, Giselle, Cranko's Onegin, La Sylphide) both in England and abroad (China, Venezuela, France, Denmark and Italy). She danced the principal role of Pigtails in Graduation Ball and many other soloist parts. With directors John Fields and then Peter Schaufuss she worked alongside many international guest artists and inspirational choreographers.

In 1986 Viki joined Northern Ballet, becoming a principal the following year under the artistic directorship of Christopher Gable. During her time with the Company she created many roles including the Nurse in Romeo & Juliet , Mrs Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol, The Stepmother in Cinderella, and Dancing Girl in Swan Lake. She danced the principal roles of Giselle, Juliet, Swanhilda (Coppelia), Odile (Swan Lake), Kitri (Don Quixote), Berthe Morisot (Memoire Imaginaire), Alice (Alice in Wonderland) and The Woman in Red (Liaisons Amoreuses) many, many times! She was also noted for her performances of Queen of the Wilis in Giselle, The Pianist in Flemming Flindt's The Lesson, Stepsister in Cinderella, Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet and Elizabeth Lowry, performing alongside Christopher Gable in Gillian Lynn's A Simple Man. Viki was also a guest artist abroad, dancing in New York and Florida and performing Odette/Odile throughout Germany.

In 1996 Viki retired from the stage and re-trained, returning to Northern Ballet to work as Events Manager until January 1998. On finding it difficult to sit still, she joined Northern Ballet School in Manchester in September 1998 as Head of Classical Dance, a post she held for three years. Whilst there she choreographed and staged The Nutcracker and Coppelia for Manchester City Ballet. She also began, at Christopher's request, teaching the Northern Ballet Associates. From 2002 - 2004 Viki was part of the faculty at London Studio Centre, and also a guest teacher for the RAD, BBO and ISTD organizations, and other vocational schools.

During the summer of 2000 Viki spent two weeks at BalletMet, Ohio training with Yoko Ichino and learning her technique. Since then she has worked consistently with Yoko teaching both the Associate and Professional programmes at Northern Ballet.

Viki is a qualified Body Control Pilates teacher of both matwork and reformer, and also writes and reviews for Dance Europe magazine.

Image - Viki Westall as Giselle, photo dancers own.