Evelyn Cisneros-Legate also came on tour to London as part of the Center for Dance Education's tour program. She hosted a special matinee for students and families, and taught a master class Friday at the Central School of Ballet for senior students. Cisneros-Legate was assisted by S.F. Ballet soloist Peter Brandenhoff. Students prepared for the special class by watching the Ballet perform at Sadler's Wells.
While I was in London two years ago, covering PNB's season at Sadler's Wells, former San Francisco Ballet dancer and teacher, Antonio Castilla, was kind enough to take me on a tour of the Central School of Ballet. I had intended to write a piece on it for CriticalDance, but wasn't able to interview its director (my bad, not hers)and so I made the decision to wait until my next trip across the pond, so as to be able to offer the most complete picture possible to readers. Hopefully, that will happen sometime this year.
The school is a full-curriculum academy offering academic subjects, as well as a broad spectrum of dance training in ballet, modern, character and jazz, with a crack faculty, among them several stellar guest teachers. Mr. Castilla's responsibilities include directing the school's touring company that travels from town to town throughout England. Many of its graduates dance in companies around the world, or find jobs in musicals in London's West End. The physical layout of the school, its esprit de corps, and the enthusiasm of the teaching staff very much reminded me of New York's High School of Performing Arts before it became part of La Guardia High School, except for one thing: it is not a free, public school. The tuition was approximately 20,000 Euros two years ago. I was happy to read that Evelyn Cisneros was able to give the Central School of Ballet a little taste of the "Dance in the Schools" outreach program that she and Chip O'Neill have made such a great success at San Francisco Ballet School.
<small>[ 17 October 2004, 06:16 AM: Message edited by: Toba Singer ]</small>