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 Post subject: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 8:05 am 
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At yesterday’s launch of the Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition, former ballerina Antoinette Sibley spoke fervently about the necessity to encourage young people to get involved in classical dance. She quoted the alarming figure of no fewer than 67% of youngsters dropping out of ballet classes and the need to provide a focus for them to continue, this she feels will be met by the Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition which will enable the children to get a taste of performing on stage and working alongside dance professionals. Also of concern to Dame Antoinette is the dwindling number of British principal dancers in our national companies, a mere two in both the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet with Birmingham Royal Ballet doing slightly better with three.

These figures make depressing reading and have been a source of worry to the older generation of Ballet goers for some time, as there is a real danger of classical dance in Britain becoming extinct if the trend doesn’t reverse.

The competition, which will be first staged in December this year, is funded by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation with a further donation from the Musical Opera and Ballet Trust, this latter organization being founded by Sandor Gorlinsky who was Nureyev’s agent for many years. Sir John Tooley, the Chairman of the Nureyev Foundation, spoke enthusiastically about the Foundation’s involvement realizing full well that this is an enterprise that Nureyev would have eagerly endorsed. Dame Antoinette, whom I saw dancing with Nureyev on many occasions, felt so too: raising her eyes to heaven as if to communicate with her former partner she spoke eloquently about his enthusiasm for helping young aspirants.

Later we were shown a video interview with Gillian Lynne, that extraordinary woman of the theatre whose career has encompassed both classical ballet and musical theatre as both performer and choreographer. Ms Lynne will be working with the young finalists of the competition and will choreograph solos for them.

This is a well-intentioned endeavour to encourage British talent and with this high level of backing lets hope it will prove successful.

<small>[ 03 February 2005, 10:36 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2005 10:24 am 
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Ballet heads for fall as next generation exits stage left
By Dalya Alberge in The Times


SO FEW children are showing an interest in ballet after the age of 10 that the long-term future of British ballet is in jeopardy, according to Dame Antoinette Sibley, the famous ballerina.

She said that leading companies were struggling to appoint homegrown principal dancers. Out of sixteen at the Royal Ballet only two were British— Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope. In 1985, 16 of the 21 principals were British.

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Gone lake
It is time that British ballet dancers went back on stage. Leading Article in The Times.


Dame Antoinette Sibley wants to keep young ballet stars on their toes. So the legendary ballet dancer and president of the Royal Academy of Dance has launched a ballet competition for 10 to 13-year-olds. Evidently, young people are now so distracted by texting and television that they have forgotton the Flashdancer within.

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<small>[ 03 February 2005, 11:24 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2005 8:26 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
The Fonyteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition has certainly sgenerated a lot of interest, both for the competition itself and the cause of ballet training in general.

The organisers have contacted me to say that their website has gone live:

http://www.youngdancers.org.uk

It's elegant and clear and will be updated regularly, so do give it a try.

<small>[ 08 February 2005, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


Last edited by Stuart Sweeney on Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:47 pm 
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Loss to ballet
From Mrs Gillian Lambert Robinson


Sir, As a former ballet dancer and teacher for 33 years, I support Dame Antoinette Sibley’s views (report, February 3) on the current dearth of British principals in our national ballet companies.

There is no shortage of dedicated students auditioning for the top vocational schools, which have the pick of the crop. More candidates may not make any difference.

I think the problem lies in selection or training.

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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:23 am 
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An interesting follow up to this in todays Guardian by Lyndsey Winship
http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/features/story/0,11710,1409596,00.html


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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:19 am 
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Another good article by Lyndsey.

<small>[ 10 February 2005, 11:20 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:08 am 
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Vanishing pointe
In light of claims that ballet in the UK has reached a crisis point, in The Stage,Katie Phillips makes the case for a culturally diverse industry breathing new life into old forms.


Dame Antoinette Sibley’s recent gripe about British ballet companies seems to have brought to light a shortfall in the state of ballet in the UK. Citing statistics from the Royal Academy of Dance, she offered the “shocking” revelation that despite the hoards of young of dancers battling for limited places at the UK’s best ballet schools, only two out of 16 of the company members of the Royal Ballet were British.

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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 2:08 am 
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Another member of our reviewing team makes a contribution to this discussion.


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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 5:21 pm 
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Unfortunately, Vanishing Pointe, seems to have vanished...

I don't think there are any easy answers as to why young British dancers are not growing up to be the principal dancers of British ballet companies.

The problem is not limited to south of the "border" - there are very, very few homegrown dancers in the Scottish Ballet. Scottish dancers are auditioning for the company, but clearly they aren't matching up to the talent coming from abroad, or from down south.

The company, and rightly so, is confident in the ability and talents of their current crop of dancers. But, I wonder if the situation is becoming one of a circular effect. With so few Scottish dancers in the company, there are few role models for young Scottish dancers and perhaps little reason for them to believe that they could be on that stage someday. The Sunday Sports section are full of stories on football, rugby and cricket players who are success stories from a wide range of economic and geographical backgrounds within Scotland. They are the 'little Johnnys' from down the street who made it big.

But there are almost no such stories in ballet - no-one that someone knows who made it big. The European dancers may impress the future Scottish dancers, but their backgrounds are more of a mystery - no direct example or proof to budding dancers that it is possible to succeed.

In fact, the only real Scottish success story, in the ballet world, that has been captured in recent press was that of a dancer with Ballet West, who performed at the Edinburgh Festival. He was one of three (or four?) brothers who all made it into the Royal Ballet School, and he was now making his first appearance on stage in Scotland as part of the big ballet company at the International Festival. Now there's an inspirational story for young Scottish ballet dancers...except that this dancer had to travel across the Atlantic to be a success.

And one has to wonder if part of the problem is that, though the population of the UK is not large, there are just three or four big ballet companies. So, if you don't make it into the Royal Ballet, the BRB, the ENB or the Scottish Ballet, you are unlikely to ever get any press, and thus in many people's eyes, to have made it big. In the US, and to some extent, in other European countries, there are small and medium sized companies with great reputations, and great press. One does not have to make it into ABT, SFB, NYCB etc to be considered to have made it in the ballet world.

And with so many companies, there are that many more chances for young dancers to rub shoulders with the professionals. With so little touring going on, there are huge gaps in the UK, where young dancers who don't have the means to travel, are unlikely to see top quality ballet or get up close to professional dancers. Young people need role models, otherwise they may lose focus on their future goals, especially in careers like ballet, which may not be popular with their peers or even parents.

Another thing, which has struck me as an American now living in the UK, is the heavy focus on exams, both in ballet and in schools. I see two fronts on which this might be detrimental to budding ballet dancers.

First of all, I am always perplexed by all the exams in the RAD classes. While, as an adult, I thrived on working towards the competitive skating tests in the US, I would not have been nearly so keen to be doing exams at 10 - 11 - 12 or younger. And it seems that there are always tests occuring, so that must take away from the time the teacher has to work with the class if they have to prep for and schedule exams. Not to mention driving away possibly dedicated dancers who aren't into the exams. I certainly think there are probably many very good aspects of the exams, but could they be off putting to a number of budding dancers. And after all, in the upper levels of pre-professional schools and as professionals, self motivation is very important - one must improve without having an exam as a benchmark.

Also, I wonder if the very regimented academic system in the UK doesn't deter some budding dancers. With such early and heavy emphasis on GCSEs and A-levels, and essentially having to decide one's future at a very early age, are there a lot of potential professional dancers who drop out between 10 - 13 because they feel they must choose between the arts or academics. Focus too much on ballet, and if it doesn't work out you've lost the chance to go to Uni by not working hard enough on GCSEs and A-levels. And though you can do dance at GCSE and A-level, those credentials won't get you into other Uni courses or prepare you for other careers.

In the US, there is much less rush to decide one's future. Yes, there is pressure to go to a good college and taking SATs, but you don't have to choose you course until you are well into Uni, and Uni admissions look at a whole person, not just grades and exam scores. So someone can focus on dance in their early teens, possibly have a slight academic lapse, but not have to worry at the same time about their entire future academic career. In fact, job interviewers and university admissions comittees are often very impressed by someone who has the dedication, discipline and passion to pursue a career like ballet even with other weaknesses in an application. And so if ballet doesn't work out, they can go on to many different careers. For instance, in my research on former School of American Ballet dancers who have particpate in the annual workshops - and these are the creme de la creme of US ballet students - many have gone on to professional ballet careers, but just as many to great Unis and fulfilling careers. There are the literal basket cases, but I think if one is wise, the risks are far fewer in the US.

And so maybe this is why the drop off in the UK is around 11 - 12 - 13. Students and parents are nervous about taking the real or perceived 'leap of faith' - Dance or Uni/Further Education.

I'd love to hear from native Brits about this, as my impressions are from an outsider's point of view.

Kate


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 Post subject: Re: The Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition
PostPosted: Tue Apr 05, 2005 4:43 am 
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In the T2 section of The Times today is an article by Debra Craine inspired by Antoinette Sibley's observations about the scarcity of British dancers at top level. She gets to talk to Edward Watson, Lauren Cuthbertson and Martin Harvey about their views.

If you're in the UK it's worth going out and buying a copy for the photos illustrating the piece.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,585-1554718,00.html


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:19 am 
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Fonteyn Nureyev Competition 2005

Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, separately were two of the world’s most accomplished and respected dancers; together they changed the face of ballet forever.

Fonteyn & Nureyev are the namesake’s for the RAD's exciting, new ballet competition, and in the spirit of partnership the Royal Academy of Dance, Manchester City Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre and Birmingham Royal Ballet have come together to offer you the opportunity to immerse yourself in dance.

You will not only win one of 5 pairs of tickets to attend the Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancers Competition heat in either Manchester or Birmingham on 11 December 2005 and witness the future stars of British ballet battle for a place in the Final; you could also win tickets to see Swan Lake at The Dancehouse Theatre, Madam Butterfly at the Opera House, Manchester or Beauty & the Beast at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is tell us:

Who is your all-time favourite dancing duo?

Whether it is Fred & Ginger, Natasha Kaplinsky & Brendan Cole or perhaps even Fonteyn & Nureyev themselves, whoever they are and whatever form of dancing they are famous for, just send their names on a postcard to:

Dancing Duos Royal Academy of Dance, 36 Battersea Square, London, SW11 3RA or email to: marketing@rad.org.uk by Friday, 2 December 2005.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 5:37 am 
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Quote:
Who is your all-time favourite dancing duo?


Nureyev and Miss Piggy.

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"A man's speech must exceed his vocabulary, or what's a metaphor?"


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