Ballet Workshop with ENB

Twenty seven young dancers at Bancroft’s were treated to an intensive three hour ballet workshop led by Kate Hartley of the English National Ballet on Thursday 9 November.

To start with Kate led the girls in an hour of ‘BalletFit’ which is an exercise class based on strengthening core muscles used in dance. Some warm up games followed to encourage the group to be mindful of the importance of focus, eye contact and also the awareness of others whilst performing. Kate then spent a short time working on some basic ballet steps with the group.

They next moved onto the more challenging and exciting part of the afternoon: a two hour Romeo and Juliet workshop.  During this they learned the key steps to the “Dance of the Knights” (the ballroom scene) in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet. The choreography was by Rudolf Nureyev – one of the most celebrated ballet dancers of the 20th century. He explored the expressive areas of dance and provided a new role for the male ballet dancer who once served only as support to females, thus challenging public perceptions and expectations of ballet. Kate explained to the students how he wanted to move ballet forward with his choreography.

After they performed their Romeo and Juliet dances, the students then worked on their own choreography focused around the main themes of Romeo and Juliet: love and war. Students had to create key positions with their partner and were given the freedom to use their creativity in this last part of the workshop.

The students were fantastic- all of them threw themselves into it and really enjoyed every minute. Kate was a fantastic teacher and hopefully this has inspired our students to come along to the dance classes on offer every Thursday after school with our new dance teacher, Ellen!

We learnt how to warm up properly and how to stretch our feet. The workshop was great fun and accessible for all leavers of dancers, including those who might be less experienced.

Siobhan Hancock (U4)


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