Dancer, artist and entrepreneur Olivia Holland has a natter with Georgina Butler

 

Northern Ballet dancer Olivia Holland is excited by the experiences she has had so far in her career and constantly inspired by the ballet bubble in which she is blessed to work.

Dancers must have a keen eye for detail, an appreciation of beauty, an understanding of body lines and an ability to convey emotion – and these qualities are also proving to be invaluable for Olivia’s second vocation as an artist.

Eager to share her love of ballet and admiration for her colleagues, the 21-year-old offers a unique insight into life as a touring dancer through her delightful greeting cards and prints. Hours spent in classes, rehearsing and performing offer Olivia plenty of opportunities to indulge in the joy of movement herself and observe her fellow dancers. These precious memories and fleeting moments in time are then captured in her delicate drawings and watercolour paintings.

Always intrigued by the creative pursuits of others, I caught up with Olivia to learn more about her dance training, the professional highlights she has enjoyed to date and her arty ambitions.

 

Olivia Holland

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Dancer Sean Bates chats to Georgina Butler about his ballet training, life in a dance company and performing in Northern Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 

Sean Bates joined Northern Ballet in 2012 as a fresh-faced graduate of the Royal Ballet School. Currently a member of the corps de ballet but already being given the opportunity to take on bigger roles, Sean grew up in Giffard Park, Milton Keynes.

As a youngster, Sean attended dance lessons at The Gaynor Cameron School of Dance in Milton Keynes. He later trained at both the Royal Ballet School (White Lodge) and the Royal Ballet Upper School.

While training, Sean won the Royal Academy of Dance’s Phyllis Bedells Bursary award in 2008. This bursary is a tribute to English ballerina and teacher Phyllis Bedells and was created in 1979 to help develop young talent. A maximum bursary of £1,000 is awarded to dancers under 17 years of age who have passed the RAD Intermediate and Advanced 1 examinations (Advanced 1 with distinction) but have not yet entered for the Advanced 2 exam. Sean went on to win the Royal Academy of Dance’s prestigious Genée International Ballet Competition in 2010.

He has just turned 22 and will return to his home town this month with David Nixon’s witty interpretation of Shakespeare’s fairy-filled romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 

Northern Ballet dancer Sean Bates. Photo by Simon Lawson.

Northern Ballet dancer Sean Bates (Photo by Simon Lawson)

 

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Prima ballerina Daria Klimentová talks to Georgina Butler about pirates, perfect partners and pointe shoes ahead of English National Ballet’s return to Milton Keynes Theatre.

 

Daria Klimentová is English National Ballet’s senior principal dancer. She has been one of Britain’s best-loved ballerinas for two decades and her clean and pure technique makes her a joy to watch.

Daria was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), and started gymnastics when she was 5 years old. At 10 she entered the Prague State Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she was placed into a training scheme for future principal dancers. Upon graduating she was immediately offered a soloist contract with the National Theatre Ballet Company in Prague. A move to the Capab/Kruik Ballet based in Cape Town, South Africa, preceded three years with Scottish Ballet.

In 1996, Daria was invited by the then Artistic Director of English National Ballet, Derek Deane, to join English National Ballet. Her repertoire includes all the major classical ballet roles and works by many contemporary choreographers.

In 2011 she was featured in two episodes of the BBC documentary series The Agony and the Ecstasy – a fascinating insight into English National Ballet. Viewers followed Daria and her regular dance partner – the young Russian principal Vadim Muntagirov – as they prepared for the famous “in the round” Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The pair have forged a remarkable partnership, which is frequently likened to the Fonteyn/Nureyev relationship. The documentary also showed the chaotic process of creating the Sugar Plum Fairy role for Wayne Eagling’s Nutcracker at the Coliseum Theatre, London.

Now in her forties, Daria continues to captivate audiences with her impeccable dancing. As well as being in great demand as a guest artist all over the world, this prima ballerina is also a talented photographer and highly respected director/teacher.

It is with excitement, then, that I learn I will have the opportunity to talk to Daria ahead of English National Ballet’s return to Milton Keynes Theatre for the premiere of Le Corsaire. The chance to interview a classical ballerina of such fame appeals to both my undying love of all things ballet and my ambition to educate the people of Milton Keynes about the wonders of dance. We should be honoured that English National Ballet debuted The Sleeping Beauty with Tamara Rojo here last year and that they have chosen to premiere their latest work in the new city.

 

Daria Klimentova - ENB headshot - www.ballet.org.uk

 

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Tamara Rojo tells Georgina Butler all about her new job, The Sleeping Beauty and what she loves to do when she isn’t dancing…

 

An enchanting fairytale comes to Milton Keynes Theatre this month when English National Ballet, led by Tamara Rojo, brings a sumptuous production of The Sleeping Beauty to the city.

This classical ballet company comprises 67 dancers and travels the country, bringing ballet to the masses. Ahead of the run at Milton Keynes Theatre, I was lucky enough to catch up with the talented Tamara Rojo – former principal with The Royal Ballet and new Artistic Director of English National Ballet – to learn more about her new job and what audiences have to look forward to.

Tamara Rojo is a Spanish prima ballerina, known for her strong dramatic sense, expressive musicality and powerful technique. Announced as English National Ballet’s new Artistic Director back in April, this autumn she formally takes on the top management position – becoming the driving force behind the company and its creative vision. Speaking to her, it is clear she possesses passion, brains and ambition, coupled with the grace and enduring ability to interpret any role that she demonstrates on stage.

 

Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of English National Ballet, with dancers Yonah Acosta and Shiori Kase (photo by Annabel Moeller).

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