Selective News Items

YBSS Star-Studded Summer Gala – 29 September 2013, Sadler’s Wells

Sergei Polunin in Narcisse. © Dave Morgan.
Sergei Polunin in Narcisse. © Dave Morgan. (Click image for larger version)

Updated on 17 September. Note that things can change. BM


SERGEI POLUNIN to join star-studded gala to celebrate
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, Sunday September 29th at 7.00pm
Tickets: £12 to £85

Book Here



Starring: SERGEI POLUNIN, IMELDA STAUNTON, WAYNE SLEEP and SAMANTHA BOND, MICHAEL BALL, JIM CARTER, the TALENT 2013, stars of the Northern Ballet, Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert Dance Company and more..

Yorkshire Ballet Summer School celebrates its 40th anniversary on September 29th with a star-studded event at Sadler’s Wells featuring a truly mouth-watering cast of world class dancers, actors, singers and musicians and hosted by the distinguished knights, Sir Anthony Dowell and Sir Derek Jacobi.    The incredible lineup has been assembled by the event’s indefatigable producers, Marguerite Porter, Director of the YBSS and distinguished actor Richard Clifford.

One of the classes at the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School - for which the gala is raising money.© Brendan Hopkinson. (Click image for larger version)
One of the classes at the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School – for which the gala is raising money. © Brendan Hopkinson. (Click image for larger version)

Says Marguerite Porter:  “I’m absolutely delighted that everyone taking part in the gala is giving their time freely and generously on behalf of the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School.  And I’m thrilled that the wonderful Sergei Polunin has just confirmed that he will be able to take time out of his extremely busy schedule in Moscow to join us.  Sergei’s very supportive of the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School; he has a real understanding of the value of the charity and has danced in the last three galas.  I think we’re in for an incredibly special evening featuring some extraordinary performers.”

Says Richard Clifford:  “We are deeply grateful to all the performers for their generosity in making sure the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School can look forward to the next 40 years.  As a Trustee of the YBSS I know how difficult it is to raise funds for the scholarships and to keep a vocational school such as ours going in these straightened economic times. It cannot be done without the generous support of the public, from those who love dance and those who just want to help kids who have a talent but cannot afford to express it.”

Wayne Sleep and Samantha Bond performing 'We're A Couple of Swells'.© Sophie Harris-Taylor. (Click image for larger version)
Wayne Sleep and Samantha Bond performing ‘We’re A Couple of Swells’.
© Sophie Harris-Taylor. (Click image for larger version)

The programme will feature Wayne Sleep and Samantha Bond performing ‘We’re A Couple of Swells’ (originated by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland in ‘Easter Parade’); dancers from the Northern Ballet Theatre in ‘Bitter Earth’ choreographed by Kenneth Tindall; Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball performing together; Elizabeth Harrod, Soloist with the Royal Ballet performing in ‘You’ to music by Keaton Henson;  ‘Le Corsaire’ performed by ENB soloist Lauretta Summerscales; the BalletBoyz and the Talent 2013, Steven McCrae with his own tap version of Gene Kelly’s ‘I Got Rhythm’; Dane Hurst in Mark Baldwin’s solo ‘Inala’, and much more.

The YBSS grew out of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars which were started in a local church hall by ex-Royal Ballet dancer and teacher David Gayle MBE back in 1973 to give local youngsters with neither funding nor dance contacts the chance to meet ballet professionals and learn about opportunities to further their ballet interests.  Within two years the Seminars had morphed into the Yorkshire Ballet Summer School, the country’s first residential ballet course at Ilkley College.  The School was opened by Dame Ninette de Valois and the first masterclass was taught by Dame Alicia Markova.

Elizabeth Harrod of The Royal Ballet.© Sophie Harris-Taylor. (Click image for larger version)
Elizabeth Harrod of The Royal Ballet.
© Sophie Harris-Taylor. (Click image for larger version)

“The idea was akin to talent scouting,” says Marguerite Porter who began teaching at the YBSS in 1990 when she retired as senior principal ballerina from the Royal Ballet and took over as director in 2005 when David retired.  “We wanted to help regional children to meet and be seen by experienced artists and teachers who could channel them towards the appropriate further education needed to become classical dancers.  40 years later we are still in a privileged position because of our contacts in the ballet world and are so pleased to be able to continue directing promising students to vocational schools and to bringing in world class teachers to the YBSS.”

Over the years the YBSS has attracted some of the highest quality ballet talent and YBSS scholarships have been given to Kevin O’Hare (Director of the Royal Ballet), David Bintley CBE (director, Birmingham Royal Ballet), David Pickering (Soloist, Royal Ballet), Elizabeth Harrod (Soloist, Royal Ballet), Samara Downes (Soloist, Birmingham Royal Ballet) and Brandon Lawrence (Birmingham Royal Ballet) to name but a few.

Says Kevin O’Hare: “It was such a huge inspiration for me attending the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars and added so much to my training and knowledge of what it would be like to become a professional ballet dancer. When I look back at all the amazing teachers who taught me I feel so lucky to have had that experience while growing up in Yorkshire and I am so glad the seminars continue to thrive and inspire a new generation of dancers.”

Imelda Staunton at the YBSS gala 2011.© Sophie Harris-Taylor. (Click image for larger version)
Imelda Staunton at the YBSS gala 2011.
© Sophie Harris-Taylor. (Click image for larger version)

Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter:  “The Yorkshire Summer Ballet School does wonderful work introducing children to the world of dance by providing them with world class tuition.  We are delighted to support this marvelous venture by appearing at this year’s gala; we only hope that sciatica and a dodgy hamstring don’t prevent us premiering the Dolores Umbridge and Carson pas de deux to a dance hungry public!”

Now based at York St John University in the city of York, over 180 students are expected this year to attend masterclasses with teachers such as Sir Anthony Dowell, Donald McCleary, Laurent Novis (Paris Opera), David Pickering (RB) and more.  YBSS is a fully registered charity and is funded entirely by the generous support and contributions from private individuals, foundations, and trusts.

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