Royal Conservatoire of Scotland dancers prepare for the professional world

Published: June 2, 2017


Final year Modern Ballet students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland stage their graduation performance in Glasgow next week, giving audiences the opportunity to see the next generation of dance artists before they step into the professional world.

The graduation performance, from June 8 to 10, promises to be a special end-of-the-year finale for the dancers who have worked with leading lights including Scottish Ballet CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson, Canada’s Hélène Blackburn, the Royal Conservatoire’s Diana Loosmore and Scottish Ballet’s Sophie Laplane.

The show is a thrilling mix of classical and contemporary works which will demonstrate the technique and talent of all three-year groups of the Royal Conservatoire’s BA Modern Ballet programme, which is delivered in partnership with Scottish Ballet. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland dancers work closely with the company and internationally acclaimed teachers and choreographers throughout their studies, which provides invaluable insight into professional life. Some students have the opportunity to participate in performances and placements and also attend weekly company class at Tramway, Scottish Ballet’s award-winning home.

The graduation performance, in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s New Athenaeum Theatre, blends newly commissioned works and classical repertoire.

The programme includes the powerful and precise Esquisses by Christopher Hampson, drawn in beautiful lines to showcase the technical ability and artistry of the ensemble – it features all three-year groups who effortlessly and elegantly glide through solos, pas de deux and pointework.

Christopher Hampson, Scottish Ballet CEO/Artistic Director, said: “I am delighted that the BA Modern Ballet students are performing my work Esquisses at their graduation performance.

“Royal Conservatoire students worked with me on this when I first arrived at Scottish Ballet in 2012 and it is thrilling to see it being performed again. The BA Modern Ballet programme, delivered in partnership with Scottish Ballet, provides emerging dance talent with the best dance training available in Scotland. I wish the students all the best as they graduate and make the move into the professional dance world.”

Choreographer and Royal Conservatoire lecturer in contemporary dance, Diana Loosmore, has devised two pieces, including Shadow Run, a collaboration with the students. Inspired by the digital influences on our world, it has an incessant urgency propelled by a driving electronic and strings-infused score.

There’s the intimate and intense contemporary duet, Vision, choreographed by third year BA Modern Ballet student Ewan Hambelton which took first place in the BA Modern Ballet programme’s inaugural choreographic competition. Ewan has been selected for the Scottish Ballet Creates mentorship scheme where he, and five fellow choreographers, will receive mentorship from Christopher Hampson and mentor, choreographer and performer Kerry Nicholls. The group will spend two weeks at Scottish Ballet in July, exploring and developing their creative voices.

The graduation performance includes an exhilarating new work by renowned Canadian choreographer Hélène Blackburn, artistic director of Cas Public, which pulses with palpable energy.

Hero’s Lullaby was created for an exchange trip between the Royal Conservatoire and the Ballet Divertimento school in Montréal. Second-year dancers from the Royal Conservatoire visited Canada in April to rehearse with Ballet Divertimento and performed the piece at Montreal’s largest cultural and artistic complex. Ballet Divertimento students are in Glasgow this week and will join Royal Conservatoire dancers on stage.

Matthew Robinson’s While We Wait, created for the third year students, makes the pulse quicken with its brooding atmosphere and sense of anticipation as dancers circle a telephone as they await an all-important call.

The graduation performance will also feature the talents of the Royal Conservatoire’s music and production students.

Kerry Livingstone, Head of Modern Ballet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said the performance reflects the intensive dance training at Scotland’s national conservatoire.

“The programme is strongly rooted in classical ballet which can be seen in the classical repertoire and is brought up-to-date with works by Christopher Hampson and Hélène Blackburn.

“Contemporary dance is fundamental to the programme and the students have had the opportunity to work with Matthew Robinson, Sophie Laplane and Diana Loosmore who have all created new works, which is such a valuable process for young dancers to experience. The opportunity to learn and collaborate is so important and equips the dancers with skills beyond their rigorous dance training.”

Tickets for the Modern Ballet graduation performance are available from the RCS Box Office